ORDA announces two new board members

— World Cup bobsled, skeleton, luge and freestyle, NCAA Division I hockey, Lake Placid Loppet, eastern synchronized skating and the Empire State Games are also among the events that will take place in the region this winter.

ORDA board members seemed excited to announce their plans for the upcoming winter season, but the meeting wasn’t just about attracting visitors.

Leslie Karasin, program manager and Community Planning Project Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society, thanked ORDA for its efforts to raise awareness on Bicknell’s thrush.

Bicknell’s thrush is a migratory songbird that summers in the high elevation habitats of the northeastern U.S. and winters on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, primarily Haiti.

In 2007, a Habitat Protection Fund was established with the Adirondack Community Trust and five organizations — the Wildlife Conservation Society, Adirondack Nature Conservancy, Adirondack Council, Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Audubon New York.

WCS is hoping to secure a grant soon that will further help the fund, which supports conservation efforts of Bicknell’s thrush habitat locally and in Hispaniola.

“Whiteface is a phenomenal venue to spread this message,” Karasin said. “So many people come into contact with the mountain and the nesting habitat that’s there, it was a great opportunity to think about conservation.”

Whiteface has two informative panels about Bicknell’s thrush, and there are drop boxes where people can leave money to support conservation efforts.

The mountain represents one of the species’ largest habitat blocks.

“This is the Northeast’s only endemic songbird; you can’t find this bird nesting anywhere else in the country,” Karasin said. “If anybody’s going to care, we should care. We should take pride in the fact that our mountains provide habitat for this tiny little bird that travels thousands of miles. It really is an amazing story.”

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