Mission & History

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies' mission is the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge about ecological systems.

This knowledge is created through scientific research, disseminated through teaching, writing, and exhibits, and applied through participation in decision-making regarding the ecological management of natural resources and through promotion of a broader awareness about the importance of ecological relationships to human welfare.  

As one of the largest ecological research programs in the world, Cary supplies unbiased scientific research that leads to more effective environmental policy decisions and increased environmental literacy.

Mission

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies generates rigorous scientific knowledge about ecological systems and their importance to human well-being.

  • We work at the frontiers of ecological science.
  • We create excellence in science through innovation, collaboration, synthesis and dissemination of our results.
  • We shape the practice and application of ecological knowledge and discovery.
  • We engage diverse communities in our work: scientists, students, educators, policy makers, practitioners and the public.
  • We use our scientific leadership to convene, educate and inform these diverse communities to ensure the application of ecological knowledge for the public good.
  • We promote and maintain a vibrant and diverse workforce and foster a culture of integrity and respect.

 

Vision

In an uncertain and unpredictable world, the Cary Institute is a trusted authority on ecosystem science:  we answer fundamental questions about the complex systems that support life on Earth. We engage citizens, practitioners and policymakers who seek scientifically driven solutions to environmental problems. We leverage our research and syntheses, global networks, public outreach, and partnerships for the global good.

History

 

1967

Mary Flagler Cary leaves her 2,000 acre Millbrook estate to a charitable organization “engaged in the conservation, maintenance, and preservation of natural resources”

1971

Mary Flagler Charitable Trust accepts proposal from the New York Botanical Garden to establish an arboretum devoted to research and educational activities.

1977

Mary Flagler Cary Arboretum opens to
the public.

1978

Plant Science Building is completed.

1980

Decision is made to focus the Arboretum on the science of ecology.

1983-Founding

Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) is established as a ground-breaking research organization and major think tank for the emerging field of ecosystem studies.

1984

Weather station is equipped to collect measurements of precipitation chemistry (acid rain), temperature, and other variables.

1985

Inaugural Cary Conference gathers leaders across disciplines to explore new dimensions in ecosystem science.

1986

Hudson River Group begins their landmark long-term studies investigating the health and functioning of the Hudson River Estuary.

1988

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program is initiated to train the next generation of ecologists.

1989

Hudson River Group predicts non-native zebra mussels will invade the Hudson River.

1990

Cary research prompts public policy debate and sweeping revisions to the U.S. Clean Air Act. 

The Institute becomes an independant, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

1993

Ecology Day Camp program begins teaching school children about the natural world.

1996

Pioneering research of urban areas leads to the establishment of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study.

1994

150-seat auditorium is built to host conferences, seminars, and public lectures.

1998

Institute-led studies reveal a link between acorn production and Lyme disease outbreaks.

2000

The Gene E. Likens Lab is completed.

Institute-led research finds high species diversity strongly reduces disease risk in humans–the “dilution effect”.

2002

Gene E. Likens is awarded the National Medal of Science for his influential work on acid rain.

2007

William H. Schlesinger becomes 2nd president.

Friday Nights at Cary program is established.

2008

Under Institute leadership, the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS) is created.

Institute name is changed to Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

2012

Earth Wise radio spots debut on WAMC.

2013

Artificial Stream Research Facility is constructed to advance studies of pharmaceutical pollution and genetically modified crops.

2014

Molecular Lab opens, supporting the Institute's growing infectious disease ecology program.

Joshua R. Ginsberg becomes 3rd president.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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