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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
Madison O'Shea is a 2019 graduate of St. Lawrence University, where she studied Biology and Education. As an undergrad, she worked with Nature Up North to create Monitor My Maple lesson plans and curriculum and MOW the Grasse teacher resources to provide students with opportunities to connect the topics they learn inside the classroom with nature in their own backyard. Growing up in the North Country, she and her family went camping every summer in the Adirondacks where she enjoyed hiking and sitting by the campfire. In her free time, Madison enjoys singing in University Chorus and reading books of all genres. Her interest in environmental education began after her semester of student teaching high school biology where she found that students are immensely curious about the natural world around them and enjoy partaking in citizen science. Madison is excited for the opportunity to connect her passion for education and nature with her love for the North Country community.
Interns and Volunteers
Lydia Dwyer | Intern
Originally from Syracuse, Lydia is a senior at St. Lawrence University studying Biology & Spanish. When not attending school, Lydia enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, swimming, and learning about the environment. After enjoying serving as a summer naturalist intern with Nature Up North, Lydia looks forward to continuing to write for the Just Our Nature blog as an intern this fall.
Valeria Maldonado | Intern
Val is a junior studying Psychology and Environmental Studies at St. Lawrence University. She is from Ponce, Puerto Rico and enjoys spending time relaxing at the beach, paddle boarding and taking pictures of the world around her! After interning with us this summer, Val decided to stay on to help with communications and graphic design.
Isabella de buy Wenniger | Intern
Izzy is a junior at St. Lawrence University majoring in environmental studies and philosophy. She is originally from Massachusetts but spends as much time as possible exploring the mountains and rivers of New England. This will be her second year interning for Nature Up North and she is excited to continue learning more about place-based education!
Alyssa LaCoy | Intern
Alyssa hails from rural Boylston, Massachusetts. She is a senior at St. Lawrence University concentrating in creative writing, biology, and outdoor studies. Alyssa is most content when creating, and takes pride in her music compositions, writing, and artwork. She maintains a deep respect for nature,and enjoys hiking, paddling, and simply existing outdoors. After interning with Nature Up North in the summer of 2018, Alyssa is excited to continue to spread her passion through her work with Nature Up North this fall.
Corinna Pilcher | Intern
Corinna is a junior majoring in Biology & Computer Science at St. Lawrence University. This is her second semester working on the Nature Up North team to develop applications for a new community-based game camera project, North Country Wild.
Remi LeBlanc | Intern
Remi is a Senior Computer Science major at St. Lawrence University. This is his third semester working on the North Country Wild team at Nature Up North.
Barlin Osman | Intern
Barlin Osman is a sophomore at St. Lawrence University. Originally from Somalia and currently living in Rochester, N.Y. While growing up in the city she took every opportunity for wildlife interaction and is excited to be working with Nature Up North to developing a closer connection with the environment.
Kathryn Jepson | Intern
Kathryn is a sophomore student from concord, NH. She is studying environmental studies-biology and enjoys playing outside with her dog. This is her first semester with Nature Up North and she is so excited to be part of the team!
Susan Choi | Student Volunteer
Originally from California, Susan is a freshman at St. Lawrence University. Aside from attending SLU, she likes to spend her time going to the beach, hiking, and reading. Susan is excited about her first semester working with the Nature Up North team.
Cody Bryan | Student Volunteer
Cody is a freshman at St. Lawrence University who lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Growing up surrounded by mountains, he learned to appreciate nature from a young age. He enjoys spending much of his time outside skiing, climbing, hiking, and running. Cody is excited to be a part of the Nature Up North team this fall!
Alex Calk | High School Intern
Alex is a senior at Little River Community School, and moved from New York City to Canton last year. They enjoy acting, singing, psychology, Spanish, environmental studies, and politics. Alex is also an intern for the Monthly Climate Action Vigil, which takes place on the first Friday of the month on the Canton Village Green. The vigil focuses on raising awareness on the climate crisis and calls on our government to regulate and combat the crisis effectively. Alex will be focusing on environmental journalism this fall with Nature Up North.
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.
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.
Dr. Ed Harcourt is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and the Chair, Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science at St. Lawrence University. He specializes in programming languages and computer architecture. Prior to joining the St. Lawrence faculty, Ed was a software engineer at Cadence Design Systems in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. In his current position Ed focuses on providing undergraduates with opportunities to gain firsthand experience in applying their knowledge to the “real world,” particularly through by working closely with small groups of students to develop software solutions for complex problems. Ed has also partnered with school districts in Northern New York to teach computer programming and robotics at the K-12 level. Ed enjoys spending his time outside skiing, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. He is also a volunteer fireman for the town of Colton, NY.
Dr. Alexander Stewart is an Associate Professor of Geology at St. Lawrence University. Retired from the U.S. Army, Alex is a veteran of the Cold War and three foreign wars. More than twenty years of experience and life-changing events make him a unique professor. His experiences in the Army in Alaska directed his interests to obtain a PhD in glacial geology. He has worked as a glacial geology/geomorphology professor from eastern Kentucky to western Texas and north to St. Lawrence University. Alex’s research interests are varied, covering many aspects of surface geology. In addition, Alex is an avid scorpion biologist researching behavior on his self-collected scorpions from Iraq, Afghanistan, China and elsewhere. In his spare time, Alex enjoys hiking, managing his trail camera for carnivores such as foxes and coywolves, and just being outside! Image: Eating crickets-on-a-stick on a trip to Asia.