Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Newcomb Interpretive Center Transition

newcombtrails2It is easy during a transition to focus on the work ahead to the exclusion of the past. As the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry assumes control of the Adirondack Park Agency’s Newcomb Visitor Interpretive Center the college does not want that to happen.

The Newcomb center and her sibling center at Paul Smiths are both fabulous year-round facilities with beautiful trails through diverse and wonderful habitats. But they are beloved by visitors and park residents alike not just because of what they are, but because of “who” they are.

The centers express the collective energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and passion of the people who have staffed them so effectively over the past 20 years. In Newcomb, this includes Rynda McCray, Ellen Rathbone, Mary Tisi and Mike Tracy, to name just the recent staff, and Mike Brennan and Milt Adams to name just two at Paul Smiths. These are the people who instilled the centers with personality and content, who made the centers an integral part of the educational and recreational fabric of the Park.

Their contributions are what brought neighbors, teachers and classes, tourists, campers and others back to the interpretive centers year after year to learn about the natural history of the Adirondack region in an informative and informal setting.

The centers are in transition to new owners and new programming but it is the past commitment of all the APA’s dedicated VIC employees who have created the foundation on which new work will be based.

As ESF’s representative working to create the programming for the Newcomb center I look forward to sharing information, notes and thoughts regularly with Adirondack Almanack readers.

The Newcomb center is open and will continue to be open: that is ESF’s commitment to the future, and the past.

Paul B. Hai is the Program Coordinator for SUNY-ESF’s Northern Forest Institute and is developing the programming for the Adirondack Interpretive Center.

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Paul B. Hai is Program Coordinator for the Northern Forest Institute for Conservation Education and Leadership Training of the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF).

Paul is passionate about creating interdisciplinary programs using natural history, inquiry-based activities and outdoor experiences as the foundations for teaching the process of science, exploring the Adirondack experience, and for getting children outside. This commitment to using informal science education as a vehicle for reconnecting children to nature is a key programmatic theme of programming at ESF’s Adirondack Interpretive Center.

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