The Wild Center

About Us

OPENED in 2006
Tupper lake, ny
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Our mission is to ignite an enduring passion for nature that inspires action to ensure a thriving natural world.
We are committed to a future where people and the natural world thrive together. We invite you to discover the story of the Adirondacks, and to explore new ways that people and nature can thrive in the same place.
Aerial view of the Wild Center buildings under construction

The History of The Wild Center

What began as a discussion amongst friends in Betsy’s Lowe’s Long Lake cabin over 20 years ago has become a 115-acre home in which people and nature can coexist.
Learn More about our history
Wild Center guide showing child contents of fishing net, near side of pond.

Careers at The Wild Center

Do you play well with otters? The Wild Center welcomes members to our team of creative, adventurous people who are dedicated to sharing the stories of the natural world.
Learn More about our OPENINGS

Sustainability at The Wild Center

Collage of buildings and exhibits at Wild Center
The Wild Center strives to encourage new and improved building practices to increase efficiency and reduce energy use. Enhancing local food sources is also a key element to achieving regional self-sufficiency and sustainability.


Behind the work we do every day is a dedicated staff and knowledgeable and involved boards which add significantly to the knowledge base of the organization, and to its capacity to innovate and grow.

Stephanie Ratcliffe

Executive Director
As Executive Director, Stephanie is a leader in the world of science museums. She played the lead role in the creation of the Center’s exhibits and… Read More >

Hillarie Logan-Dechene

Deputy Director
As The Wild Center’s Deputy Director, Hillarie brings a wealth of experience in non-profit management and capacity building. She is responsible for much of the daily… Read More >

Robert Kronenberger

Director of Finance & Administration
As Director of Finance & Administration, Bob is responsible for all of the financial operations of The Wild Center, including The Wild Supply Co. and Waterside… Read More >

Jen Kretser

Director of Climate Initiatives
Jen Kretser (she/her) is the Director of Climate Initiatives for The Wild Center – a science center in the Adirondack Park in northern New York State. … Read More >

Phil Wagschal

Facilities Director
As Facilities Director, Phil manages facilities operations of our 115-acre campus and leads efforts to reduce the Center's carbon footprint and implement sustainable building practices throughout… Read More >

Leah Valerio

Head Curator
Leah is responsible for the living collection of native Adirondack animals at The Wild Center. As a New York State licensed falconer, Leah trains falcons to… Read More >

Kerri Ziemann

Program Director
Kerri provides vision and planning for the Center’s programs which are designed for visitors of all ages and experiences. She also provides oversight of Visual Thinking… Read More >

Nick Gunn

Marketing Director
As Marketing Director, Nick brings over 10 years of non-profit experience.  He plans and executes the Center’s award-winning marketing, communications and public relations programs. Read More >
Karen K. Thomas, Chair
Linda Rosenstock, Vice Chair
Jack Ryder, Vice Chair
Joseph G. Beck, Treasurer
Virginia H. Valkenburgh, Secretary
Paul J. Alioto
Michael A. Bettmann
Lee Bailey
Terry Birdsong
George Cigale
Larry Clifford
David Kanietakeron Fadden
Ed Forbes
Lynn S. Fox
Charles S. Frenette
Richard F. Godin, Jr.
Robin Gosnell
Sally Hart
Nancy S. Howard
Nicole Hylton-Patterson
Ben Ireland
Elizabeth M. Lowe
Paul A. Maroun
Pamela G. Matt
Brooks H. Reynolds
Juan Rodriguez
Meadow Rutenbar
James Schoff
Charles O. Svenson
Joel H. Treisman

Emeritus Trustees

G. Thomas Aydelotte
Lynn S. Birdsong
Peter A. Kindler
Nancy K. Simpkins
Martha F. Bullock, Chair
Allison S. Birdsong
Sarah R. Bogdanovitch
Tony Campbell
Emily Forbes
Robert J. Gillis
David R. Goodman
William O. Grabe
Michael A. Hunsinger
Phuong Ireland
David Jones
David McAlpin
John McHugh
George E. Pataki
Michael R. Phinney
Steven B. Potter
Grant Reynolds
Stanley H. Rumbough, III
Elizabeth Ryder
Carl B.E. Shedd
Anna Sommer
Sandra A. Strader
Mark Valkenburgh
Peter B. Walker
Margaret W. Wiener
Ross S. Whaley
David J. Youlen

About the Adirondacks

The Adirondacks are an exceptionally rare ecosystem, and arguably the only place on Earth where nature has recovered over such a large area over such a long time. They are also a place where people live
Some will argue that the Adirondacks are imperfect – that people and nature have not found an ideal way to coexist here. The Wild Center believes that key pieces of the puzzle are in place in the Adirondacks, and that there is a special opportunity here to both examine and optimize how people and nature can thrive together.