DEC launches wildlife guide at Wild Center

TUPPER LAKE – The Department of Environmental Conservation included local politicians, business officials and a class of local second-graders in launching a new wildlife viewing guide Tuesday at The Wild Center.

As part of the DEC’s week-long celebration of Earth Day, Kathy Moser, the department’s assistant commissioner for natural resources, visited the natural history museum Tuesday to tout the new book, the “New York Wildlife Viewing Guide,” which highlights sites throughout the state where visitors will have a good chance of viewing wild animals in their natural habitats.

Moser explained that the guide was produced through a partnership with a national wildlife nonprofit group, and it’s part of Commissioner Joe Martens’ commitment to get more people interacting with nature. That drives people to be stewards of the environment, but it’s also good for local economies, Moser said.

Kim Reilly, spokeswoman for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, said many people show up at ROOST’s offices asking where they can go to see a moose. This guide can help mold the expectations of visitors, Reilly said.

Wild Center Executive Director Stephanie Ratcliffe noted that The Wild Center is listed as a “premier site” for wildlife viewing and are listed on page 151 of the guide.

Ratcliffe said it’s the museum’s mission to put more people in touch with nature, and face-to-face meetings with animals is often the best way to get people to do that.

“We know that that’s a winner no matter what,” Ratcliffe said.

She noted that after years of working at the museum, she and her staff are still as entranced by watching otters swim and play in the tanks at the museum as the children who visit for the first time.

“It never gets old, even for us, who see it every day at The Wild Center,” Ratcliffe said.

Sarah Bencze’s second-grade class, which Wild Center officials said often uses the museum as its classroom, was treated to some of its own “watchable wildlife” after the guide presentation. Wild Center employees Leah Valerio and Steph Hample showed and taught them about an owl, two skunks and a porcupine.

The guide is for sale at

Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or