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.

UAlbany's Uptown Campus holds approximately 500 acres and has a wide variety of vegetation blanketing more than half of the area. The Uptown 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.

By action of the New York State Legislature, the bluebird, beaver, brook trout, sugar maple, rose, nine spotted lady beetle, bay scallop, eurypterid and garnet officially represent the state's birds, mammals, fish, insects, mollusks, trees, wildflowers, fossils and minerals. Learn more about New York State's symbols.

Climate change stands to alter the different climates of the world, including those in Albany and upstate New York. By reducing our carbon emissions we may be able to help mitigate the effects. Learn more about climate change using these resources:



Local Attractions

Albany Pine Bush Preserve: Located about five miles from the University, the Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center offers tours and trails that represent one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine barrens ecosystem in the world. This gently rolling sand plain is home to an unique diversity of animals and plants, including 20 rare species and two rare natural communities including the Karner Blue Butterfly.

Six Mile WaterworksSix Mile Waterworks is within walking distance of the University and is made up of the glacial sand plains of Albany's Pine Bush. It is a recreational oasis offering fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking and a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life. The 57-acre park boasts picnic tables, grills, and a playground facility. Rensselaer Lake, a 43-acre manmade lake, is stocked several times each year with fish from the city's Alcove Reservoir, said to be home to some of the biggest fish in the Capital Region.

Dippikill Wilderness RetreatDippikill is a private 850-acre wilderness retreat facility owned by the UAlbany Student Association. Since 1956, Dippikill has remained true to its mission: to keep the area pristine, limit development and offer visitors a glimpse of nature's beauty while enjoying overnight visits in rustic-style lodging. The cabins and campsites at Dippikill are open to reservations from UAlbany community members.

Washington Park: Washington Park is a haven for outdoor activity in Albany — including strolling, jogging, picnicking, fishing, site seeing and bird watching — and the site of many popular special events, such as its signature Tulip Festival in May. The park is among the most beautifully sculpted and well-maintained parks in the Capital Region. It contains over 100 species of trees, from bonsai trees to gigantic oaks.

John Boyd Thacher State Park: Thacher State Park is situated along the Helderberg Escarpment, one of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world. Even as it safeguards six miles of limestone cliff-face, rock-strewn slopes, woodland and open fields, the park provides a marvelous panorama of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green Mountains. The park has volleyball courts, playgrounds, ball fields and numerous picnic areas with nine reservable shelters. Interpretive programs are offered year-round, including guided tours of the famous Indian Ladder Trail. There are over 12 additional miles of trails for summer hiking and mountain biking, and winter cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and snowmobiling.

Thompson's Lake State Park: Thompson's Lake State Park, nestled in the mountains just four miles from the Helderberg Escarpment, is a popular camping ground and recreation area. In addition to 140 wooded campsites, the park comprises a sandy beach, mixed hardwood and conifer forests, limestone outcroppings and open fields. Recreational opportunities include a volleyball court, horseshoe pits, a playing field, swing sets, carry-in boat access, rental row boats, fishing areas, and nature trails. Interpretive and recreational programs are offered for campers throughout the summer. During the winter, visitors can cross-country ski and ice fish.

Normans Kill PreserveThe Normans Kill Preserves consist of three parcels that total 46 acres with over a half-mile of the frontage on the Normans Kill in an area directly across from the city of Albany's Stevens Farm. Trails have been developed on the east and west parcels.

Mohawk-Hudson Bike TrailThe crown jewel for bicycling in the Capital Region is the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail. The 97 mile paved shared path stretches from Albany to Frankfort.

Local Farmers' Markets: Farmers’ markets expand sales, promote improved nutrition and help increase consumption of locally produced food.