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The Roosevelt Wild Life Station: History of the Roosevelt Wildlife Station

This guide created by SUNY ESF Associate Librarian Jane Verostek reviews the history of The Roosevelt Wildlife State and connects users to archival items relating to the The Roosevelt Wildlife Station and Theodore Roosevelt located at SUNY ESF.

What is the RWLS?

The existing Roosevelt Wildlife Station at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry has website rich with information. Here from their website is information on the history of the Roosevelt Wildlife Station.


The Roosevelt Wild Life Station was established by an act of the New York State Legislature in 1919 to memorialize Theodore Roosevelt as a wildlife conservationist. The Station was established at the College of Forestry at Syracuse University (now SUNY-ESF) through the efforts of Dr. Charles C. Adams, who was a professor of forest zoology at the College and director of the New York State Museum in Albany.

In the beginning, the Station's research focus was driven by a lack of basic understanding of the biology of forest-dependent animals, primarily game species. Thanks to powerful conservationists who relied on scientific information provided by institutions such as the Roosevelt Wild Life Station, wild animals became recognized as a "natural resource" worthy of management alongside timber, pasture and water. The Roosevelt Wild Life Station provided some of the earliest investigations into the natural history of wildlife, such as beaver and their importance to ecosystems and society.

The Wildlife Challenge Today

Fast forward to today: The world faces a global biodiversity crisis driven primarily by habitat loss and climate change. As habitat degrades or is destroyed, wildlife populations become disconnected and more vulnerable to other threats, such as disease. Even well-managed and relatively abundant game species suffer from severe habitat loss.

For both common and rare wildlife, it is imperative that research focus on identifying land management strategies to assist species' adaptation to rapidly changing land use and climate.

The wildlife profession itself also faces complex challenges. Students pursuing the field of wildlife science need direct and meaningful experience outdoors with wildlife, habitat and the stakeholder community to gain an appreciation for the multi- faceted demands of their chosen profession. Established professionals need opportunities to augment their skills in new areas: multi-institutional collaborations, transparency in decision-making, emerging technologies and systems-based approaches that are critical to effective resource management. To ensure broad public support for the conservation of our wildlife heritage, we also must act to close the widening gap between the demographic makeup of the conservation profession and the public at large.

student with eagle

It is with these research and professional challenges in mind that we have re-envisioned the Roosevelt Wild Life Station's program at ESF. We are seeking strategic partners to achieve this new vision.

The research program at the Roosevelt Wild Life Station focuses on the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, an area that is undergoing one of the most rapid rates of climate change in North America, as well as strategic sites around the globe. Priorities are protection of imperiled keystone and strongly valued species vulnerable to the impacts of rapidly changing landscapes and climate; and habitat management issues, such as maintaining effective habitat in private-land mosaics, protecting and expanding core habitat areas, and securing habitat connectivity.

Subject Guide

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Jane Verostek
Phone 315-470-6718