Tucked amid the trees and wetlands of Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a testament to human curiosity and a passion for learning about and protecting nature. It is a home to people who make it their life’s work to ask questions about birds, whales, elephants, frogs, and fish. It is a portal to appreciation of the natural world, whether you live a mile down the road or miles from anywhere.
Arthur A. “Doc” Allen founded the lab. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Cornell, he pushed for creation of the country’s first graduate program in ornithology. The university responded, and in 1915, the Lab of Ornithology was born, although it was housed in the entomology and limnology department.
“The whole point in collecting so much data about birds and animals through citizen science, research, and sound and video archiving is to learn what it takes to keep the Earth in balance and perhaps undo some of the environmental trauma inflicted by pollution and destruction of habitat.”