Please join us in congratulating Professor Kevin Griffin for accepting the position of President of the Black Rock Forest Consortium.
Although it was with sadness that Professor Griffin accepted the position after the passing of the former president Professor Frank Moretti of Teachers College, he is still extremely enthusiastic, since the organization has played such an important role in his academic career here at Columbia.
The Black Rock Forest Consortium is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to advance scientific understanding of the natural world through research, education and conservation programs. According to their website; the Consortium maintains a 3,850-acre forest preserve and a biological field station with laboratories, classrooms and a lodge in the Hudson Highlands, 60 miles north of New York City. The Consortium collaborates with its members – prominent universities, K-12 schools and research institutions – in conducting scientific research, creating education programs for K-16 audiences, and offering resources and support for early-career scientists, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Kevin has served on the BRF Consortium board for over ten years, holding the position of vice president for the last seven. Professor Griffin and his team study the physiological mechanisms that forest trees use to respond to climate variability and environmental change. Current research focuses on assessing if photosynthetic and respiratory properties of trees that have a more typically southern distribution are providing an ecological advantage compared to these processes in trees that are more centrally located in their distribution or more typically found in northern environments. Understanding carbon, nitrogen and water cycling and the future of the forest are key motivations for this research.
"Through Black Rock we have sponsored dozens of PhD, Masters and undergraduate theses", Kevin says. "We've taken numerous class field trips (in DEES and E3B), and developed highly sophisticated online learning tools (http://blackrock.ccnmtl.columbia.edu/portal/home. My students, collaborators and I have published more than two-dozen papers on the ecology of the forest and its relation to climate change/climate variability. The forest has been listed as an Earth Institute resource and many professors from CU have been involved in various activities there. I continue to look forward to working with those interested in perpetuating, strengthening and growing the relationship between Black Rock Forest and Columbia”.