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Ithaca is People: Sarah Wagner

Q: What do you do in Ithaca and Tompkins County?

A: I’ve only been here for a year. I moved here for a job at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. So, it has been about a year now and we love it enough that we would like to stay a little bit longer.

Q: What do you do at the Lab of Ornithology?

A: I am a course developer in the education program. I just finished working on a course about ornithology and now I am writing a course for bird identification by ear. I also work with fifth graders on the “Kids Discover the Trail” program. So, lots of outreach stuff. I finished my PhD a little over a year ago, but mostly I’m doing outreach and education right now.

Q: What are your favorite things to do in Ithaca?

A: I hike a lot and also run some. I like to go to yoga classes. I like going to the Farmers Market. I think a lot of what I end up doing is trails that are close to the lab. So, I often do things that are close to work and close to home. Ringwood Nature Preserve is close to where we live and Ellis Hollow. We also do a fair amount of beer and cider tasting in the area.

Q: Do you have a favorite trail?

A: Since we moved here in the fall, I just did stuff close to home so I wasn’t really hitting the gorges. As we have guest visit we get told, “You haven’t done Buttermilk Falls?!” We actually camped at Buttermilk when we first moved here before our house was ready, but we never did the longer trails. As we get more guests, we see more and more of the more popular trails. As for my favorite, I don’t know. Treman is pretty breath-taking. Whenever my parents are here we do the flatter areas.

Q: Do you have a favorite brewery or cidery?

A: When you go to the Finger Lake’s Cider House, you can try so many different ciders there. They think they have a yoga class. We also go to Hopshire a lot because it is close to where we live. They have a yoga class as well on Wednesday night that is $15 for an hour. We also make a lot of cider ourselves. Most of the apples we used are from Indian Creek Farm, the others we get from wildlife-management land where people have planted apple trees.

Q: Where did you come from before Ithaca?

A: Before Ithaca, we spent a year in Idaho while I finished writing my dissertation. 13 years before that, I lived in Boulder, CO. I did grad school there, but I am originally from South East Kentucky.

Q: And lastly, if you could describe Ithaca in one word what would it be?

A: Comfortable.

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