Thursday, October 7, 2021

Hear some classic ranger stories at Paul Smiths this weekend

van laer ranger familyRangers and Galaxies Above: Week Three of the Adirondack Lecture Series

The Adirondack Lecture Series is still in full swing here at the VIC. Week three of the series starts Saturday, October 9th at 2pm. Join retired rangers in “Old Rangers Tell Old Adirondack Rescue Stories.” If you have ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the life of a ranger, this talk is for you. Learn about historic rescues that took place only a few miles away from your backyard. VIC Director and retired ranger Scott van Laer, an occasional contributor to the Adirondack Almanack, will moderate the discussion.

Frank Dorchak

Frank Dorchak

The panel consists of Gary Lee, who began his career at the West Canada Lakes Wilderness in 1965 and covered the Moose River Plains till retirement in 1998. Dick van Laer who worked in the Catskills in Adirondacks from 1977-2003 and Frank Dorchak, who patrolled the Western High Peaks and Saranac Lakes from 1967-1995. Ranger Dorchak recently published his memoir, Periscopes in the Adirondack, an Adirondack Forest Rangers Lifetime of Memories, which will be available for purchase that day.

On Thursday, October 14 at 6:30pm turn to the night skies as Aileen O’Donoghue lectures on “Galaxies and the Large Scale Structure of the Universe.” Dr. O’Donoghue is a Henry Priest Professor of Physics at St. Lawrence University. She received her PhD in Physics at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

Dr. O’Donoghue’s main focus has been radio astronomy and she has conducted observations using the Very Large Array and Arecibo radio telescopes. She is currently a member of the ALFALFA undergraduate team that is conducting a blind survey of the sky that is visible from the Arecibo Observatory. The team is cataloguing clouds of neutral hydrogen. She enjoys teaching students with a goal of broadening the way student’s see the universe and to “stir student’s sense of wonder.” She is the author of The Sky Is Not The Ceiling: An Astronomer’s Faith.

Aileen O'Donoghue

Aileen O’Donoghue

In the winter Dr. O’Donoghue writes an astronomy column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise called “The Wilderness Above.” Aileen will discuss her research on galaxies to help us better understand the night sky and the structure of the universe.

Please go to our website or to the front desk of the VIC to reserve a ticket for the lecture series. Day of ticket purchases are welcome. The VIC building is open 7 days a week from 9-5 until Columbus Day. We are in peak color here at the VIC and we welcome you to enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery. Our trails are open dawn to dusk. We hope to see you each week for more entertaining lectures!

Future lecture guests are; 10/16 Jerry Jenkins, 10/21 Charlie Canham, 10/23 Brian Mann, 10/28 Julia Goren, 11/06 Aaron Mair.

Photo at top: Dick van Laer, left, holds Clancy van Laer and Scott van Laer, right, holds Phoebe van Laer in the summer of 2015 outside the Johns Brook Outpost in Keene Valley. Photo courtesy of Michale Glennon


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Alice Menis is a 2021 Steward at The Paul Smith's College VIC. When she is not blogging, she can be found patrolling our trails, educating the public and leading the VIC's signature children's environmental education program, the Junior Heron's Club.

2 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    This sounds like a great event. I hope to attend!

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