Paul Smith’s College VIC Announces New Sound-Focused Attraction

Sep 4, 2023 | News

Paul Smiths, NY – The Paul Smith’s College’s Visitors Interpretive Center (VIC) announced the completion of a Forest Megaphone on its accessible Barnum Brook Trail. The Forest Megaphone, an oversized wooden megaphone large enough for adults to sit or laydown in, amplifies surrounding natural noise for those seeking a deeper sensory experience in the outdoors. The VIC hopes the Forest Megaphone will prompt guests to focus on their soundscape (the combined sounds present at a location) and create a new way to interact with and appreciate nature.

The installation was the final phase of a student capstone project by recent graduate Tyler Roszman and overseen by Paul Smith’s College Professor, Dr. Melanie Johnson. “It was a pleasure working with Tyler on his capstone project. Paul Smith’s College specializes in experiential learning, and it was wonderful to see a student develop, design, and complete a real-life project,” said Dr. Johnson.

The location was selected after exhaustive review and acoustic analysis throughout the VIC’s three thousand acres. The Barnum Brook site was chosen because of its accessibility, limited anthropogenic noise and high level of natural sound from the brook itself. The Forest Megaphone will also provide a unique attraction not found elsewhere in the Northeast.

Like all forestry related projects at Paul Smith’s College, The Forest Megaphone comes from sustainable forestry practices and was constructed from trees harvested on college lands.  Students completed this project from site analysis to tree harvesting, milling and construction. Built on a longstanding Adirondack tradition, forestry education at Paul Smith’s College equips students with a foundation of technical, field-based and applied education that combines theory and practice.

The plans for the Forest Megaphone were provided by the Little Traverse Conservancy of Harbor Springs Michigan, who installed a Forest Megaphone within the Boyd B. Banwell Nature Preserve. The original concept of a Forest Megaphone was created by students of the Estonia Academy of Arts, who inspired the Little Traverse Conservancy.

A nature and recreation center, the Paul Smith’s College VIC hosts numerous programs throughout the year. The Frank M. Hutchins Lodge at the VIC is open 7 days a week till October 7. Trails, including Barnum Brook, are open from dawn to dusk every day all year long.

At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. As the only four-year institution of higher education located in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York, Paul Smith’s provides real-world, hands-on learning in fields such as business and hospitality, culinary management, forestry, environmental sciences and natural resources. We are able to draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. Our community of resourceful, enterprising, supportive and adventurous individuals collectively provide experiential education, student support in the classroom and beyond, and meaningful opportunities for our alumni. We pride ourselves on research and advocacy on issues that improve our planet and the lives of the people who inhabit it. Learn more at »



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