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Maple sweetness at The Wild Center and Paul Smith’s College VIC

February 5th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Events scheduled for February and March

PAUL SMITHS, NY – The recent cold temperatures bode well for a good maple syrup season – and in February and March, The Wild Center and the Paul Smith’s College VIC will host several events showcasing how to make (and enjoy!) this quintessential springtime treat.

Over four weekends, watch how the sweet sap of trees becomes the highlight of a pancake breakfast and learn other ways to use this natural sweetener at a series of demonstrations, activities and events in both Tupper Lake and Paul Smiths.

Northern New York Maple Project

The Paul Smith’s College VIC will host two workshops for people interested in establishing their own backyard maple sugaring operations.

  • Toss out your old-fashioned maple taps – on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1-4 p.m., learn how to set up a modern tubing system with Mike Farrell, director of the Cornell Maple Program. A brief classroom session will be followed by hands-on work at the VIC’s sugar maple demonstration site. Topics will include preparing the sugar bush prior to tubing installation; site considerations; line placement and installation; tapping trees; sanitation; and sap collection. Please dress for the weather and be prepared for a 2-3 mile snowshoe walk on groomed trails and uneven terrain. Bring your own snowshoes or borrow a pair from the VIC.
  • On Saturday, March 23, from 1-4 p.m., learn about the art of maple sugaring with special emphasis on backyard tapping, collection and boiling. At this event, part of New York State’s Maple Weekend, Paul Smith’s College students will lead workshops and provide tours of the sugarhouse and the maple demonstration site. Includes program and tastings for the whole family.

The Wild Center will also host a pair of workshops on Sunday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, March 16, to launch Tupper Lake’s first-ever community maple sugaring project. The project, one of the first in the state, invites area residents to tap maple trees in their own yards. The Wild Center will collect the sap daily once it starts to flow, ultimately boiling it down into maple syrup.

To participate, attend the free “Art of Maple Sugaring Breakfast and Workshop.” Registered participants will get a pancake breakfast, an introduction to the natural history of maple trees, expert instruction and tapping tools. Additional supplies will be available for purchase from The Wild Supply Company. Advanced registration is required; attendance at either workshop is necessary to participate in the project. Families are encouraged to attend.

After the workshops end, it’s all maple all day at The Wild Center, with maple stories, crafts and tastings on Feb. 24 and March 16. The Adirondack Museum will share local maple sugaring stories through historical objects and pictures from the past. Get insight into the sugaring process from experienced naturalists at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. as they discuss tapping trees, processing sap, and – the sweet part – maple sugar. Take a closer look at an operational evaporator, catch some running sap and drill your own tap as we explore the local maple-sugaring story.

All events are free and open to the public. Registration is required. Visit Maple Weekends to register for events at The Wild Center or call (518) 359-7800. For events at the Paul Smith’s College VIC, contact Brian McDonnell at (518) 327-6241 or For more information, please visit us online at

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Upcoming events at the Paul Smith’s College VIC

December 10th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Sunday, Dec. 9 – Workshop Sunday: Packbasket Weaving

Join Books and Baskets owner Tracy Santagate from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and learn to weave a 13-inch potbellied packbasket with a hand carved handle, double-lashed rim and skids. All materials and tools are supplied including cotton straps. Please pack a lunch. Ages 17 and up. $75/person.

Sunday, Dec. 9 – Christmas Greenery Walk

Take a walk from 10-11 a.m. with VIC naturalist Brian McAllister and learn which winter greens to collect for wreath making, where to find them, how to collect them and what to leave untouched in the woods. Take this class before the wreath-making class or as a stand alone class. Please dress for the weather. $5/person.

Sunday, Dec. 9 – Make Your Own Christmas Wreath

Join Emily Stringham from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and learn to make a standard-size Christmas wreath with fresh winter greenery and a wire frame. Greenery and frame provided. Tools supplied. Please bring gloves, ribbons and ornaments such as pinecones. Pack a lunch, as well. Ages 17 and up. $40/person.

Sunday, Dec. 9 – German Birch Bark Star

Join Paul Smith’s College student Sean Frantz from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and learn to weave German stars out of birch bark. We’ll start by making two or three stars out of ribbon and advance to birch bark, which can be more challenging to work with. Ages 17 and up. $20/person.

