Almanack Contributor Alice Menis

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.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Brian Mann, Julia Goren part of last week of VIC’s fall lecture series

Shingle Mill Falls

Temperatures have dropped at the Visitor Interpretive Center at Paul Smith’s College along with most of the fall leaves. This is the perfect time to attend the Adirondack Lecture Series. The weekly lectures are held in our mountaintop theater and we even provide hot coffee! Brian Mann and Julia Goren are the last speakers of the fall lecture series. The lecture series was a success thanks in part to our sponsors; the Adirondack Council and the Paul Smith’s College Center for Sustainability.

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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.

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Thursday, September 30, 2021

‘A Wild Idea’ and more upcoming lectures at Paul Smith’s VIC

wild ideaHere at the Visitor Interpretive Center at Paul Smith’s College (VIC) we have more exciting lectures for you! Our lecture series is every Thursday and Saturday until November 6.

The first lecture of October is “A Wild Idea: The Birth of the ADK Park Agency and What it Means for Today” on October 2nd at 2pm with Brad Edmondson. Edmonson is a writer and business consultant in Ithaca, New York. He is known to “write about social change and how it happens.” Edmondson’s most recent book is A Wild Idea: How the Environmental Movement Tamed the Adirondacks. In his book he discusses whether the APA saved the Adirondack Wilderness or ruined the local economy. Edmonson performed over 60 interviews for his book to understand the public’s opinion on the APA. (Editor’s note: Check out a review of the book here.)

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Paul Smith’s College VIC hosts fall lecture series


As summer dips into fall and leaves cover the ground here at the VIC our lecture series has begun. Spend a chilly afternoon indoors with us and listen to one of our fantastic speakers. Whether you want to learn more about Mountain Gorilla Conservation or land management in the Adirondacks, we have a lecture for you!

Every Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon we will host an engaging lecture. The series is sponsored by the Adirondack Council and is free to students from Paul Smiths College and North Country Community College. Cost for the general public is just $5 to help support the mission of the VIC. I will post here each week about the upcoming speakers.

Our lecture series begins with Drs. Amy Vedder and Bill Weber on September 25th at 2:00PM. Their lecture, “In the Kingdom Gorillas: Success and Challenges in Tourism and Conservation,” focuses on land management from Africa to the Adirondacks. Amy and Bill will discuss how ecotourism combined with protection of land and wild animals can benefit local communities.

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Monday, August 30, 2021

A view of St. Regis Mountain fire tower

My first day at Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) back in June I sat on a couch in front of the bird feeders eating lunch. As I ate and watched the birds I noticed something else out of the corner of my eye. I saw a tiny spec peeking out over St. Regis Mountain’s bare top. It was the St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower, the longest active fire station in the Adirondacks.

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Friday, August 6, 2021

A tagged Monarch Butterfly from Paul Smith’s found in Mexico

monarch butterflyOn a warm sunny day in late September the Monarch butterflies at the Paul Smith’s College Visitors Interpretive Center (VIC) readied for their journey to Mexico. In our butterfly house we tag monarchs so they can be tracked on their journey south. They are tagged with small stickers and given individual numbers. This year one very special Monarch from our butterfly house, number AAMZ679, was found in El Rosario, Mexico! This means this Monarch butterfly traveled 3,000 miles from the Butterfly House to reach El Rosario!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Rent a Bear Canister, Save a Life

bear cubThe black bear’s sleek black coat and seven-foot frame used to symbolize Adirondack wilderness. The black bear could be found munching on berries or grabbing fish from a stream. Today, black bears in the High Peaks scavenge for food left out by backpackers and hikers. Black bears are opportunist hunters and will eat whatever is the easiest to find. Why bother hunting when a human has a feast prepared?

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Adirondack moose: One spotted on trails at the Paul Smith’s VIC

mooseBy Alice Menis, Paul Smith’s College VIC Steward

Do you dream of finding an Adirondack moose? Look no further, here at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Information Center we have had multiple sightings of a moose!

Our first photograph of the moose was taken via trail camera during a research project by STEM students at Paul Smith’s College. For the past few weeks, we have been finding tracks on our trails but no one reported a sighting until Wednesday, June 16, when a lucky hiker captured a picture of the moose on the Heron Marsh Trail. The moose has been hanging out near this trail because there is plenty of food in the marsh. Moose love to eat wetland plants such as pond lilies because of their high sodium content. Moose also enjoy leaves, twigs, and buds of hardwood and softwood trees and shrubs.

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