University at Albany

Local Environment

On an average UAlbany day, many of us probably don't feel much contact with our surroundings. Our water comes from machines and spigots, our air arrives from ducts and windows, our food arrives in trucks, and our weather just "arrives." All our waste products from an average UAlbany day somehow just go "away." It's easy to forget the important role your environment plays in everyday lives.

The Capital Region of New York State is an area rich with natural and cultural resources. Nestled within this diverse environment, the university is surrounded by the majestic Berkshires, Catskills, and Adirondack Mountains; combined they hold the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River. The main campus of the university holds approximately 500 acres and has a wide variety of vegetation blanketing more than half of the area. The main campus was designed by renowned American architect Edward Durell Stone and is regarded as an important example of modernist architecture. The campus was described by author Thomas A. Gaines, in his book, The Campus as a Work of Art, as “one-of-a-kind”.

The Albany area is embedded in a whole system of wild and semi-natural areas. Water arrives from reservoirs in the heavily-forested Helderberg Mountains to the southwest. Rainwater runs off our rooftops and parking lots into our holding pond and drains into several creeks, which eventually transports the water into the Hudson River and out to sea. Air is cleansed by many kinds of forests, small and large, including beautiful trees on campus. Wildlife of many varieties abounds and can be visible in and around the Capital Region. The campus itself is home to its own valuable ecosystem and is neighbor to the Albany Pine Bush, home of the Karner Blue Butterfly. Making a connection to and learning about the contributions of this natural world is an important component of environmental sustainability.

New York State Symbols

NYS Animal

American Beaver

The beaver was adopted as the State animal of New York in 1975. Unique animals with flat tails and lustrous fur, beavers have the ability to change a landscape second only to humans. Beavers prefer to dam streams in shallow valleys, turning much of the flooded area into wetlands.

NYS Bird

Eastern Bluebird

The Eastern Bluebird is a member of the thrush family, like the Robin.  This is one of the first birds to return North each spring.  The bluebird was adopted as the state bird in 1970.

NYS Fruit

Red Apple

In 1647, then Governor Peter Stuyvesant planted an apple tree from Holland on the corner of Third Avenue and 13th Street in New York City.  Since then, New York has become a top apple producer. There are over 7,500 varieties grown worldwide. The apple was adopted as the state fruit in 1976.

NYS Flower

Red Rose

Roses are considered one of the most popular and widely cultivated flowers in the world.  They are ancient symbols of beauty and love.  The rose is the national flower of the US and was adopted as the state flower in 1955.

NYS Tree


The sugar maple is the most abundant of the seven maple species found in New York State. Its historical and economic importance, both in the production of maple syrup and as a timber species, has earned the sugar maple its status as the official state tree of New York. The sugar maple was adopted as the state tree in 1956.