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 and supported by our volunteers.
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!
History of the Paul Smith’s College VIC
The original Paul Smith’s VIC opened in 1989 and was designed and managed by the State of New York and under the direction of the Adirondack Park Agency. A sister site was opened in 1990 in Newcomb, NY. These two facilities were designed to introduce visitors to the special features of the Adirondack Park, which, at 6 million acres (24,000 km²), is the largest state 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
Naturalist VolunteerSusan 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 through September and depending on what species are 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!
Bruce is a retired forester who shares 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 elsewhere in the Adirondacks. Bruce enjoys photographing all the beauty nature has to offer! Thank you for all you do Bruce!
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.
General ManagerAndy 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.
Martha Van Der Voort
Program CoordinatorA Pittsburgh native, Martha was lucky enough to spend time in the Adirondacks every other summer when visiting family at Big Moose Lake. Her career has taken her from fieldwork with National Audubon and the Smithsonian Institution to international conservation work with the World Wildlife Fund. As fun and interesting as that was, she is extremely happy to be living in the Adirondacks and working at the VIC. Martha joined the VIC staff in December 2017, as Program Coordinator—a great fit for her passion for sharing scientific knowledge through education and outreach
Our Lead Naturalist, Thompson, started out as an intern at the VIC last summer. Having recently graduated with a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Paul Smith’s college, she is excited to spend another summer creating interpretive educational programs and interacting with visitors to our facility. In her free time, Thompson enjoys hiking, camping, identifying wildflowers, and spending quality time with her cat, Lady.
Butterfly House Coordinator
Danielle Urich, an intern last summer, is back as the Butterfly House Coordinator for the 2018 season! She just graduated from Paul Smith’s College this spring with a B.S. in Environmental Science. In addition to loving insects, she is also extremely interested in wild edibles, soils, trees, and aquatic systems. Danielle knows how to juggle, absolutely loves to read/talk about books, and enjoys everything outdoors.
Summer Naturalist Mary Greagan is a recent graduate from SUNY Cobleskill with a degree in Wildlife Management. Following the summer, Mary will be starting her masters at UAlbany in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Policy. Some of her favorite subjects include ornithology, herpetology, conservation, invasive species, and public involvement in wildlife. Her hobbies include archery, cross country, timber sports, hiking, drawing/designing, and wildlife photography.
This is Bryan. He’s a licensed guide for hiking, camping and fishing. He’s a student at Paul Smith’s College. He loves natural history and being outside and hiking and seeing what wildlife there is to see. In his downtime, he fly fishes and plays the guitar.
Josh is a Summer Naturalist here at the VIC. He enjoys spending his time paddling, hiking, and going on roadtrips! In the winter you will find him CC Skiing here at the VIC. Originally from Michigan, Josh moved to the Adirondacks to study Outdoor Recreation at Paul Smiths College. After a day on the water or on trail, Josh likes to grab a bite to eat at Noris Village Market in Saranac Lake.
Autumn is the Kitchen Supervisor here at the VIC. She recently graduated from Paul Smith’s with a bachelor degree in Baking Arts and Service Management. In her free time, Autumn enjoys being outdoors or spending quality time with her cat, Oliver.