March 29, 2024

The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Timbuctoo sign on budget letter FY24-25

Dear Governor Hochul,

The undersigned organizations urge you to include $2,100,000 in the final approved FY25 budget for the Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute.

The Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute (Timbuctoo Institute), established in 2022, is a partnership between SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and CUNY Medgar Evers College (MEC) to introduce high school students living on the frontlines of climate change in urban environments to careers combatting climate change. The program culminates in a stay at the ESF campus in Newcomb, NY, the heart of the Adirondacks.

The first year of this program was a resounding success, with ESF and MEC hosting students from across the city’s five boroughs. Students were introduced to climate careers in science, natural resource management, public policy and administration, entrepreneurship, art, and law, as a few examples. Most importantly, students gained confidence and leadership experience at a formative time of their lives. Blake, a program alumnus from Harlem, remarked “Being in the outdoors was new to me, but I’m so glad I pushed through. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I learned so much.”

The requested funding will ensure that the program expands its reach to more students while working within its existing budget framework. Following the program’s pilot year, the Timbuctoo Institute will use feedback and lessons learned to grow participation and reach more students. The impact of the Institute shines beyond the course time spent in the mountains. “I’ve been more conscious about my actions and what my actions do. Timbuctoo allowed me to just think about my future and the things I do and how I impact other people and impact the environment,” said Jayda, a student from Queens.

As we fight the climate crisis, it is imperative to equip the next generation of youth from traditionally
marginalized communities and most at risk from climate impacts with the tools necessary to be part of the solution. We implore you to reinstate funding for the Timbuctoo Institute to a full $2.1 million in the final budget. Thank you for your consideration.


  • Raul J. Aguirre, Executive Director, Adirondack Council
  • Cathy Pedler, Director of Advocacy, Adirondack Mountain Clu
  • Elizabeth Cooper, Executive Director, Adirondack Diversity Initiative / Adirondack North Country Association
  • David Gibson, Managing Partner, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve
  • Martha Swan, Executive Director, John Brown Lives!
  • Andrew Williams, Deputy State Policy Director, New York League of Conservation Voters
  • Claudia Braymer, Deputy Director, Protect the Adirondacks!
  • Roger Downs, Conservation Director, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter
  • Joanie Mahoney, President, SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry


  • Hon. Andrea Stewart Cousins, Majority Leader, NYS Senate
  • Hon. Carl Heastie, Speaker, NYS Assembly
  • Hon. Pete Harckham, Chair, Senate Environmental Conservation Committee
  • Hon. Deborah Glick, Chair, Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee