Eat ADK Restaurant Week


In the Adirondacks, winter brings tourists looking for snow. Summer brings tourists looking for lakes and trails. And fall brings tourists looking for foliage. But spring? Spring’s pretty quiet.

This year, though, thanks to Prof. Kelly Cerialo’s Field Studies in Hospitality class, restaurants in Lake Placid saw a little extra traffic come through their doors.

Her students laid the groundwork for the first-ever Eat ADK Restaurant Week, a promotion from May 13-22 in which nearly two dozen Lake Placid restaurants offered special fixed-price menus in an effort to drum up new business.

The idea for the week started with Paul Smith’s Prof. Joe Conto, who turned it over to the students for more study. Last spring, after presenting their findings to the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and local businesses, the concept became a reality.

Cerialo says the project has given students invaluable experience working with clients and tailoring a concept to their needs, because the first idea that’s suggested often isn’t the one that’s used. “We’re at the point where they realize that’s part of the process,” she says. And while that’s not always easy, at the end, she says the students have a moment when they say, “I did this!”

After pitching the concept last year, Cerialo’s current class helped refine the week, coming up with programming such as a beer-tasting night involving local breweries. They’re not just spit-balling possibilities, either. “I said to the students, this can’t be hypothetical—like, ‘This sounds like a good idea’—you have to give the committee reasons these could actually work,” she says.

Paul Smith’s students will continue to refine the event, conducting surveys among diners, compiling statistics and looking for ways to include even more businesses. Some hotels, for example, offered special eat-and-sleep packages to coincide with the week.

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12,000 Acres

When David Falkenham became forest manager at Paul Smith’s College last year, he assumed responsibility for more than 12,000 acres of forests.

He inherited 12,000 acres of classroom, too.


That land is an unparalleled resource for aspiring foresters, and Falkenham is intent on incorporating students into its management. He plans to do that by giving students the opportunity to participate in work such as GIS mapping, developing forest and wildlife inventories, and encouraging faculty members use the forests in their classes.

Prof. Joe Orefice’s silviculture class, for instance, marked timber for an upcoming auction. “These are real timber sales that are going to get cut,” Falkenham says. “They have a hands-on, really consequential situation—if they mark them, they’re going to get cut.”

In addition, Falkenham will look to use the college’s lands to train others as well—a new logger-training program, complete with harvesting simulators, will help foresters in the middle of their careers stay on top of the latest techniques and skills.

Falkenham came to Paul Smith’s from New Hampshire, where he had been a natural resources extension specialist for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. There, he was responsible for forest-resource education, outreach and assistance to all private landowners, forest management and industry professionals in Grafton County, N.H.

Though winter was a bust in the Northeast, it’s turned into a banner spring for making maple syrup. In fact, Paul Smith’s 2,500-tap sugar bush might deliver a record yield this spring. Heading into the future, Falkenham says he wants to come up with a plan to maximize the ways the college can use its property to attract new students.

“It’s a pretty big draw for students,” Falkenham says of the college’s land. “There are a number of students who came here because we have a sugar bush and we have land and we have these opportunities. We need to start playing that out.”


A Gift to Support Sports and Recreation



A rejuvenated basketball program. The resurrection of the long-dormant golf team. The creation of a best-in-class woodsmen’s arena.

They’re all the result of a $2 million gift from E. Philip Saunders, the chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees.

Saunders has long supported the college’s athletics and recreation programs—the college’s athletics center, the Saunders Sports Complex, already bears his name. About half of his gift is earmarked for improvements there; the rest will support team and recreational sports.

The gift helped bring back the men’s and women’s basketball program, which had been sidelined since 2013. Also back: the college’s golf team. Back in the 1960s, the team was a powerhouse. The 14 men and women on the team picked up quickly, grabbing the Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) championship in their very first season back.

The college’s woodsmen’s team, on the other hand, has been consistently performing for decades. And now that they have one of the premiere head-to-head arenas in collegiate lumberjack sports, they have everything they need right on campus. The arena, built by students and alumni volunteers, includes two 50-foot-tall cedars for pole climbing, six chopping stands and eight axe-throwing targets.

“Sports and recreation programs complement the great academic experience provided at Paul Smith’s by providing students critical lessons such as the value of competition, leadership and perseverance,” Saunders said.


Caring About Conservation

How well does soil recover after farms return to forestland?

What impact does road runoff have on land and water in the Adirondacks?

Are yellow perch—long thought to be an invasive species—actually native to this region?

Those questions are of particular interest to conservationists, land-use planners and transportation engineers in the Adirondacks, and Paul Smith’s students played instrumental roles in finding the answers to each, publishing their findings in a trio of scholarly journals in 2015.

Sean Regalado ’14, who currently supervises the Adirondack Watershed Institute’s Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid Response Team, authored the road-runoff paper, which appeared in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. In it, he found that a third of the water bodies in the Adirondacks, 52 percent of stream length and up to 77 percent of the total area of surface water are affected by runoff.


Regalado also co-authored the paper on yellow perch, which traced centuries-old DNA confined in soil samples beneath Lower St. Regis Lake to the fish. That’s significant because it may lead fisheries experts to alter management plans that had been built to eliminate the fish.

The third paper, by Nathan Piché ’15, examined the impact of 300 years of farming in the eastern United States. More than a quarter of the forestland here was cut down and used for farming between 1600 and 1900, and while much of it grew back, scientists didn’t know how well the soil fared. Piché found that while surface soil bounced back from the stresses of agricultural use, deeper soil took longer to recover. That can help improve ecological restoration plans in the future.

Dan Kelting, executive director of the AWI and interim dean of the college’s School of Natural Resource Management and Ecology, noted that Piché’s research dovetails with the college’s new ecological restoration major, one of two new programs introduced last fall; in it, students study the relationships between humans and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and how to repair damaged or destroyed regions.