Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

What goes up must come down, and luckily for researchers at SUNY ESF in Syracuse, a weather balloon they launched just over a month ago from their Syracuse campus, was finally discovered along a remote area in Cortland County.

The project was part of the Global Space Balloon Challenge, and engineering students, led by professor Giorgos Mountrakis, fashioned the high-altitude balloon so it could carry information-gathering electronics thousands of miles high.

Michael Staab / International Institute of Species Exploration, SUNY ESF

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse has come out with a top ten list of new species discovered in the last year. SUNY ESF President Quentin Wheeler says the list is culled from the 18,000 new plants and animals scientists discover every year. 

Wheeler says it’s not just plants or animals on the list. There’s a 600-pound chicken-like dinosaur that researchers used to think was a bird, nicknamed the “chicken from hell” because they hung out in nests of dinosaur eggs.


Some SUNY ESF students are hoping neighbors in the eastern portion of Cortland County can help them find a balloon that was part of a science experiment that went awry. 

Students launched a high altitude balloon for a nationwide contest on Wednesday.

Alyssa Endres, a student in the Environmental Resource Engineering Department, said it was supposed to explode when it got high enough.

Unplug for Earth Day

Apr 22, 2015
Samuel M. Livingston / Flickr

Some SUNY ESF scientists say a booming world population and over-consumption, are the earth’s biggest enemy.  But they say there are things humans can do on a an individual level that can make a difference in the big picture.

With a world population expected to top eight billion in a decade, professor Chuck Kroll, of the department of environmental resources engineering, looks at all those humans and the resources they uses as the biggest environmental threats out there.

Ellen Abbott

Bicycle commuters in Syracuse are hoping that the next roadway that’s revamped with bike infrastructure is Euclid Avenue.

Lorianne DiSabato / via Flickr

As this seemingly never-ending winter of record cold temperatures and stubborn snowstorms drags on in central New York, it seems hard to believe that a new season is around the corner. But, spring is lurking beneath the snow pack.

The State University of New York is among those making a pitch to get some of the state’s $5 billion windfall from the bank settlements.

Presidents from SUNY schools across the state say they are asking the New York State Legislature to “step up and invest in SUNY.”  


The State University of New York School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse has figured out a way to grow an American chestnut tree that won’t die from a blight that’s virtually decimated the species over the last hundred years. It all comes down to genes.

American chestnut trees are an iconic species in American culture. Wildlife has relied on them, streets were named after them, and you can’t avoid mention of them in music during the holiday season.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The latest projects slated for Syracuse’s Inner Harbor focus on education.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined county and city officials Tuesday to announce a state grant for the new SUNY Water Research and Educational Center.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A new era officially begins at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse this weekend. Quentin Wheeler will be inaugurated as the school’s fourth president. Wheeler sees ESF fitting into a world where environmental issues are moving closer toward the forefront.

Wheeler, a biologist who specializes in bugs and biodiversity, comes to ESF after stints at Arizona State University and Cornell. And that biodiversity background bubbles up when he talks about the future of Earth.

Courtesy SUNY-ESF

Dr. Quentin Wheeler will return to central New York in January to be SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry's first new president in more than a decade.

He comes back to New York from teaching at Arizona State University. Before that he cut his teeth as a professor at Cornell University where he stayed for a quarter century.

For a scientist, Wheeler said in an interview with WRVO, the forests of upstate New York are a good place to be.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Biomedical researchers across central and western New York are getting a new piece of sophisticated machinery that will allow them to get a closer look at the way cells and proteins interact.

Officials announced a $2 million federal grant this week that will allow a consortium of six upstate colleges and universities to buy what's called an 800-megahertz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.  

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The new Gateway Building at Syracuse's SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry campus is meant to be more than a welcoming center, incorporating many of the environmental values the school is known for.

SUNY ESF President Neil Murphy says the new $28 million center fulfills a decade old dream at the school.

Graduation rates vary widely at SUNY schools

Sep 3, 2013

Many students are back to college for the fall semester. For some of those students, where they start their education will also be where they receive their degrees.

New York's SUNY system graduates nearly 65 percent of its students within six years, one of the highest in the nation for public universities. But each SUNY school's results vary widely.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Students at the SUNY campus of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse will be able to borrow not only books, but a bike from the library starting this semester.

The new program is starting small, with five bikes available for students to borrow from the campus' Moon Library. All they have to do is fill out a waiver and rental agreement and pay a $20 bike membership fee, then they'll be entitled to unlimited rentals through the year.   

The state Inspector General's office has issued a report that largely clears the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry of any wrongdoing surrounding the use of a forensics lab at the college.

The Onondaga County District Attorney's office rose concerns in April about Syracuse Police forensic evidence used in several shooting cases. That prompted the state forensics commission to ask the Inspector General to conduct the investigation.

Central New York colleges win SUNY 2020 grant

Jun 5, 2013

A group of central New York public colleges is among the winners of the governor's second round of the SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program.

The state's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Upstate Medical University and Onondaga Community College in Syracuse and SUNY Oswego teamed up for the program.

They were awarded $15 million to start an institute of environmental health and medicine.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

SUNY ESF is working to bring back a tree that once made up one quarter of the standing timber in forests in the Eastern United States. Now, researchers have come up with a variety of the tree that resists the blight that killed billions of American chestnut trees.

AGmakonts / Creative Commons License

The SUNY Research Foundation will give funds to several of its institutions to help foster entrepreneurship, including the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and Upstate Medical University.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

As the controversy over hydrofracking drags on in New York state, opponents of the drilling method are trying to get more college students involved in the debate.  NYPIRG project coordinator Nicole Saint James is recruiting students at Syracuse University to help put more pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

runJMrun / via Flickr

When environmentalist Bill McKibben visited Syracuse in October as part of the University Lectures series, he urged students to get their schools to make more sustainable investments. His words encouraged Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students to start the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

SUNY ESF is showing off plants that will create a green roof on the new Gateway Center, which will open later this year.

This new green roof will almost be like visiting the shore of Lake Ontario.

runJMrun / via Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo is leaning on New York’s network of public colleges to play a bigger role in economic growth -- and he’s proposing to provide the resources to do so. But there could stiff competition for those funds.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing that New York State quadruple the amount of solar energy it uses for power in the next year.  

Central New Yorkers may enjoy some of the best fall colors in the country. That's the opinion of one tree expert out of the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Click "listen" above to hear Ellen's story.