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Onondaga Lake Photo Exhibit Casts Wider Net With Virtual Event

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Greg Craybas
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The annual photo exhibit featuring the birds and wildlife of Onondaga Lake will be virtual this year.  But that also presents new and different ways to present the amazing photos taken by Central New York’s professional and amateur photographers. 

Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps program director Chris Lajewski says there’s something for everyone.

"Folks are going to be able to hear from many of the photographers who took these images, plus some of the scientists who've been involved in the restoration of the shoreline and wetland habitat, as well as folks who are doing a lot of the bald eagle and waterfowl surveys."

Unlike a traditional exhibit, Lajewski says the virtual event means they can reach beyond Central New York.  He says they’re expecting people to tune in from all over the northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.  Lajewski says people are drawn by Onondaga Lake’s conservation success story…from one of the most polluted lakes in the country to a clean, healthy ecosystem. 

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Credit Bob Walker
A cardinal from the 2015 exhibit taken by Bob Walker.

"People are fascinated by that.  They're fascinated about how the habitats have been restored, and interested to learn about the 150 bird species that have returned to the lake, inlcuding many on the New York State threatened species list, like the bald eagle, northern harrier, and pied billed griebe."

Of course, the bald eagles draw the most attention, and is one of the reasons Onondaga Lake is designated an important bird area.  It’s also the largest wintering roost near an urban area.  Dozens have been seen in recent weeks in the trees and on the edge of the ice at the southern end of the lake.

"The bald eagle was once on the brink of extinction.  There was only one nesting pair of bald eagles in the entire state of New York 50 years ago.  Now we have almost 500 nesting pairs of bald eagles.  That is something Audubon is certainly very proud of, and New Yorkers can take pride in as well."

Several hundred images of the eagles, other birds, and wildlife were submitted for the exhibit; Lajewski says it was difficult to narrow it down to 30.  The event will be held this Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m.  Registration is required and space is limited.