Leading ornithologist confirmed as keynote speaker

PAUL SMITHS One of America's leading ornithologists will be the keynote speaker for the 5th Annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration, to be held June 1-3 at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul Smiths. Dr. Frank Gill, author of the textbook "Ornithology," will give his address to birders at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 in the Paul Smiths VIC theater. He is a well-known advocate for citizen science and getting children involved in birding activities. "We are extremely excited to have one of the biggest names in birding come to the Paul Smiths VIC for this year's Great Adirondack Birding Celebration," said VIC naturalist and event organizer Lydia Wright. "He literally wrote the book on ornithology." Publisher W.H. Freeman & Company released the third edition of "Ornithology" earlier this year and calls it the "classic textbook for the undergraduate ornithology course, long admired for its biological/evolutionary approach to bird science." Gill lives in Rushland, Pa. He is the retired chief scientist of the National Audubon Society, a current member of the National Audubon Society's Board of Directors, the former vice president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, a current member of the Academy of Natural Sciences Board of Trustees, a former ornithology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, a past president of the American Ornithologists' Union, and a member of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC). The Academy of Natural Sciences was established in 1812 as the major natural history museum in Philadelphia. "Birders of all ages are encouraged to learn about Adirondack birds at the VIC," Wright said. "That's why Dr. Gill is a perfect fit for the Birding Celebration, where we offer programs for the most serious of birders and hope that children and families feel comfortable in our birding workshops and field trips. Through firsthand experiences in the great outdoors, we're here to share the Adirondack Park's wonders with everyone." Gill told the DVOC that "the greatest contribution to birds that ornithological societies can make is to encourage, mentor and connect young birders/ornithologists. Take them birding, connect them to ornithologists." The Great Adirondack Birding Celebration starts at 2 p.m. Friday, June 1 with a Boreal Ecology Hike, led by John Brown, at the Paul Smiths VIC. The welcome reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and at 7 p.m. author\Naturalist Ed Kanze, of Bloomingdale, will give a presentation on "The World of John Burroughs." At 8:30 p.m., VIC naturalists will lead an Owl Prowl on the VIC trail system. On Saturday, June 2, birding field trips will be held from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. Exhibitors and vendors will set up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Afternoon programs from 1 to 4 p.m. will include a sketching and journaling workshop with artist\Naturalist Sheri Amsel and an "Adirondack Birds by Habitat" presentation by nature photographer Jeff Nadler. The Teddy Roosevelt Birding Challenge will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. And the keynote address begins at 8 p.m. in the VIC theater. On Sunday, June 3, birding field trips will be held from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. The Great Adirondack Birding Celebration is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Adirondack Park Agency, Adirondack Park Institute, and High Peaks Audubon Society. The workshops are made possible, in part, with a Developing Community Arts Grant with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program administered locally by the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks. For more information about the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration, log on to the centers' Web site at www.adkvic.org or call 327-3000.

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