But at what cost? The colleges are now faced with operating the centers, and it's not cheap. They have to find money that wasn't in their budgets to staff and maintain the facilities. Plus, the Adirondack Park Institute needs to raise money for educational programs, including the popular Native Species Butterfly House at Paul Smiths. They are all taking big risks for our benefit.
Now that the public's prayers have been answered, it's time for people to step up and support the colleges and the API to keep the centers open. They can't do it alone.
Find ways to volunteer. Become a member of the API. Donate money to the colleges and earmark those funds for the buildings' staff and/or maintenance. Maybe there is equipment they need that can be donated. The roof needs to be fixed at the Paul Smiths VIC; it would be nice to see some donations of labor and supplies reach the college for that important project.
This is the time for the "friends of the VICs" to rally once again and show how much they care about these places. The VICs are still open, but they need your help now more than ever.
Andy Flynn is assistant managing editor at Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org