Saturday, August 9, 2008

Paul Smiths VIC’s Adirondack Wildlife Festival

Another announcement forwarded to you from Andy Flynn:

PAUL SMITHS, NY – The increasing need for wind energy in New York state and the exploding moose population in the Adirondacks will top the list of Adirondack Wildlife Festival programs on Sunday, Aug. 10 at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul Smiths. The annual event, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will also feature children’s activities, live music, wildlife exhibits, food, trail walks and live animal demonstrations.

As the United States explores ways to decrease its dependence on foreign oil, energy companies and private firms continue to add wind farms in New York because it is a clean and abundant source of energy. The massive blades rotating in the wind, however, can be devastating to some bird species, which have been killed by the machines while migrating north and south. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) avian ecologist Brianna Gary, based in Albany, will present a program about “Wind Energy and Birds” at 1 p.m. in the VIC theater and discuss the challenges facing birds and humans at this critical time in U.S. history.

The moose population in the Adirondack Mountains continues to grow. After more than a century without moose, the species began to return to the Adirondacks in the 1980s. In the fall of 2007, the DEC estimated that there were about 500 moose in the Adirondack region. Now that we’ve gone through another breeding cycle, the number has changed. What is it now? DEC Wildlife Biologist Ed Reed, based in Ray Brook, will answer that question and more during his program on “Moose in New York State” at 11 a.m. in the VIC theater.

The Adirondack Wildlife Festival starts with live animal programs. VIC educators will present Bird-of-Prey programs at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and naturalist Kenneth Barnett will show visitors live reptiles and amphibians at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Native Species Butterfly House, filled with moths and butterflies, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Singer/songwriter Mark Rust, of Woodstock, will be the featured musical act. From 10 to 11 a.m., he will be welcoming visitors with hammered dulcimer music at the VIC entrance. At noon, he will give a show for kids, “My Family’s Musical Traditions,” followed by a “How to Play the Spoons” workshop at 12:45 p.m. in the Music Tent near the Butterfly House. From 2 to 3 p.m., Rust will give a show titled “Our Families Came to Sing,” songs about family life and growing up. Rust’s performance showcases an impressive array of instruments, including fiddle, guitar, hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer and banjo.

Wildlife photographer Gerry Lemmo, of Queensbury, will be offering several programs: a Wildlife Walk at 11 a.m.; a BYOC (Bring Your Own Camera) Photography Walk at 1:15 p.m.; and a wildlife-inspired slide show presentation at 3 p.m. in the VIC theater. Participants will need to sign up and meet at the front desk for the two walks.

Displays will be set up by the DEC wildlife and fisheries departments, the DEC Hudson River Otter Stewardship Program and other regional environmental organizations.

Free and open to the public, the Adirondack Wildlife Festival at the Paul Smiths VIC will be held rain or shine. The event is sponsored by the Adirondack Park Agency and the Adirondack Park Institute, the not-for-profit group that funds environmental educational programs, events, publications and curricula at the VICs.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Food Pavilion. Children’s activities will be led by VIC naturalists and volunteers from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Sunspace.

The New York State Adirondack Park Agency operates two VICs, in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, which are open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas and Thanksgiving. They offer a wide array of educational programs, miles of interpretive trails and visitor information services. Admission is free.

The Paul Smiths VIC is located 12 miles north of Saranac Lake on Route 30. For more information about the VICs, log on to the centers’ Web site at

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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