The nature walk with Rich was truly a wonderful experience. We visit the area every summer from NYC but our recent experience with Wild Neighbors Nature Connection completely enhanced our experience of the Adirondacks! In just a short time on a summer afternoon we learned about so many different species of wildlife, trees and plants in the Adirondacks. Rich is an amazing resource of fascinating information and has a warm, friendly style that is welcoming and fun. If you are in the Saranac Lake region do yourself a favor and sign up for one of Rich's great nature activities!
-Gabriel and Miah, New York, NY
My wife and I are from Rhode Island and we participated in the recent the 2022 Adirondack Boreal Birding Festival. As it turns out, Rich was the guide on two of our treks. His deep and broad knowledge of the boreal environment was matched only by his superlative birding skills. He has a great ear for birds as well as a great eye for flora and other fauna. And, he possesses a professional, calm and supportive demeanor for amateurs like ourselves. We recommend Rich without question for your birding/arboreal outing.
-B.J. Whitehouse and Christine Ariel, Jamestown, R.I.
We had a wonderfully informative tour in the Adirondacks with Rich. He is great with kids and helped our daughters appreciate the beauty of nature through attention to details we would have overlooked on our own. We appreciate his obvious love and enthusiasm for the natural world. Highly recommend!
-Matt and Jess Price, Pennsylvania
We were thrilled when we learned that Rich, the Wild Neighbors Nature Connection Guide, was offering private guided tours. We have some medical problems and special needs when out in nature and did not want to impede enjoyment of other folks on a nature hike.
Rich worked out an itinerary that perfectly matched what we like to do when exploring a natural area. During the trek, it became obvious that he must have spent quite some time on this itinerary to make sure it suited our needs.
We met Rich at 7:30 A.M. Paul Smith VIC, which stands for Visitor Interpretive Center. If you have never visited there, you should. A state-of-the-art visitors center with 3000 acres and many different trails to explore year-round. Rich suggested the Boreal Life loop. We walked across the board walk surrounded by tamaracks, black spruce, beautiful orchids in bloom and the most wonderful sight of the blooms of the purple pitcher plant among the white blossoms of the Labrador Tea and the white tufts of Artic sedge. It was a totally awesome experience. Next time, we’ll be there earlier to hear the dawn chorus and see the mist roll off the water.
We took the time to see the full diversity of the flora and fauna of this special place up close. Rich came prepared with magnifying glasses.
Rich reminds me of my Uncle Jan, a retired professor, both are a walking encyclopedia of everything that grows, walks, crawls, or flies. I spend many childhood days with Unkle Jan in the high fens (Hohe Venn) of the Ardennes and Eifel in much of the same habitat. Rich was very kind and patient as this old woman went down memory lane and told the story how she learned about orchids and Pangea from her uncle Jan who was a close friend of Alfred Wegener and how everything on earth is connected.
Rich also has a gift of getting people to relax and immerse themselves in the surroundings and forget the troubles of life. We spend some great moments on the observation deck, enjoyed tree yoga which is a great way to remember what the different trees look like. We saw loons, listened to bird songs, interacted with a red squirrel, and drank in the marvelous view and serenity of this spiritual place.
He took us to see beaver dams and eagle nests and more places that only someone familiar with the area would know.
We decided to drive to Benning Marsh where there is a feeding station for the Canada Jays and if lucky, can see the black-backed woodpecker. We were gifted with the sounds of juvenal ravens. We love ravens! While waiting for the jays to show up we met other being visiting or living there. We watched some rare Northern bumble bee females possibly searching on the soil for an entrance hole to an underground home. I think the chipmunks and red squirrels know that humans come with offerings of food. They are not shy and will come for the peanuts offered.
We ended the day at Turtle Pond to learn more about diversity of leafy liverworts. I enjoyed watching Theresa and Rich counting all the species of liverworts and mosses on the fallen and standing trees. They were kind enough to show me what they had found since I knew if I got down on the soft woody soil, I would just spend the rest of the day there. A. because I like it, and B. because I might need help to get back up. Many of the plants we encountered are living fossils and paved the way for the terrestrial plant life that made life as we enjoy it possible.
-Inga Wells, Athens, PA
Two highlights today: An afternoon hike along the Peninsula Trail at Lake Placid and a chance encounter this morning with Adirondack Nature Guide Rich Hanlon at the VIC who told me that I couldn’t leave the Adirondacks without tasting it. He introduced me to the “delicacy” (his words) - the fruit from the creeping snowberry. “It tastes like wintergreen with a touch of lemon,” he said. He was right!
Now I can say that in our month here I’ve tasted, touched, smelled, heard, seen the Adirondacks.