New support organization takes flight

TUPPER LAKE - A newly formed group of young Adirondack enthusiasts are hoping to bring together a new generation of supporters for the educational and environmental work of The Wild Center.

Wings, a group of 21-to-45-year-olds living both in and outside the Adirondacks, are planning a series of gatherings where they can network, raise funds for programs at The Wild Center, and raise awareness of the area's natural history.

Ed Forbes and David Bickford, co-chairs of the steering committee for Wings, were among a handful of philanthropic young professionals who assembled last fall to discuss ways they might support the museum's educational mission.

"I just love The Wild Center and was looking for a way to contribute," said Bickford, who lives and works in New York City. His family, going back five generations, have been visiting Upper Saranac Lake since the 1940s.

The group decided to model their initiative after the Junior Council, a network of 20- and 30-somethings who organize black-tie events to raise funds for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The idea caught on with many Tri-Lakes area residents as well, and the steering committee soon grew to a total of nine. Staff at The Wild Center agreed to help formally establish the organization and give it a name.

"'Wings' seemed to make sense because of the wildlife in the area and the fact that we're an extension of the museum," Bickford said.

Forbes, a former editor of the Lake Placid News, now lives in Bronxville, N.Y. with his wife, Emily. Though he grew up in New Jersey and she in Buffalo, Forbes said they both consider the Adirondacks their home.

"Wings, to us, offers a range of opportunities," said Forbes. "We can connect inside the Blue Line and out with other expatriates who share our love for the region, we can learn more about the Adirondacks' natural wonders and we can support the critical mission of The Wild Center."

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