Thursday, Dec. 13 – Volunteer Potluck

Paul Smith’s College VIC volunteers will get together with VIC staff from 5:30-6:45 p.m. for a preview of upcoming events and activities. Prospective volunteers are welcome. Please bring a dish to pass and a place setting. If you’re interested in volunteering at the VIC, contact Volunteer Training Coordinator Tracy Santagate at

Thursday, Dec. 13 – Armchair Traveler Lecture Series

Join Mary Brown from 7-8:30 p.m. for her lecture, “Beyond the Penguins: Behind the Scenes in Antarctica.” Brown worked in Antarctica during the 2008-09 summer seasons and participated in the logistical and survival work that makes scientific work there possible. Come and learn all about her experience. $5/person.

Saturday, Dec. 15 – Project Feeder-Watch: Birds in Winter

Join VIC Naturalist and birder Brian McAllister from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and learn about winter bird species. How do birds survive the winter months? What’s the proper placement for your bird feeders? How do you collect raw data for long-term research projects? You’ll learn all this and more. Please bring binoculars and a field guide and dress for the weather. $15/person.

Saturday, Dec. 15 – Field Sketch Write Now!

Tracy Santagate will lead this VIC Partner Program from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The Field Sketch Write Now! program teaches parents, grandparents and kids basic drawing and journaling skills. Kids and adults get separate instructors. Both learn the same nature journaling techniques and join together at the end to compare their new skills. $20 includes admission for an adult and two children.

Thursday, Dec. 27 – Leaper-Hoppers, Bounders and Waddlers

Make sense of winter tracks with VIC naturalist Brian McAllister. Learn to identify winter animals and to understand animal gaits, behaviors and preferred habitats. Please dress to go outside. 10 a.m.-noon. Ages 8-12. $10/person.

Thursday, Dec. 27 – Photo Safari

Join VIC educator Tracy Santagate from 1-2:30 p.m. and explore points of focus, zooming, background, shot framing, camera grip and other tips on photographing nature. Students need their own simple digital camera for this class. Please dress for the weather. Ages 8-12. $10/person.

Visit Paul Smith’s College VIC on Facebook for more info.

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Upcoming events at the Paul Smith’s College VIC

February 14th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Thursdays, Feb. 16, 23; March 1, 8, 15 and 22 – Little Bobcats
VIC staff will lead a series of programs for 3-to-5 year-olds and their parents. Activities will focus on the local flora and fauna around the VIC. Sessions meet Thursdays from 10 a.m.–noon. $2/session for members of the Adirondack Park Institute; $5/session for those who have not yet joined. Parents are asked to participate with their children. Please register by calling Sarah Keyes at (518) 327-6241 or emailing

Thursday, Feb. 16 – Armchair Traveler Lecture Series
Join us at 7 p.m. for a presentation by John Omohundro on “The Granola Myth – Hikers’ contribution to the Adirondack Economy.” Learn something new from an expert or expand your knowledge about distant places from someone who’s been there. Free to season-pass holders and students; $5/lecture for all others. Please call the Paul Smith’s College VIC at (518) 327-6241 for more information.

Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19 – Snow Sports Weekend
Go outside and play this winter! Events start at 10 a.m. Saturday with the “Choose Your Own Trail” adventure trek around the VIC trails and up Jenkins Mountain. Teams of one to four people will have four hours to collect points by visiting check points on various natural features around the VIC property. There will be both competitive and touring categories. Entry fee: $25 per team. Sunday will feature a 1-kilometer “Kids Snowshoe Stampede” at 10 a.m. followed by a 10-kilometer classic ski race at 11 a.m. Prizes will be awarded.

Saturday, Feb. 18 – Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides
Take a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh through the scenic forests near the Paul Smith’s College VIC. Join Bob Brhel and the college’s team of draft horses from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Suggested donation of $10 per person or $20 per family.

Sunday, Feb. 19 and Sunday, March 4 – Afternoon Ski Jam
Grab your skis, poles and guitar and head to the VIC from 1-5 p.m. for a fun afternoon of skiing and music. Join local musicians for a jam session anytime.

