What's Your Nature?

Become a Nature Up North explorer to share your encounters with wild things and wild places in New York's North Country. Post your wildlife sightings, landscape shots, photos from your outings, and even your organization's events!

About Us


Nature Up North is a community-based organization based at St. Lawrence University whose mission is to foster a deeper sense of appreciation for, and connection to, the North Country environment and in doing so to create a bioregionally literate community that is committed to protecting the wild things and wild places that define this place we call home.

Long-term Vision

The goal of Nature Up North is to use technology to encourage and enhance outdoor experiential learning. In a world increasingly dominated by technology and defined by a growing sense of apathy toward the natural world, Nature Up North seeks to build an environmental community in northern New York using the technological tools with which people are most familiar. Using web-based technology, Nature Up North enables sharing of experiences and observations in nature through science, art, photography or writing. We seek to foster connections between the North Country landscape, the people who inhabit it, and the inextricable connections between the two.

Connect with Us

Interested in getting outdoors and learning more about the North Country environment?  No matter what your age, interest, or ability level, there are many ways to get involved with Nature Up North: 

  • Get outside with us.  We offer guided hikes, canoe paddles, naturalist walks, community campfires, and educational workshops that are free, open to the public, and led by our talented staff members! 
  • Citizen Science.  Our citizen science projects will help you learn to become a scientific observer in your own back yard while contributing valuable information on the North Country environment. Have you ever wondered what flowers are the first to bloom in spring, what birds are first to migrate back to the North Country, or what trees are last to lose their leaves in fall?  By helping us collect data about these events, you will be contributing to important scientific research that is going on across the country. Check out our Citizen Science page for more info. 
  • Join our online community.  Create a free user account and start sharing your Encounters, download free  trail maps, learn about the fun local outdoor events on our Events Calendar.  Join the discussion by commenting on others' Encounter posts and clicking "Northworthy" on the posts you like.  
  • Become a community partner.  Nature Up North is developing partnerships with individuals and organizations here in the North Country who are interested in environmental education, outdoor recreation, and healthy lifestyles. If you are interested in partnering with us, please e-mail info@natureupnorth.org.
  • K-12 Programs.  We are working with local teachers and enhance school curricula with more hands-on, place-based environmental learning opportunities.  If you are a teacher or administrator, contact us to talk about ways we can work with you.   

YOU are the roots that anchor this project to the North Country. Your questions, comments and suggestions are an integral part in helping us develop a project that meets your needs, and the needs of our community. So get outside! Explore, examine, share, and help Nature Up North become the project it is meant to be.

Our Team

Project Director

Dr. Erika Barthelmess

Nature Up North is the brainchild of Dr. Erika Barthelmess who is a vertebrate ecologist and conservation biologist. Erika works as an Associate Professor of Biology at St. Lawrence University. She earned her B.A. in Biology at Earlham College, her Ph.D.in Systematics and Ecology at the University of Kansas, and conducted post-doctoral research at Vanderbilt University before arriving at St. Lawrence.Her research interests are broad and include the biology of small, isolated populations, the intersection of behavioral ecology and conservation, road ecology, and the ecology and natural history of porcupines. Her longstanding interest in environmental education began as a college student when she worked in a local museum offering programs for local school groups. More recently, she has provided educational programming for State Parks and local North Country schools. In her spare time, Erika enjoys hiking, canoeing, and Labrador retrievers.  She is also the past-president of the St. Lawrence Land Trust, a North Country conservation organization.

Project Manager

Nature Up North Project Manager Dan French takes a selfie in front of Lake Agnes in Banff National Park.








Dan French is a 2021 graduate of Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. While there, he majored in Sustainability with minors in General Business and Management. As an undergrad he had the opportunity to intern with the National Park Service's Office of Policy in Washington D.C., conduct self-led research on the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid's impact on North American species of Hemlock, and was elected secretary of his universities ultimate fresbee team, Bentley Icehouse. A native of Potsdam NY, Dan spent many summers cultivating his love for outdoor education at 4-H Camp Overlook where he was a camper turned staff for a total of 14 years. In his free time, Dan enjoys hiking in the Adirondacks and skiing when the snow allows. Most recently, Dan returned to the North Country after a one year term of service as an AmeriCorps member in Montana. He served as the National Wildlife Federation's Garden for Wildlife (TM) Coordinator in Missoula and the surrounding area. Now that he's back, Dan hopes to expand his connection to the environment through whitewater kayaking, backpacking, and expanding access to the wonders of the North Country to anyone and everyone who wants to tag along.


Interns and Volunteers


Nature Up North Intern Gabriella Schuckers holding a fish.











