12 October 2022 • Sustainability New Staff to Tackle Non-Native Species in the Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes Institute welcomes Sam Beck-Andersen, who has been named Associate Director of Invasive Species Programs and Coordinator for the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management.  

Sam Beck-Andersen

Sam Beck-Andersen

The Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (Finger Lakes PRISM) is a collaborative program designed to address the threat of invasive species. Housed within Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Finger Lakes Institute (FLI), the program is one of eight across New York that focus on managing invasive species, developing detection programs, employing response efforts, providing education programs and outreach, and working with communities.

Newly hired Sam Beck-Andersen serves as Associate Director of Invasive Species Programs and Coordinator for the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management. He graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y. with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management with a focus on Recreation Management. He also earned an M.P.S. in Economics, Governance, and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Management from SUNY ESF. With a focus on human dimensions and management of natural resources, and a deep appreciation for the Finger Lakes that goes back to his infancy, Beck-Andersen says he is right at home working with Finger Lakes PRISM staff and its volunteers protecting the region against invasive species.

“I’m excited to be moving into a position that is already so robust with valuable partnerships. These relationships that have been built over the past eight years empower so much of the work that we do, and are critical to the goals of the Finger Lakes Institute and the Finger Lakes PRISM,” Beck-Andersen says. 

Beck-Andersen began working for HWS in 2016, first as the seasonal Watercraft Steward Coordinator supervising 15 watercraft stewards throughout the 2016 boating season. During his time managing watercraft stewards, he coordinated the transition of the FLI WSP into the state-wide Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Application program.

With a passion for data management and technology, he has created several analytical tools and resources to help manage watercraft stewards and the data they collect. Some of these tools have been utilized by programs across the state. These collaborations have also ensured that stewards in the Finger Lakes were standardized with other stewards across New York.

Over the years, Beck-Andersen has hired, trained and managed more than 100 young conservation professionals. During his time working with watercraft stewards, he highlighted the Finger Lakes region as one of the busiest boating regions in the state and demonstrated the importance of preventative outreach and education in the fight against invasive species.

PRISM programs are administered through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. To learn more about the work of the Finger Lakes PRISM, visit fingerlakesinvasives.org