Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Network Receives UNESCO Grant in Collaboration with the abrdn Charitable Foundation

Beautiful alpenglow creeps across the mountains overlooking Mirror Lake. Lake Placid is the epitome of a thriving Adirondack community that also invests heavily in the protection of its prized natural resources. Credit: Kerry Crowningshield

The abrdn Charitable Foundation (aCF) and UNESCO are in the second year of a three-year partnership to promote sustainability through research and education with the goal of developing innovative solutions relating to the environment, water and the ocean. As part of the partnership between UNESCO and the aCF, the project “Promoting sustainable development through UNESCO’s programmes and sites seeks to promote sustainability and climate neutrality by working through UNESCO designated sites to act as pilot sites for sustainable development and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDGs 6 (water), 13 (climate), 14 (ocean) and 15 (land). 

aCF and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe have selected the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Network and the State University of New York’s (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s proposal “An Atlas of Climate & Environmental Change for Champlain-Adirondack and Frontenac Arch Biosphere Networks” for the second cycle of the project “Promoting sustainable development through UNESCO’s programmes and sites” to receive $25,000 from aCF. 

Deer River Flow in New York, part of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Network. Credit: Kelly Cerialo

This transboundary project will further the Twinning Agreement between the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Network (CABN) and the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network (FABN) by addressing all natural systems associated with the two biosphere regions and serving as a reference and guide for municipal, regional and national decision-makers engaged in planning, design and management efforts and for government, academic and independent researchers with interests in environment, community and place. Once fully established, the Atlas (a universally accessible digital platform) will have on-going input from universities, research centers and national, state and provincial governments in the United States and Canada. Its contents and implications will also be disseminated through an ongoing series of workshops. 

Maple sugaring is a key part of the cultural heritage and economy of the communities within the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Network. This important tradition and industry is vulnerable to climate change impacts. Credit: Katie Darr

The seven-person project team from CABN consists of Emanuel Carter, Regional Planner/Professor at SUNY-ESF and CABN Steering Committee Member, Dr. Daniel Cronan, Landscape Architect/Professor at SUNY-ESF, Scott Shannon, Landscape Architect/Professor at SUNY-ESF, Sara Constantineau, Climate Atlas Research Associate at SUNY-ESF and CABN Climate Atlas Intern, Dr. Kelly Cerialo, Associate Professor in Business and Hospitality at Paul Smith’s College/CABN Co-Chair, Katie Darr, Environmental Analyst at the Lake Champlain Basin Program/CABN Coordinator, and Jim Brangan, Cultural Heritage and Recreation Coordinator at the Lake Champlain Basin Program/CABN Co-Chair. 

The Atlas project is coordinated by the Steering Committees of both biosphere networks and led by faculty and professionals at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Syracuse, NY) and at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario). This iteration of the project will build off of the work completed by Sara Constantineau, CABN Climate Intern, under the Commission for Environmental Cooperation North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action Grant

Members of the project team will travel to the UNESCO Office in Venice, Italy in September 2023 to attend a launch event for the project where the sites that were selected from the first and second year cycles will present their projects and exchange ideas. The UNESCO team who oversees the project, the donor abrdn Charitable Foundation and other key stakeholders for the project will be present.

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