So often, we hear about all of the “great saves” by The Land Conservancy. I’m referring to all of the forest lands that the organization has saved. Being so busy safeguarding our region from those who would rather deforest lands for private interests, it’s remarkable that the organization has any time on its hands to organize some fun. But that’s exactly what’s in store with the upcoming GorgeFest at Whirlpool State Park (Niagara Scenic Parkway, Niagara Falls, NY 14303).
On Saturday, June 18, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, the Land Conservancy is teaming up with New York State Parks, the Niagara River Greenway, the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, the Buffalo Museum of Science, and more than a dozen local environmental organizations for a one-day celebration of the Niagara Gorge and its amazing river.
Keep in mind that people travel to Niagara Falls from all corners of the world, to witness the majestic lands, which many of us take for granted. GorgeFest is an event that will open up all of our eyes to the “unique ecosystem and incredible biodiversity” that the Niagara Gorge offers. Visitors to the event will get a chance to partake in:
- Geology hikes
- A free Penn Dixie voucher and a real fossil to take home for children who visit the Penn Dixie table
- Special insect release presented by the Buffalo Museum of Science
- A gorge walk with professors and students from Niagara University
- Native plant and animal meet and greets
- Fossil displays
- Hands-on activities for the whole family
- Weather permitting, a raptor release by WNY Raptor and Wildlife Care Center, Inc.
- Three guided walks during the event. No advance registration is necessary to join these walks.
This event is free and open to the public Attendees are encourage to register in advance at WNYLC.org. The event will take place rain or shine except in the event of severe inclement weather.
For the full schedule of activities, please visit this website. The diverse schedule includes:
- There will be opportunities for kids of all ages to learn about the Niagara Gorge.
- The Land Conservancy will give an overview of their multi-year restoration project in the Gorge, including a special tour
- Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper will discuss the Niagara River watershed and the importance of the river’s restoration, using hands-on activities for the whole family
- NYS Parks and one of their very talented naturalists will open up the Natural History Room and explore the cultural and natural history of the Niagara Gorge, using artifacts and hands-on displays
- The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center will teach about the area’s rich history and how it connects to the Niagara Gorge’s past, present, and future
|WNY PRISM||11:30-12:15||Invasive species|
|The Land Conservancy||1:00-1:45||Gorge restoration|
|Niagara University||2:00-2:45||Gorge geology, amphibian life|
Following the event, from 3:00 to 4:30, the Land Conservancy’s Kyle Semmel will join Bill McKeever and Jennifer Hillman at the Stella Niagara Preserve in Lewiston, one of the “secret places” in the newly released update of the book Secret Places of Western New York: 25 Scenic trails.
Participating organizations and individuals include: Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, Castellani Art Museum, New York State Parks, the Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara University, the Niagara River Greenway, Penn Dixie Fossil Park and Nature Reserve, the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, the Western New York Land Conservancy, WNY PRISM, and WNY Raptor and Wildlife Care, Inc. Participating individuals: David Seide; Secret Places of Western New York: 25 Scenic Trails – Book co-authors Jennifer Hillman and Bill McKeever.
All are welcome to attend, but attendees are encouraged to register in advance at WNYLC.org. You may also register in person on the day of the event. During the event, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, organizers encourage visitors to follow CDC masking and social distancing guidelines.
This event is made possible, in part, thanks to a grant from New York State Sea Grant.