The New Helen Sternberg Cutler Urban Forestry Scholarship at SUNY ESF

By Lewis M. Cutler, MS Forest Botany and Ecology, SUNY ESF, 1975

There’s now an urban forestry scholarship for students at SUNY ESF. I’ve created the Helen Sternberg Cutler Memorial Scholarship in urban forestry in my mother’s memory.

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Helen Sternberg Cutler

The urban landscape needs a lot of help to make cities more livable. With the demise of the American elm, climate change, and the spread of the emerald ash borer, I saw a need to encourage more ESF students of become professionals in urban forestry. What better way to further our family interests in urban forestry than to fund a scholarship.

My mother always had an interest in planting trees. She grew up in a Brooklyn brownstone and then moved out to suburban Long Island after World War II. When they moved to New Jersey, she and my father planted trees along their two-acre suburban house property line for wind breaks and for aesthetics. In their later years, I moved them up closer to me in rural Cato, NY.  Unfortunately, they were too elderly to continue this tree planting tradition around their new home in a treeless field; I tried to do the planting for them but the deer herd got the best of the seedlings.

New York State Urban Forestry Council President David Moore says, “I’m very excited to hear about this scholarship. Hearing the story behind it and how it comes from a family that wants to do good, it’s all very heartwarming. This will certainly contribute to SUNY ESF’s legacy of training innovative science practitioners, in a profession that is gaining interest on campus. By giving budding urban forestry leaders the support they need in starting their careers, we are better able to keep up with the demands of the 21st century.”

This scholarship is for an ESF undergraduate student in the Department of Forest and Natural Resource Management with financial need and a demonstrated interest in urban forestry. We’re looking for a student who has an expressed interest in policy or planning and has gained work experience or completed an internship in the field of urban forestry. The first scholarship will be awarded to a student in the spring of 2016.

If you or someone you know is interested in an urban forestry scholarship, they should contact the Department of Forest and Natural Resource Management at SUNY ESF. The best first step is to speak to the executive assistant, who can then put the candidate in touch with the right faculty member who will be leading the selection process that year.

Here’s the contact information: Department of Forest and Natural Resource Management, 320 Bray Hall, One Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210-2788, Phone: (315) 470-6536.

Donations to the Scholarship
I am also seeking donations to increase the value of the endowment scholarship fund. You can donate as much you can afford, and all donations are tax deductible. Anyone interested in contributing to the endowment can contact Nora Heapy (, ESF Office of Development and College Foundation, Inc., 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, Phone: 315-470-6973. Or you can send a check directly to the ESF College Foundation. You should indicate the donation is for the Helen Sternberg Cutler Memorial Scholarship on the check or in a note or letter attached to the check so that the funds are properly allocated to the account.

Another option is to make a secure on-line credit card donation here. Be sure to choose “Helen Sternberg Cutler Memorial Scholarship Fund” under “C” in the drop-down directory.

According to US Forest Service Northern Research Station at ESF Scientist Dr. Eric Greenfield, “As the US and world population continue to rapidly urbanize, the scholarship is not only an investment in a student and career, but also in our collective quality of life.” Eric is also a visiting professor and teaches the course in urban forestry for undergraduate and graduate students at SUNY ESF.



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