A new nest: Lab of Ornithology’s visitor center set for redesign

A view of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology from Sapsucker Woods Pond. This building opened in the summer of 2003. Diane Tessaglia-Hymes/Provided

During construction, all trails in Sapsucker Woods will remain open from dawn to dusk. The visitor center is scheduled to reopen in June 2024.



“The entire space will be redesigned with new exhibits that provide more of a hands-on experience for visitors,” said Lisa Kopp, the lab’s visitor experiences manager. “Our plans include stations where people will learn about bird biology, such as song, flight, feathers and nests.”

Visitors will be able to use a touch table to explore the lab’s Macaulay Library archive of sounds and video, the largest natural history archive in the world. They will also be able to explore the bioacoustics work done by the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics and the Elephant Listening Project, both of which use sound to study birds, whales and elephants to learn where they go, how they live and what dangers they face.

And visitors can wander through a new trail network, Louisa Duemling Meadows, named in honor of Louisa Copeland Duemling ’58, a longtime lab supporter. The new trail network branches off the path that begins across from the Cornell Lab’s main entrance and is home to a suite of birds and wildlife.

During the closure and when weather allows, visitor center staff and volunteers will be outside under the center’s portico and on the trails in Sapsucker Woods. Members of the Cayuga Bird Club will continue to offer weekend guided bird walks. And virtual events such as talks and workshops about birds will also continue.

The visitor center website will have up-to-date information about activities and offerings.

Pat Leonard is a writer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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