Make a Nature-Themed Metal Art Piece at the Nature Center

metal tooling

On Saturday afternoon, February 27, you can create a beautiful nature-themed wall hanging on aluminum or copper at the Audubon Nature Center. The example pictured is compliments of Christy Hartman of C. Hartman Designs.

Jamestown, NY – Creating a distinctive piece of art with one’s own hands can be very gratifying – but it’s not something most of us get to do very often.

On Saturday afternoon, February 27, the Audubon Nature Center is offering you the opportunity to create a beautiful nature-themed wall hanging on aluminum or copper. This “Tooling & Texturing on Metal” workshop will run from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Art teacher Sue Yauchzy will provide all the materials and tools you need to create a lovely art piece that you will have a hard time deciding whether to keep for yourself or give as a gift.

Yauchzy is retired from the Frewsburg Central Schools. She volunteers extensively at the Nature Center and is happy to share her artistic skills, tips, and tricks with you.

The fee is $39 or $31 for Friends of the Nature Center and children ages 9-15.

Enrollment is limited. Paid reservations are required by Tuesday, February 23: Call (716) 569-2345 during business hours to register and pay with a credit card or click through “Tooling & Texturing on Metal” at

Nature Center education programs are funded with support from the Carnahan Jackson Foundation, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, Holmberg Foundation, Hultquist Foundation, Johnson Foundation, and Lenna Foundation.

The Audubon Nature Center is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

To learn more about the Nature Center and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345 or visit

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Audubon Nature Center – not JUST for Kids

I am always in awe of artists. They have skills I don’t have. Or, as I was coached to say by an art teacher, skills I have not yet learned. I’ve often thought it would be fun to take a class where you just get to try out lots of different media, to dabble in water color and acrylic and oil, to try your hand at sculpture and photography, and digital images. I just want to know what it feels like to work with each medium so I can decide which one I might want to pursue for real.


Tooling on metal – photo compliments of Christy Hartman of C. Hartman Designs

Well, guess what? Retired art teacher Sue Yauchzy has been giving people that exact opportunity at the Nature Center – a little at a time. With nature as our inspiration, we have made leaf prints on hand-dyed scarves to create wearable art. We have created patterns and textures with art pencils, sharpie markers, and other colored pencils and markers on paper and other objects in a nature doodling class. Our next adventure on Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 1:00pm until 3:30pm will take the doodling to a new level: texturing and tooling on metal. Sue will provide all the materials and tools we need and introduce us to the techniques used by artists around the world to turn flat pieces of metal into images in relief.

The cost for “Tooling & Texturing on Metal” is $39, or $31 for Friends of the Nature Center members. Registration is required by Tuesday, February 23 and can be completed by phoning 716-569-2345, or by visiting (click through to the registration page). Enrollment is limited, so reserve early!

A lot of people associate the Nature Center with children, and indeed, we have lots to offer kids from our programs for Scouts and schools to our extensive summer Day Camp. But we’re not JUST for kids! Art classes like these are just one type of programming that we offer at the Nature Center for adults.


Bill Potter was our First Friday speaker in February. This is one of his amazing photographs: a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

Have you heard of our First Friday Lunch Bunch, for example? On the First Friday of each month we gather at 11:00am to hear a nature-related talk followed by BYO brown bag lunch and conversation. The Nature Center provides coffee and tea. The speakers on March 4, 2016 are John and Bev Ruska and the topic is “Cavity Nesting Birds” – that is the birds that are apt to use a nest box. On April 1, Ava Turnquist, Natural Resource Specialist with the US Forest Service, will speak about “Forest Hawks and their Kin.” Pre-registration is not required for our First Friday series. The fee is $8 or $6 for Friends of the Nature Center members.


Learn some tips and tricks for creating your own naturally play-friendly yard

If you have children in your life, you might be interested in a workshop called “Creating Nature Play Areas in your Yard.” Scheduled for Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 10:00am until 11:30am, this workshop will be led by senior naturalist Jeff Tome who will share ways to make your yard more play-friendly. The regular price of $12, or $9 for Friends of the Nature Center members, is due with registration by March 19, 2016.

As long as we’re peeking out toward spring, let me mention Adult Day Camp! We tried it in the fall and it was a big hit. Watch for details coming soon for a spring version on April 27, 28 and 29, 2016 from 12:30pm until 4:00pm each day.


