Surrounded by Amazing Places to Visit
by Jeff Tome
The Tundra Swans do not know that it is mid-November, but that does not stop them from migrating through our area in Mid-November every year. If you asked them, they would not even know what November is. They would only reply with their trademark soft coos or, more likely, fly away long before you got close enough to ask them a question. Tundra Swans are not used to people.
Animals and plants have an innate sense of what time of year it is. They respond easily and naturally to the changing length of the days. When the days get shorter, they prepare for winter. When the days get longer, summer is ahead. They do not have to be on time for that 10:00am meeting on Wednesday, though they may have an early December destination in mind.
The world runs on calendars. My dining room wall still has a calendar on it that my wife and I mark up for who is going where. It shows when and where she is teaching yoga, doing a Norwex party or has an appointment. The dates that I work on weekends and evenings are on there too, as well as days when Audubon is sending me far away and I won’t be there in the morning. The kids field trips, programs and play dates get tossed on there too. By the end of the year, the calendar reads like a diary of the year that has passed.
Do you know where you were last August 1? I was leading a bunch of teenagers on a hike down a waterfall into Chautauqua Gorge. It was one of the most dramatic walks in the county that I have done in recent times. The slate-bottomed creek went down like steps, flowing over waterfalls and pools of water as we hiked down it. Chautauqua Gorge is one of the most beautiful and least known spots in the region to go for a hike.
We took teens to some other amazing places, too. We explored the rocks and caves at Rimrock overlook in Pennsylvania. There, they got to bounce on the balancing rock that weighs tons, but moves under your weight. Caves that are ice cold in the middle of summer lead into the depths of the rock formation and rock hopping opportunities abound.
It was on one of these hikes that the idea for the 2015 Audubon Nature Center’s Calendar was born. This year’s calendar’s theme is amazing places that you can visit. Have you been to Chautauqua Gorge or Rimrock? How about the waterfall with the eternal flame behind it or the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk?
There are so many amazing places to visit within an hours drive of the Audubon Nature Center that it boggles the mind. There are gorgeous waterfalls, deep gorges, scenic views, and rocks that are larger than houses.
Each month of the Amazing Places calendar has photos of a different amazing place to visit. It also includes the natural calendar. While Tundra Swans don’t use our calendar, they reliably show up at about the same time each year. The same is true of other birds and other animals. Even plants are fairly predictable for when they are going to bloom.
Every month features full color photos of animals, plants and other natural phenomena that you will see during the month. There are also other natural history tidbits scattered throughout the calendar.
The Audubon Nature Center’s “Amazing Places 2015” calendar costs $20, or $18 for Friends of the Nature Center. It can be ordered online at www.jamestownaudubon.org. You can have it shipped to you or pick it up at the nature center. All profits from the calendar directly benefit the operations of the nature center.
Photographers in the calendar include Jennifer Schlick, Bonnie Bowen, Dave Cooney, Jody Eaton, Katie Finch, Jeff Tome, Shannon Murphy, and Brenna Reed, all of whom are generously sharing their photography with the Audubon Nature Center.
Jeff Tome is a naturalist at the Audubon Nature Center at 1600 Riverside Road off of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. More information on the calendar and other programs being offered at Audubon is available by calling (716)569-2345 or going to http://jamestownaudubon.org.