“McGill students were on site 21 days to conduct on-site forest ecology projects and learn about wildlife research techniques — it was experiential as well as research-based,” Hai said.
Lodging for visiting students is in Environmental Science and Forestry’s dormitories a half mile across Graveyard Bay, on Rich Lake.
“You could literally swim to work if you were motivated,” Hai said.
“One of the most powerful tools is that we can custom design programs to meet course needs, everything from mammal trapping techniques to forest ecology, wildlife ecology, to amphibians in vernal pools, from beaver research to wildlife management and bats.”
The centers are both succeeding at finding ways to interpret the park, whether by science, art or experience, according to Adirondack Park Institute board member Liz Thorndike, a former APA commissioner.
The institute supports public programs at the interpretive centers. And in early August, they held a gala fundraising event at Paul Smith’s College, presenting Adirondack Environmental Education Leadership awards to College of Environmental Science President Cornelius B. Murphy Jr. and Paul Smith’s College President Dr. John Mills.
“Their leadership ensures continuation of programs and public access to hundreds of acres of Adirondack forest, waters, wildlife and vistas and miles of trails for children, adults — residents and visitors alike — and thus sustains an economic asset for reaching those communities,” Thorndike said.
The goal was to continue to build on the solid foundation put in place under APA management for the past two-plus decades.
“Our new beginnings are building on some really broad shoulders,” she said. “And this is a wonderful, seamless transition to opportunity afforded under the colleges’ leadership.”
New beginnings at Newcomb’s center were celebrated this spring with a first-ever Rubber Loon Race, a wildlife version of the rubber-ducky races often held by fire departments as fundraisers. It is just one way to mix fun and science, Hai said.