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The Land Conservancy joins community partners to celebrate Niagara Gorge at GorgeFest


Tue, Jun 14th 2022 12:25 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 unique river.

A press release stated, “The internationally renowned Niagara Gorge is one of the most iconic places in Western New York. GorgeFest will celebrate the Niagara Gorge’s unique ecosystem and incredible biodiversity with activities that include geology hikes, native plant and animal meet and greets, fossil displays, hands-on activities for the whole family, and much more.”

The rain-or-shine event will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Whirlpool State Park (Niagara Scenic Parkway). It is free and open to the public, but organizers encourage attendees to register in advance at WNYLC.org. For the full schedule of activities, visit the website.

There will be opportunities for kids of all ages to learn about the Niagara Gorge. The Land Conservancy will give an overview of its multiyear 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; State Parks and one of its top 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.

Activities Include:

√ Hands-on activities for kids of all ages;

√ A free Penn Dixie voucher and a real fossil to take home for children who visit the Penn Dixie table;

√ A special insect release presented by the Buffalo Museum of Science;

√ A gorge walk with professors and students from Niagara University;

√ Weather-permitting, a raptor release by WNY Raptor and Wildlife Care Center Inc.;

√ WNY PRISM, discussing invasive species from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.;

√ The Land Conservancy, discussing gorge restoration from 1-1:45 p.m.; and

√ Niagara University, discussing gorge geology and amphibian life from 2-2:45 p.m.

There will also be three guided walks during the event. No advance registration is necessary to join these walks.

Following the event, from 3-4:30, 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 include David Seide; “Secret Places of Western New York: 25 Scenic Trails” book co-authors Jennifer Hillman and Bill McKeever.

All applicable Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coronavirus masking and social distancing guidelines will be in effect.

This event is made possible, in part, thanks to a grant from New York State Sea Grant.

The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for current and future generations. The Land Conservancy envisions a future in which open spaces, working lands, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The Land Conservancy is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and is one of the 1,000-plus land trusts nationwide, including 87 in New York state. Land trusts have protected over 56 million acres of land. To learn more about the Land Conservancy, visit wnylc.org.

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