“And we give them a little natural history along the way,” she added.
It also goes along with one of the things she loves about her job — “the chance to be outdoors sometime during the day.
“That’s definitely appealing for anyone in my field,” Ziemann said. “And this is a great way for naturalists to share our appreciation for the outdoors and for the Adirondacks.”
An easy walk through the woods will lead canoeing groups to the shores of the Raquette River; there, near an oxbow in the river, the vessels are waiting. On the day I visited the Wild Center, the river was unusually high due to the recent rainfall. However, the current was mild, and the skies above were clear and sunny. It was an ideal day for the distinctively Adirondack style of boating.
The canoe slid smoothly through the sun-dappled waters. The bright yellow blossoms of water lilies dotted the scene.
Nearby, a red-winged blackbird was calling. It flew off, passing quite close to the canoe, so that the band of yellow near the scarlet of its wings was clearly visible.
Returning from the canoe trip, I met David Gross, the curator, who is in charge of caring for the Wild Center’s 500-plus creatures of 60 different species.
The center boasts an eco-friendly design, which has earned it a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Award, Silver Distinction, Gross said. One of the buildings features a sloped roof where one side is covered with solar panels and the other side is topped with soil and plants. The soil serves as an insulator, helping to keep the area warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Both sides of the roof are “demonstrations,” as Gross put it, explaining his hope that some of the center’s methods will be adopted elsewhere.