Explore the Adirondack Mountains:
Bird Walks and Nature Walks at the VIC
|This site is no longer being updated with VIC program and event information. For current information on VIC programs and events, visit: www.paulsmiths.edu/vic.|
The 3,000-acre Paul Smiths VIC contains every habitat type found in the Adirondack Park with the exception of alpine vegetation. Included on the property is a 60-acre marsh, five ponds, several brooks, swamps, bogs, fens, and varied forest types, most notably northern boreal forest. The trail system traverses a variety of habitats with extensive boardwalks through Adirondack wetlands. The one mile Boreal Life Trail, for example,features an extensive boardwalk through a northern bog. In addition to birds that frequent the bog, this trail has an impressive display of native orchids during early July: Grass Pink, Rose Pogonia, and hundreds of White Fringed Orchids.
Birding at the VIC: The Paul Smith's College VIC is also a birdwatching haven and has attracted birders from throughout the region. Heron Marsh (accessible from the Barnum Brook Trail and the Heron Marsh Trail) is home to a variety of water birds, including American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, and Wood Duck. The Boreal Life Trail has an overlook tower on Barnum Pond, where Common Loons are sometimes seen or heard. One very convenient birding hotspot at the VIC is the VIC parking lot, where a large number of birds may be seen and heard, including a wide variety of warblers. Other sightings at the Paul Smiths VIC include Gray Jay, Brown Thrasher, and Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker.
The Paul Smith's College VIC has continued the tradition of providing guided bird walks and workshops throughout the year. During the spring and summer months, a variety of bird walks are held, including owl prowls and Teddy Roosevelt Bird Walks. During the winter months, the VIC has hosted snowshoe bird walks. For lists of birds and plants seen on the VIC trails during these walks, see the trip reports below.
The VIC also hosts the annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration (GABC), featuring birding trips, lectures, and workshops. The 2015 Great Adirondack Birding Celebration (GABC) was held on 5-7 June 2015 and featured field trips to boreal birding hot spots, informative lectures, workshops, a raffle, and more.
Nature Walks and Paddles
The VIC has continued the tradition of providing naturalist-led interpretive walks and canoe trips focused on various themes.
- Naturalist-led Interpretive Walks: The VIC offers a variety of two- and three-hour nature walks and workshops during the spring, summer, and fall. Each focuses on a different theme, such as trees, wildflowers, and wetlands. During the winter, the VIC offers Interpretive Snowshoe Walks, to explore winter wildlife signs and tracks, as well as workshops on tracking.
- Afternoon Nature Walks: The VIC offers visitors one-hour, naturalist-guided nature walks, exploring different aspects of nature in the Adirondack mountains. During the summer of 2016, the walks are offered at 1:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday, starting 18 June and continuing through 28 August. Participants meet in the VIC building at 1:00 PM for an hour-long walk exploring different aspects of nature in the Adirondack Park.
- Mushroom Walks: Throughout the summer and early fall, mycologist Susan Hopkins leads a series of walks out in woods as she identifies different mushrooms and teaches participants about their uses. Hopkins, who lives in the Saranac Lake area, is a member of several professional organizations including the North American Mycological Association and the Northeastern Mycological Federation. She has been the featured guest speaker at numerous seminars, lectures and workshops throughout the country.
- Wild Edible Walks: Throughout the spring and summer, wild edibles instructor Pat Banker, from Cornell Cooperative Extension Franklin County leads a series of walks to teach participants how to identify wild edibles, while exploring the history, culinary uses, and historic medicinal uses of many of the plant species found in the Adirondacks. The walks take place most Wednesdays. Pat Banker is a certified Master Food Preservation instructor and Living History Instructor. She has taught at symposiums, museums, schools, camps, and workshops throughout New York State.
- Interpretive Canoe Paddles: These two-hour trips provide a chance to explore the varied aquatic habitats at the VIC. Participants view Heron Marsh and Barnum Brook and paddle through a bog to Barnum Pond. The price is $20 per adult; Friends of the VIC: $15 per adult. Inquire about our family discounts. Trips are scheduled Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10:00 AM, beginning 18 June and continuing through 28 August 2016. We will offer trips at other times by prior arrangement. Preregistration is appreciated, but not required. If you wish to preregister, call the VIC at (518) 327-6241.
The Paul Smith's College VIC hosts a series of bird walks led by Adirondack guides John and Pat Thaxton. Participants are challenged to see and hear many of the bird species identified by a young Teddy Roosevelt in his research while visiting Paul Smiths in the 1870s. Birders meet at the VIC at 9:00 AM. During the winter, the VIC offered a series of Snowshoe Bird Walks. Detailed trip reports for the last three years are provided below: