Libraries Love Lakes Info Session (virtual)
Friday, April 12
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Register Here

Science on Seneca Teacher Training
Saturday, April 13
8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Contact Barb Halfman at 

The Finger Lakes Institute creates and administers a variety of inquiry-based educational opportunities for middle school and high school teachers. The FLI’s main programs include Science on Seneca, The Finger Lakes Regional Stream Monitoring Program, Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute, and various workshops focused on water resources, environmental quality, and the Finger Lakes Region.

The goals of our educational programs are to:

  • Develop innovative curricular material, resources and educational opportunities for K-12 students and teachers
  • Offer professional development programs for teachers and other educators
  • Host school groups and participating students involved with Science on Seneca (SOS) and other outreach programs
  • Provide educational opportunities for Hobart and William Smith students
  • Contribute curriculum to K-12 schools through participation in school advisory boards and committees

Science on Seneca (SOS)

Science on Seneca (SOS), an EPA-award-winning environmental education program, is a middle and high school educational outreach program of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The goals of Science on Seneca are to provide students with an interesting experience in the collection, analysis and sharing of scientific data and to amass baseline data on Seneca Lake’s major features. The Science on Seneca field trip experience provides students with an opportunity to conduct field-based data collection using state-of-the art equipment.

About Science on Seneca:

Science on Seneca enables regional science teachers to provide their students with an outdoor classroom experience on Seneca Lake using the R/V William Scandling, Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ 65-foot research vessel. Science on Seneca gives teachers the ability to demonstrate current methodologies that professional scientists use to monitor water quality to their students using the state of the art equipment on our unique floating classroom. The FLI staff is also constantly working with teachers to improve the experience of the SOS training and the applicability to the classroom through a number of hands on lessons, curricula, and resources.

How to Sign Up:

Teachers must first complete a day-long training session to familiarize themselves with the Science on Seneca Program as well as the facilities and equipment. The FLI hosts at least two training sessions annually, typically on Saturdays in the fall and in the spring. During the training, teachers take part in the full range of scientific tests and equipment available to them aboard the R/V William Scandling. After the training teachers are eligible to bring students on the R/V William Scandling for an exciting hands-on outdoor educational experience.

More Information:

For more information or to register for Science on Seneca training, contact Science on Seneca Coordinator Barb Halfman at or (315) 781-3606.


Stream Monitoring Program

The Finger Lakes Regional Stream Monitoring Program seeks to train local schoolteachers in conveying to their students the fundamental importance and value in studying local streams as well as teaching the methodology and techniques of stream monitoring as a part of their curriculum. The integration of local schools into the field of volunteer monitoring allows for students to be actively involved in the assessment of their regional streams and facilitates a higher level of environmental awareness in their own lives and in their community. The goals of this project is to 1) design protocols for stream sampling; 2) develop training materials for the teachers; and 3) conduct preliminary assessments of a select subset of local streams being incorporated into the program. Protocols combine accepted methodologies from the NY Department of Conservation and Hudson Basin River Watch.

About The Finger Lakes Stream Monitoring Program:

The Finger Lakes Stream Monitoring Network program involves three protocols that together assess environmental conditions and overall stream health. The protocols include benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, chemical analysis of the stream water, and a physical assessment of the stream banks, bottom substrate, and surrounding terrestrial conditions (riparian zone and land use). The combination of these three protocols provide an excellent survey of the potential impacts to the stream ecosystem and allow students and teachers to learn more about the abiotic and biotic aspects of this complex environment. The program uses a two-tiered approach to allow schools to match their desired level of involvement with educational needs of their classroom. Finally, the program implements a database to which all data collected by school groups may be uploaded. Local science teachers and stream ecologists will be able to access this database and use its contents to further their own study and understand potential impacts as well as changes to stream health. Funding through Time Warner Cable – Connect a Million Minds intuitive allows FLI to provide fully stocked stream kits containing ready to use equipment as well as field trip funding for schools. Furthermore, in-field assistance is also available if needed.

How to Sign up:

Teachers must first complete a daylong training session to acquaint themselves with the Stream Monitoring Program and the equipment. The Finger Lakes institute hosts two training sessions annually on Saturdays in the fall and in the spring. During the training, teachers experience the full range of scientific tests and equipment available to them. After the training teachers will be qualified to take their own students into the field for a great outdoor educational experience.

More Information:

For more information, contact Education Program Manager Nadia Harvieux at


Throughout the year, the FLI hosts educator professional learning workshops on a wide range of existing and emerging environmental topics impacting our region, including water quality of lakes and streams, stream sampling, aquatic insect identification, water chemistry, invasive species, harmful algal blooms, climate change and other special topics. The goal of these workshops is to connect educators with resources and emerging science about the Finger Lakes and surrounding region.

Offered in collaboration with FLI research and education partners, workshops for educators are FREE and open to informal and formal educators, homeschool educators, and students pursuing teaching degrees. FLI education programs are correlated to NYS P-12 Science Learning Standards and CTLE credits are offered for most workshops.

  • Workshops are announced on the FLI webpage and through the FLI’s K-12 Education e-newsletter. To receive the K-12 Education e-newsletter, which also includes events for students, please click on Join our Mailing List and select “FLI Education K-12” when signing up.

More Information:

For more information, contact Education Program Manager Nadia Harvieux at

Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute (ESSYI)

The Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute (ESSYI) at Hobart and William Smith Colleges provides exceptional opportunities to explore the scientific, social and humanistic perspectives of environmental issues.

The Institute offers a two-week, college level interdisciplinary program for talented high-school students entering their junior and senior years. The program designed as an introduction to a variety of environmental issues and perspectives on nature and our environment.

The program includes working in the field, laboratories, classrooms, a four-day camping trip, and the ability to explore a range of topics in environmental policy, economics, and ethics. For more information, please visit the ESSYI website

More Information:

For more information, contact ESSYI Program Manager Ellie Andrews at

Finger Lakes Youth Climate Summit

Today’s youth are our most vital resource for creating positive change for the future of our environment. Across the United States and around the world, youth climate summits are educating, engaging and empowering students to be agents of change in their schools and communities! Join the movement!

Based on The Wild Center’s successful Adirondack Youth Climate Program, the Finger Lakes Youth Climate Summit is a one day conference focused on educating and empowering high school students to create environmentally positive change in their schools and communities. During the summit, students from different schools will learn the science behind climate change, impacts on the Finger Lake region and what they can do to combat climate change. Students work with their classmates to develop a Climate Action Plan to tackle an actionable project at their school. At the end of the summit, students will leave with a plan to initiate action in their schools and communities, new friends from other schools, and a sense of determination and empowerment to make positive change for the good of the environment!

Climate Action Plans are roadmaps created by students during the summit to help them plan and initiate environmentally positive projects. The Climate Action Plans, or CAPs, are a step-by-step guide that allows students to plan out the details of their project and to set realistic goals and timeline for implementation. This is an important step that helps students develop planning skills to solve real-world problems. With a well-developed CAP and the support of teachers, students are ready for success and can accomplish their project goals.

More Information:

For more information, contact Education Program Manager Nadia Harvieux at