Tuesday, Feb. 21 – No-School Day Programs
VIC staff will lead a series of nature programs for 6-to-10 year olds during the President’s Day break. The theme for the day’s programming will be “Junior Adirondack Stewards.” We will find out why the Adirondacks are such a special place to live. Bring warm clothes and a lunch; snowshoes and snacks are provided. Sessions meet from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. $20 for Adirondack Park Institute members; $25 for those who have not yet joined. Please register at least a week in advance by calling Sarah Keyes at (518) 327-6241 or emailing Limited spots available.

Tuesday, Feb. 21, New Moon Art Opening
Celebrate the new moon at the VIC with our monthly art opening and star gazing. From 5-7 p.m., you can step out and be the first to meet our featured Adirondack artists Ginger Dora and Georgette Bacon at the VIC. The new moon will mark the opening night for each new artist, whose work will remain on display for the month. And, from 7-9 p.m., you can come stargaze at the VIC during the new moon. We have the perfect dark sky, and, depending on the weather, we will have inside and outside stargazing. Free for season-pass holders. $5 for all others.

Wednesdays, Feb. 22 and 29 – TR (Teddy Roosevelt) Winter Series Snowshoe Bird Walks
Join Brian McAllister of the Adirondack Birding Center from 9-11 a.m. for a morning snowshoe bird walk in search of the hardy birds that call the Adirondacks their winter home. The walk will end with a cup of hot cocoa in the VIC. $10/session for VIC season-pass holders, $20/session for all others (includes a day pass). Snowshoe rentals available for additional fee. Please call (518) 327-6241 to register.

Saturdays, Feb. 25, and March 3 and 17 – Winter Exploration Weekends
Come to the VIC to learn about the wonders of winter. All walks start at 10 a.m. and meet in the building. Topics include tracking, winter survival and winter birding. $20/session for season-pass holders; $25/session for non-pass holders. Snowshoe rentals available.

Sunday, Feb. 26, and Sunday, March 18 – Coffee House
The Paul Smith’s College VIC will hold an open mic night with local artists at 6 p.m. Free for season-pass holders, $5 for public.

Thursday, March 1– Volunteer Potluck
Paul Smith’s College VIC volunteers will get together with VIC staff at 5 p.m. for a preview of upcoming events and activities. Prospective volunteers are welcome. For more information, call the VIC at (518) 327-6241 or email

Thursday, March 1- Armchair Traveler Lecture Series
Join us at 7 p.m. for a presentation by Frank Lescinsky on his experience as a VIP guest on a NASA Mars Exploration Launch. Learn something new from an expert or expand your knowledge about distant places from someone who’s been there. Free to season-pass holders and students; $5/lecture for all others. Please call the Paul Smith’s College VIC at (518) 327-6241 for more information.

Friday, March 2 – Bunny-Boot Ball VIC Fundraiser
Kick up your feet for a thumping good time. We’ll be skiing, dancing and generally having a good time from 6-11 p.m. at our first major VIC fundraiser. Come show your support for the progress we have made and contribute to the success of the transition of the Paul Smith’s College VIC. Ski by head lamp, dance to the “Roadside Mystics,” enjoy delicious snacks prepared by Paul Smith’s culinary students, warm yourself by the bon fire and take a chance on the silent auction. Wear your big winter bunny boots, but bring your dancing shoes, and join us for a night of music and inside and outside fun. $15 per person, $25 per couple.

Sunday, March 4 – Snow Patrol Track Workshop
The Paul Smith’s College VIC invites you to learn about tracks. A VIC naturalist will teach you to identify tracks and use those skills out on the trail. Sessions start at 1 p.m. Participants will return to the building to have hot chocolate and make tracks to take home. Please dress warm. Free for children accompanied by adults. $10/session for VIC adult season-pass holders, $20/session for all others (includes a day pass). Snowshoe rentals available for additional fee. Please call the VIC at (518) 327-6241 to register.

Thursday, March 8 – Armchair Traveler Lecture Series
Join us at 7 p.m. for a presentation by Peter Plumley on “Paleomagnetism and the Adirondacks.” Learn something new from an expert or expand your knowledge about distant places from someone who’s been there. Free to season-pass holders and students; $5/lecture for all others. Please call the Paul Smith’s College VIC at (518) 327-6241 for more information.

