Habitat Awareness Day returns to Wilmington

The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center in Wilmington will host the seventh annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day on Sunday.

The day will feature speakers ranging from Sue Morse of Keeping Track to Zoe Smith of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Saranac Lake, who will talk about private lands and exurban development.

Morse, who is the keynote speaker, will present a slideshow of her wildlife photography and speak on native wildlife and their habitats, discernible signs of wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation.

The rehabilitation center is home to a host of animals – from raptors to wolves. The day will present an opportunity to learn about these animals and others.

“What’s happening to our species and why? And that’s what habitat awareness day is all about,” said wildlife rehabilitator Wendy Hall, who owns the center with her husband Steve.

Presenters will answer questions such as why some of wildlife is overabundant, while others are struggling to survive.

Topics such as the return of mountain lions and wolves will be explored, along with how those changes in population would potentially affect people.

There will be live presentations with wolves, bobcats, fox, bald eagles and others. In addition, a demonstration on banding and releasing rehabbed birds of prey will take place.

“These animals are our canaries in the coal mines,” Hall said. “That’s what they are. They are our indicator species. They are telling us what is going on. So many people have phoned me that are not hearing wood thrushes or many other songbirds. It’s of great concern and that’s what we’re about. We’re about habitat awareness. What is happening with our environment. Why are we not hearing so many thrushes? All you need to do is check the Audubon or the Cornell ornithology association site to see how many birds are now becoming of special concern or near extinction. That’s what it’s about.”

The event starts at 10 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m.

Other speakers include Curt Stager, who will talk about climate change and hibernators; Adirondack Wild representatives, who will talk about the Park’s wildlands and wildlife; Laurie Lafond, who will talk about critical grasslands habitat; Russ Crispell, who will talk about Alaskan wildlife; Michael McGuire, who will talk about wolf issues; Steve and Alex Hall, who will talk about bears and moose; Jon Way, who will talk about coydogs; and Mark Manske of Adirondack Raptors, who will talk about banding and releasing birds.

Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehabilitation Center is located at 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington. For more information, contact Wendy at 946-2428 or visit