About the VIC
Welcome to the Paul Smith’s College VIC!
Our Mission: to connect outdoor recreation, experiential education, and the arts, naturally.
The PSC VIC is dedicated to fostering connections with nature for students, local residents, and regional visitors by providing outdoor recreation opportunities, experiential education programs, and year-round art exhibitions. As much as possible, programs, activities, services, and facility management is run by Paul Smith’s College students, guided by VIC staff.
The Paul Smith’s College VIC is fully owned and operated by Paul Smith’s College. Please enjoy our new website, and let us know what you think!
The VIC Needs You!
The VIC is in search for summer staff and volunteers! Every summer we recruit a dedicated team of people who love the Adirondacks and the outdoors to help us share our mission of connecting people with nature. Our team assists visitors at our interpretive center, help maintain our trails, and provide natural history programming for the thousands of visitors each month.
Want to be a part of our team? Click on the links below and get in touch today!
History of the Paul Smith’s College VIC
Paul Smiths’ VIC was created in 1989 and followed by the creation of another VIC in Newcomb in 1990. Both an initiative from the state of New York and under the direction of the DEC, they were designed to introduce visitors to the special features of the Adirondack Park, which, at 6 million acres (24,000 km²), is the largest park in the lower 48 United States. The centers helped orient visitors to the park via educational programs, exhibits, and interpretive trails. Educational programs were available for school groups as well as the general public. In 2011, New York State sold both visitor centers to nearby colleges. The former Newcomb VIC, now the Adirondack Interpretive Center, is owned and operated by SUNY-ESF. The former Paul Smith’s VIC, now Paul Smith’s College VIC, is owned and operated by Paul Smith’s College after five years of private management. Both centers are doing their best to pursue their initial mission and to continue offering educational programs, fostering stewardship and interest in the Adirondack Park while involving students as much as possible.
Student Workers & Volunteers
Alisha Fern Crossway
PSC Student workerI am a Biology student who transferred to Paul Smith’s College after living in Colorado. I am very interested in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation, as well as ecopsychology and education. I have always been passionate about wildlife and the natural world, and love working at the VIC where I can gain more knowledge and insight about the elements of nature I care so deeply about. I also love creating small, fun, educational programs for the children (and adults!) that visit the VIC. When I’m not working or studying, I enjoy hiking, traveling, and spending time with my human and non-human family. I also enjoy experimenting with all forms of art, including photography, crochet, and illustration.
Bruce is a retired forester who share his knowledge and experience with the public in the summer through our Naturalist Walks. In the winter Bruce welcomes visitors at the front desk and helps them have a great day here at the VIC or else in the Adirondacks. Bruce enjoys photographing all the beauty nature has to offer! Thank you for all you do Bruce!
PSC Student workerMy name is Siena Allen. I’m from West Winfield, NY, a tiny town south of Utica. I am a RAELM (Recreation) and Surveying Technology major at Paul Smith’s College, and I help with trails maintenance at the VIC. I especially love the days I get to hike, snowshoe, and ski on the trails. After I graduate, I’d like to join the Peace Corps and then work for Outward Bound/NOLS.
Expert GroomerChip is our expert trail groomer. He joins us with his experience as a groomer throughout the North Country and as an avid cross-country skier. His attention to detail is appreciated by snowshoers and skiers alike. He’s out there before the crack of dawn grooming our snow in bitter cold, and blowing snow. Be sure to buy this guy a cup of coffee and greet him with a smile when you see him. Chip helps with all aspects of our Nordic skiing operation from signage and mapping, resolving trail problems, assisting with race operations, to maintaining our machines and equipment. Your trail pass helps keep Chip in action and our trails beautiful!
Mushroom expert, NaturalistSusan is our mushroom expert! Susan came to retire in the Adirondacks after a career in the US Postal Service to get closer to the mushrooms! Don’t miss a naturalist tour with Susan to discover and learn about the fungi ! Susan gives guided mushrooms walks about every ten days from the end of June though September and depending who is out there her guided walk can last up to two hours. As you can guess Sue enjoys being in the woods although her passion takes her to regional, national and international conventions!
Kendra Ormerod teaches Recreation at Paul Smith’s College and is the VIC Program Director. Kendra earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Interpretation from SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. After five years working as a recreation leader and educator at an Adirondack natural history museum, Kendra took a leadership role in the Paul Smith’s College Recreation, Adventure Education, and Leisure Management program. She is also an NAI Certified Interpretive Trainer, a NYS Licensed Guide, and a Wilderness First Responder.
Administrative AssistantKaren Potts, originally from Lambertville, NJ, relocated with her PSC graduate husband to the Adirondacks in 2005. She began her involvement at the VIC as a volunteer in 2008 in the role of assistant coordinator for our annual Great Adirondack Birding Celebration. She then worked for the Adirondack Park Institute at the VIC as Office Manager before assuming her current Administrative Assistant to the VIC Managing Director position in 2011. Her favorite thing to do at the VIC when not working is walking the trails.
Program CoordinatorEmma arrived in the Adirondacks almost 15 years ago and never left. Professionally trained in France as an Environmental Educator and a Tourism Development Agent, she also holds a Bachelor in Geography and a Master’s degree in Environmental Assessment from Concordia University in Montreal. Her professional experience as a coordinator spans both tourism development and environmental education. Emma has an interest for and practice with sustainable development and community outreach.
Trails & Education CoordinatorAndy Testo grew up south of here in West Glenville, NY. His roles at the VIC combine his skills and passions. These roles vary as much with the day as the season. You might spot him stoking the fire in the sugar shack, grooming our nordic trails or investigating birds and fungi.