More Info: Paul Smith’s College VIC

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Northern Adirondacks – Early Fall Foliage

August 27th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Adirondack Life

No shortage of inquiries about Adirondack Fall foliage lately. Here’s another list like last year’s, this time with inexpensive and family-friendly places worth visiting in the Northern Adirondacks.

Last night hit 34 degrees in Saranac Lake and we still have days to go in August. Most people aren’t into “foliage-mode” until October, but here in the Northern Adirondacks things happen early. This means we get leaf change as early as mid-September. For sure at the higher elevations.

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Early Fall Foliage Locations in the Adirondacks

August 7th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Destination Marketing

I got a request for some locations for a fall foliage video shoot which I may as well blog.  Here’s my 5-minute response:

On or around 9/15 is still pretty early, but there will be some trees beginning to change.  If you’re looking to “Kick-off” Foliage Season by finding the First Signs of Autumn in the Adirondacks, then I think it is completely doable.

Best chance of leaf change will be in our Northern area and higher elevations.  I asked about format because I was not aware of Xxxxxx doing any broadcast stuff, but video content I totally understand.  We can do anything from a simple shot at a conveniently accessible location to paddling or hiking a High Peak.  I’ve compiled a short list of possible locations which might suit – most around the Lake Placid area.  This shouldn’t exclude any place along the way or in between.  If you/they have any specific places or type of place, please let me know.

#1 ADK Park Visitor Interpretive Center – Paul Smiths

Located just north of Paul Smiths College, the VIC features a staffed Nature Center, hiking trails, and a good sampling of Adirondack scenery.  Easy access.  We could get a naturalist to offer information and “color”.  There are Adirondack Lean-to’s on site.
Paul Smith's College VIC

#2 Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway

Pending weather conditions, a drive from Wilmington up to the top of Whiteface Mt via the Memorial Highway will likely feature the full range of possible foliage conditions. Gondola rides on the other side at the ski area are available Fri -Sun only, but if they arrive early it would be an option. Any of the other Olympic facilities are also possible with prior notice.
Whiteface Mt – Memorial Highway

#3 High Falls Gorge – Wilmington Notch

Located between Wilmington (Whiteface Mt) and Lake Placid, High Falls Gorge and Wilmington Notch offers some dramatic landscape. There are both waterfalls and flat water along the Ausable River with cliffs on both sides.
High Falls Gorge

#4 Wild Center

The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, located in Tupper Lake. This important new attraction may also serve as a good backdrop. In addition to the museum facility, there is a trail system and river environment easily accessible.
Wild Center

#5 Adirondack Loj – Heart Lake Trailhead

The Adirondack Loj, operated by the Adirondack Mountain Club, is located just outside of Lake Placid.  Important both historically and as one of the principal trailheads into the High Peaks.  The location is has both water (Heart Lake) and a short hike with views (Mt. Jo).  There is also the High Peaks Information Center with ADK Club and DEC staff.
Adirondack Loj

#6 Adirondack Museum

Located in Blue Mountain Lake, the Adirondack Museum is another important anchor attraction.  During that time they continue to have several special exhibits and they are just getting ready for the Adirondack Antiques Weekend.  This location is the furthest south, so color will be just beginning at the upper elevations.
Adirondack Museum

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June is Birding Month in the Adirondacks

February 7th, 2007 · 2 Comments · News

Three festivals, new museum exhibit and support from Audubon New York

ADIRONDACK REGION, N.Y., February 7, 2007 – The Adirondack Park of New York state is a bird watching haven. All birds that migrate to the Adirondack region for the summer arrive by June. Over 100 bird species can be found nesting in the region, including the spruce grouse and Bicknell’s thrush. Birding enthusiasts have also been flocking to the area in increased numbers each spring, growing their life lists. This year the area boasts support from Audubon New York, more festivals and the grand opening of a new birding exhibit at the Wild Center/Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks. Many organizations have been putting together weekends with guided outings, workshops and lectures to help facilitate viewing and education.

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