Ecological Climate Change Calendar Project

The intern selected for this project will work with the project team to develop ecological calendars to anticipate climatic change based on Warren County specific data. The ecological calendar reflects how Warren County residents’ lives and livelihoods are connected to seasons, weather, growing periods, and other ecological factors that may be changing over time due to the climate crisis. Ecological calendars capture dynamic factors related to weather, food systems, demographic shifts, livelihoods, and sociocultural norms. As these factors change, residents' interaction with their environment also shifts. The intended outcome is to develop an calendar of current data points to compare and learn from historic usage/interactions and trends observed by Warren County residents and how they engage with their environment so that they may ultimately adapt to climate impacts. This project may also contribute to 4-H Curriculum.

Roles and responsibilities 

The student intern will be involved in community engaged learning through specific partnerships with Warren County community institutions. The intern will use a variety of mixed qualitative and quantitative methods to collect, organize, and analyze data to be used in the development of a visual ecological calendar. They will conduct semi-structured interviews, surveys, and analyze historical weather, hunting, gardening, and forestry data to show changes in ecological indicators (latest frost date or earliest sap run dates, for example). Local contact with gardeners, hunters, foresters, and county/town staff will be provided through Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) staff. The student intern will be jointly mentored by Professor Karim-Aly Kassam, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (DNRE) and Mr. John Bowe Executive Director, Warren County CCE.

Qualifications and previous coursework

This opportunity was made available to non-graduating students enrolled in Cornell University's CAS, ILR, AAP, COE and JCB.

  • The student would be enrolled in “Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge” (NTRES-AIIS- AMST 3330). 
  • The student will apply basic data analysis, statistics, ethnographic research methodology, and human-ecological research techniques. 
  • In addition, the student would also be enrolled in the Sustainability and Environment (E&S) Cross College Major which includes biology, climate science, and ecological training.
  • The student would also undertake an Independent E&S course as a part of their honors thesis with Professor Kassam. 
  • The Intern will also be part of Professor Kassam’s Research Group at Cornell University and be mentored by his more senior students.

Learning outcomes 

Measurable Learning Outcomes will include: 

  • Understanding of human and natural resource interactions and how they play a role in everyday livelihoods of rural New Yorkers; 
  • Ability to undertake fundamental data collection, research design, and methodology; 
  • Use surveys and semi-structured interviews for qualitative and quantitative analysis; 
  • Develop an ecological calendar for Warren County; and • Ability to design youth education curriculum (i.e. 4-H).