Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge: A bastion of biodiversity in a world of waste

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge: A bastion of biodiversity in a world of waste

Anyone who has monitored the escalating climate crisis was not shocked by the recent U.N. report that found that up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades. The factors behind this dramatic collapse in biodiversity are myriad, but the bottom line is straightforward. “Protecting biodiversity amounts to protecting humanity,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said at a news conference about the findings.

With the report weighing heavily on my mind, I decided to take a day trip with the family to visit nearby Montezuma National Wildlife refuge.

Located at the north end of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes Region, Montezuma contains 9,809 acres. It’s a little slice of heaven for birders and birds alike. It’s also an ideal place to go when you are feeling depressed by the current state of our planet. In a time when so many species are vanishing forever, Montezuma still feels bountiful. Two hundred and forty two species of birds, 43 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles, and 16 species of amphibians can be found on the refuge for at least part of the year.

Heron sculpture piece by the entrance

Montezuma provides resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.


One of my all time favorite nature escapes situated in the middle of one of the most active flight lanes in the Atlantic Flyway.

The marsh

Swallow feeders

Robin’s eggs on the observation tower

Mendon exploring by the Clyde River

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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