Rural Canadians learn from U.S. region: Part 9

telescope at Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Through the telescope at Cornell Lab of Ornithology / Photo: Clark Hoskin

Continuing our trip on Day 2, our bus rolled through Ithaca, to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a world leader in the study and conservation of birds.

The tour of the Finger Lakes by rural small business owners from Norfolk County, Canada, was organized by Norfolk County Tourism & Economic Development and sponsored by Ontario’s Southwest Tourism.

The Lab is a non-profit organization supported by 78,000 members, 200,000 “citizen-science” participants, and 12 million bird enthusiasts who connect with the Lab’s online guide, This is the location where advances like eBird (which receives 1.6 million bird observations per month), Project FeederWatch, the Backyard Bird Count and Rare Bird Alerts were created.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Inside the Cornell Lab of Ornithology / Photo: Clark Hoskin

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has managed to support and grow its research initiatives while welcoming tourists to its facility. There are interactive exhibits, views of birds from the observatory, binoculars for loan at reception, 14,000 books in the library open to the public, as well as seminars in spring and fall. About 55,000 people visit the centre each year, without disturbing the 150+ staff on site. The stop provided food for thought about how to address the needs of birding tourists. Norfolk County and Ontario’s Southwest welcome many birders annually.

“Cornell Lab of Ornithology directly targets all bird lovers and is broader in its approach to the community. There are many concepts and takeaways for our own Bird Studies to try and adapt to our own facility.” – comment from one of our participants

After leaving this stop, our group drove by Ithaca Commons, a four-block outdoor pedestrian mall in downtown Ithaca, which was built in 1974. A $3-million (U.S.) upgrade is underway, including a new 159-room Marriott Hotel. The area is expected to reopen this summer. It includes 100 shops, restaurants, galleries, street vendors and street entertainers. It is close to Cornell University and Ithaca College, is home to State Theatre of Ithaca, Restaurant Week Ithaca, free summer concerts, Downtown Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival, Annual Chili Festival, Winterfest, and other events.

These were just a few of the stops along the way on the Norfolk County Finger Lakes Study Tour. Watch this blog for more chapters in the story. See photos of the trip on the Invest in Norfolk facebook page.

c) Clark Hoskin 2015

Finger Lakes Study Tour blog posts

  • Part 1: Wine & Culinary Centre | Technology Farm
  • Part 2: Winewagen Tours
  • Part 3: Weaverview Farms | Milly’s Pantry
  • Part 4: Yates County Arts Centre | Finger Lakes Ec Dev
  • Part 5: Climbing Bines Hop Yard & Brewery
  • Part 6: Wiemer Vineyards | Glenora Cellars
  • Part 7: Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel | Ice Bar
  • Part 8: Finger Lakes Distilling
  • Part 9: Cornell Lab of Ornithology | Ithaca Commons
  • Part 10: Americana Vineyards
  • Part 11: Seneca County Army Depot
  • Part 12: Seneca Falls
  • Part 13: Warfields Restaurant
  • Part 14: Debriefing at The Combine