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Glennon, Smith look to new opportunities at AWI

October 3, 2018
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Outdoors Writer (jlevine@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - Things were looking bleak for the small staff of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Adirondack office earlier this year when the parent organization announced the program's closure, but its director and head of science have now landed at Paul Smith's College's Adirondack Watershed Institute.

Zoe Smith, of Saranac Lake, and Michale Glennon, who lives in Ray Brook, said they were thrilled to be able to continue working in the field of Adirondack research. Smith will become AWI's deputy director, under director Dan Kelting, while Glennon has the title of science director.

Although Smith and Glennon are each currently unemployed - the WCS office officially closed in late September - they are excited to start at AWI in November.

Article Photos


Zoe Smith, left, and Michale Glennon pose for a photo on Main Street in Saranac Lake.
News photo — Justin A. Levine

"Although our office is closed, I still have the opportunity to work on a project with some of our colleagues for the next couple of years," Glennon said. "For me, I'm very sad to leave, but I'm happy to still have that chance."

Glennon said the project is a recreational use study that will now be based in Colorado.

"I think the timing was just perfect for all of this," Smith said. "We were wrapping up our program, and at the same time, Dan (Kelting) and his team at AWI were looking at ways to both expand the work that they do and also bring together some of the work they currently do into some programmatic themes.

"And they were looking for some more leadership, and as these conversations evolved, it was clear we had the skills that AWI was looking for. They've been so successful, but they're still very focused on the aquatic realm, and they want to broaden into other issues, both terrestrial and human, and that's what we can bring."

Smith said that once she starts at AWI, they will look at some of the projects WCS was working on to see if AWI can continue some of that work.

"I think I will have a role similar to the one I've been in, in terms of conducting research myself but also helping to shape a research program," Glennon said. "I'm very excited to think about bringing together the land aspect of the watershed with the aquatic aspect of the watershed."

Glennon and Smith each said that being on a college campus is one of the things they're most excited about.

"I was excited right away when I looked at their mission statement, because it's basically the same as WCS's," Glennon said. "I think one of the new things for us will be an explicit wrapping of education and students into that mission.

"I'm also super excited to bring students in to do research, and that's where my mind goes 100 miles per hour. There's a lot of data that AWI has collected over the years, (but) their purpose has been very specific, but I think there's some possibility to merge it with some of the data we've collected and ask some entirely new questions."

One of AWI's most well-known programs is the Watershed Stewards, who check boats for invasive species all around the Adirondacks. With more than 100 stewards working within the Blue Line each summer, Smith said her mind races at the thought.

"It's been such a great program that AWI has done," Smith said. "I want to learn more about what they do and see if there may be more opportunities. But, to me, if we're looking to be more present in the communities, that's an obvious way to do that."

Paul Smith's College is also in the midst of a push to recruit more female students, and has added majors and a women's hockey team led by Olympic silver medalist Andrea Killbourne-Hill. Glennon and Smith said they're thrilled to take on part of that role as well.

In her role on the administrative side, both at WCS and AWI, Smith said she's been looking forward to continuing her work on community partnerships.

"As a non-science person, my focus has been on building the community-based part of our work," Smith said. "So I'm excited to do that at AWI, and to bring students into some of these larger regional conversations that we've been working on. And we need more women in those conversations as well."

"I would love the chance to work with students more continually," Glennon said. "Being able to bring them into research projects, not just as a summer intern, but right from conceptualizing it through executing it, writing it and publishing it, I would be so excited about that.

"Whatever we can do to get the word out about what AWI does and how that could help bring in students, I would be very, very excited for those opportunities."

 
 

 

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