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"Nurturing New York's Nature" at Queens College


Maria Terrone
Executive Director of Communications
(718) 997-5591

Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5590




NEW YORK, December 3, 2004 – City University Chancellor Matthew Goldstein has announced the establishment of a new CUNY-wide urban environmental institute, the Institute to Nurture New York’s Nature. The new institute is based at Queens College in Flushing, home of the highly respected School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and of the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, which has the renowned environmentalist Dr. Barry Commoner as its senior scientist and director emeritus.

“For Queens College, this institute truly is a match made in heaven,” says the college’s president, Dr. James Muyskens. “It builds on our resources, including our own eminent scientists, and focuses on the challenges of living in an urban environment.”

The legendary labor negotiator Theodore Kheel, president of the foundation Nurture New York’s Nature, has pledged $1 million over four years to help fund the institute’s programs.

In a mega-city such as New York, extraordinary efforts to preserve and protect nature are needed to counterbalance the ongoing pressure for economic development. The continuing growth of our city profoundly affects local wildlife, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, air purity and the overall quality of life.

The Institute to Nurture New York’s Nature will promote sound management of the city’s natural resources; conduct and sponsor research on such pressing topics as the region’s changing climate and aquasphere (wetlands, shorelines, etc.); educate the community about our urban natural environment; organize conferences for specialists and the public; and work closely with policymakers, government officials, and scientists to preserve New York’s natural environment. The institute will soon conduct a nationwide search for a director.

“Much of what the institute will do is outreach,” says President Muyskens, who mentioned such activities as hosting public events, creating Web sites and sponsoring lectures. “The institute will reach elementary- and secondary-school teachers, and, through them, will help children become aware of how important our natural resources are. It also will work with policymakers and government officials on environmental planning for the metropolitan area.”

Faculty in many disciplines from other CUNY campuses will participate in the work of the institute. At Queens College, two recently hired faculty members will play a key role. They include Dr. John Waldman (Biology), an expert on the environment and management of New York’s harbor, and Dr. George Hendrey (Earth and Environmental Sciences), whose work on atmospheric contaminants led to proposals for the Urban Atmospheric Observatory being developed in New York City – a project supported by the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

Using the city as its model, the Institute to Nurture New York’s Nature is expected to be a world-class force for urban environmental science, education and positive policymaking.

Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and a variety of specialized honors programs.

Located on a beautiful 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. In fact, the 2005 edition of The Princeton Review The Best 357 Colleges ranked Queens College #6 among America’s top-20 “Best Bargain Public Colleges.” Its nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak 66 languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment. The college’s outstanding faculty members have received numerous fellowships, awards, and research grants, including two Guggenheim awards and Fulbright grants.


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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