Gab Schuckers | She/Her/Hers | Summer Naturalist

Gab is a NoCo resident born and raised in Canton NY who is a Math and Physics double major at Smith College. She was raised in the wild and enjoys spending time in nature including backpacking, hiking, canoeing, swimming, skiing, fishing (on the fly and normally) and more! When not outside, Gab enjoys painting, sewing and spending time with her dog Marcy. Gab hopes to one day get her pilot’s license and to forage a morel mushroom. She is excited to be a part of the NUN team and see you around the campfire!

Fun Fact: Gab has her Ham Radio license!

Nature Up North intern Tadd Ledoux










Tadd Ledoux | He/Himm/His | Summer Naturalist

Tadd Ledoux is a Senior St. Lawrence University and a Summer Naturalist intern here at Nature Up North. Majoring in English, Tadd enjoys quiet reading and walking in nature as well as swimming, fishing and sailing in Lake Ontario not far from his hometown of Watertown, NY. Tadd expects to pursue a career in education after graduating from St. Lawrence, and can't wait to bring that same passion for learning to his environmental education work here at Nature Up North.


Nature Up North intern Taylor Beidler with their cat.










Taylor Beidler | She/They | Summer Naturalist

Hello fellow Nature Lovers! 

My name is Taylor Beidler, and I am thrilled to be one of the three Naturalist Interns for Nature Up North this summer! I am a New York City native and the proud mother of a robust cat named Albert. I am entering my senior year at SLU, majoring in Biology with minors in Creative Writiing and Religious Studies.I recently returned from a semester abroad in Kenya, where I had incredible hands-on experiences with the environment. I learned about conservation, human-animal interactions, and the impact of communities on their surroundings. These are topics I am eager to explore further this summer. When I’m not laying in the grass looking for bats or figuring out how to bass boost songs in my Apple Music library, you can find my crocheting hats for animals! After earning my degree, I hope to pursue a career in education, providing urban children with greater access to nature.


Photo of Nature Up North Intern Liz Anderson









Liz Anderson | She/Her/Hers | Digital Media Intern

Liz is a sophomore from Andover, MA planning on majoring in Conservation Biology and minoring in Anthropology. She enjoys hiking, cross country skiing, baking, and reading. She also loves teaching her cat, Andre, fun tricks! Something Liz would like to do in the future is have a successful and biodiverse garden.



Photo of Nature Up North Intern Nela Chestojanova








Nela Chestojanova | She/Her/Hers | Digital Media Intern

Nela is a freshman from Macedonia planning to major in Biomedical Sciences. She loves to bake pastries, passionately watches Formula 1 and regularly extends her Duolingo Streak. She joined Nature Up North in her first year and is still acclimating to the weather in the North Country while exploring the area and improving her digital skills.


Anja Simic | Computer Science Intern

Anja is a Sophomore from Serbia, panning to major in Computer Science. Some of her other interests include philosophy, literature, and chess. This is her 2nd year with Nature Up North and she is excited to continue learning and working on projects!


Advisory Committee


Eric Williams-Bergen is the Director of Research and Digital Scholarship at St. Lawrence University. He brings together his knowledge of scholarly resources and emerging technologies to help the libraries and IT focus on the planning, implementation and support of digital projects such as LIT web resources, digital collections and institutional repositories.  Also a homesteader, Eric has served as a board member for GardenShare and specializes in developing websites for local nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. He has played a key role in developing St. Lawrence University’s new Sustainability Semester. He received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. Outside of his work for the University, Eric enjoys spending as much time as possible in the natural world, including kayaking, hiking, and biking with his family.


Dr. Choong-Soo Lee attended Wesleyan University as an undergraduate where he majored in Computer Science, Economics, and Physics. In 2010, he earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at WPI In 2010, and he joins St. Lawrence University after teaching at Gustavus Adolphus College for three years. His areas of research include multimedia, home networks, and human computer interaction. While earning his Ph.D, Dr. Lee took a leave of absence to complete his mandatory military service in South Korea where he worked with both Republic of Korea and U.S. military officers. His non-academic interests include classical music, hiking, and video games.


Lisa Torrey teaches in the department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics at St. Lawrence University. Her courses are about programming, algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computational theory. She mentors student projects in a wide range of topics, though most often in machine learning.


Sara Ashpole is an assistant professor of Envionmental Studies, receiving both her undergraduate and masters degrees in Zoology and Tozicology from the University of Guelph, Ontario. Sara completed her Ph.D. in planning at the University of Waterloo, Ontario and is advising graduate students there. Since 1999, Sara's research has been collaborative with NGO, government, First Nation peoples, and private landowners examining cumulative impacts to amphibian, reptile, and turtle populations in the Great Lakes and South Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Projects include long term amphibian population monitoring, wetland restoration and rehabilitation, road ecology, alien vertebrate species mitigation, agricultural eco-toxicology, landowner stewardship, community outreach and education.