Center for the Environment: Concept Becomes Reality

January 25th, 2006 by Adam

In just one year the Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University has evolved into a leader for promoting and addressing environmental issues and opportunities in New Hampshire and northern New England.

“We are significantly ahead of where we expected to be,” says Steve Kahl, director of the Center for the Environment. “I remember being asked a year ago where I saw the Center in five years. My reply was we would have six to eight employees and a dozen graduate students. Today we have eight, soon to be nine, employees and expect 10 students to be enrolled in the MS degree.”

Among the Center’s many achievements over the past year is the establishment of the new Master of Science degree in environmental science and policy. For the fall semester, 18 students were taking classes, six of whom are enrolled full time. Says Kahl, “It is interesting to note the majority of students enrolled in the master’s program are people who already live here, so it truly is an academic program that is meeting a need without stressing the resources of either PSU or the Plymouth community.”

Partnerships, in terms of staffing and initiatives, also account for much of the Center’s first-year success. Kahl refers to partnerships with the Squam Lakes Association, the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest and the town of Meredith as the Center’s most significant achievements to date. “However, we are excited about an emerging partnership with the town of Plymouth that focuses on research and recommendations for re-engagement of the riverfront,” notes Kahl. “We are firmly committed to working with the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program on behalf of the town; finding funding and making things happen.”