Learning about Pond Critters at Adult Day Camp

Save these dates now and be sure to make visiting our website a regular practice so you can stay on top of all the fun classes we offer – for kids AND grownups!

The Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road in the town of Kiantone, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York and Warren, Pennsylvania. You can learn more by visiting Trails are open from dawn to dusk, as is viewing of the Bald Eagle, Liberty. The Nature Center building is open weekdays from 10:00am until 1:00pm, Saturdays from 10:00am until 4:30pm, and Sundays from 1:00pm until 4:30pm.

Jennifer Schlick is program director at the Nature Center.

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Nature Center Offering Two Snow Camp Days This Winter

Snow Camp

Snow Camp at the Audubon Nature Center is a great way for kids to celebrate their February school breaks. It’s like summer Day Camp with a winter twist!

Jamestown, NY – To accommodate the different school schedules in Warren and Chautauqua Counties, the Audubon Nature Center is presenting two days of Snow Camp this winter.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, February 15, and Friday, February 26, kids from ages four to 18 can experience the fun of summer Day Camp with a winter twist.

Time will be spent outside, and there will also be inside camp games and songs.

Teenagers might get the chance to try cross country skis or maybe snowshoes (if there is snow), play some outdoor games, perhaps geocache, and get a roaring fire going in the backyard.

Campers are asked to dress for the weather and pack a complete change of clothes, winter gear, a snack, and a lunch.

Cost for the day is $30 or $25 for Friends of the Nature Center. Additional siblings receive a $5 discount.

Enrollment is limited. Paid reservations are required by Thursday, February 11. To register, call (716) 569-2345 during business hours or register online at “Snow Camp” at

Teenagers who would like to be assistants in the camp rather than attend and play can call Sarah at (716) 569-2345.

Nature Center education programs are funded with support from the Carnahan Jackson Foundation, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, Holmberg Foundation, Hultquist Foundation, Johnson Foundation, and Lenna Foundation.

The Audubon Nature Center is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania. Winter hours for the building with its live animals, exhibits and Blue Heron Gift Shop are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sundays 1-4:30 p.m. Bald Eagle viewing and trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing are open dawn to dusk every day.

To learn more about the Nature Center and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345 or visit


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“Direct the Viewer’s Eye” is Subject of Audubon Photo Club Meeting

Mailpouch-Edie Wall

“Direct the Viewer’s Eye” will be the subject at the Audubon Nature Photography Club meeting on Thursday, February 11. Shown here is a Mail Pouch barn in Sherman photographed by member Edie Wall.

Jamestown, NY – “Direct the Viewer’s Eye” is the subject at the next Jamestown Audubon Nature Photography Club meeting.

On Thursday, February 11, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. Cathy Abers-Kimball will present the topic: Using composition to direct the viewer’s eye. Many ways to improve your photos will be explored.

An illustrated discussion on 22 common landscape mistakes will reinforce the above ideas in the 15-minute tech portion of the meeting.

“Perspective from Repeating Patterns” and “Cropping” are the topics for the image review that begins the meeting. Repeating themes within the frame such as shapes, colors or lines strengthen a picture while echoing the viewer’s life’s experiences. Cropping is an essential tool for focusing a viewer’s attention and learning to see better.

A social time follows the program.

First-time visitors are welcome to visit free of charge. The annual membership is $30. Among the benefits of membership are discounts on photography classes, field trips, and the right to show photos at Club exhibits.

The Jamestown Audubon Nature Photography Club meets at the Audubon Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

Contact Club President Cathy Abers-Kimball at (716) 664-3707 daytime or for more information, or visit the Club blog at



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Cabin Fever


The Audubon Nature Center has buttons to push and tons of places to play for preschoolers and smaller children.

Cabin fever is defined as “boredom, restlessness, or irritability that results from a lack of environmental stimulation,” according to The term originates from a time when snow isolated people in tiny backwoods cabins. They read the same books, played the same games and told the same stories over and over until nothing seemed better than spring.

Somehow, the term applies to people today, who really have no lack of environmental stimulation. Bored? Download a book or go to the library. Download a movie or watch one of the five billion television stations. Edit photos. Write a book. Build something in the basement. Refinish a room. Do yoga. Ski. Snowshoe. There are endless possibilities out there for amusement.

And yet, children suffer from cabin fever. They suffer from a lack of stimulation while surrounded by more toys, games, electronic doo-dads, and books than I had in my entire childhood, perhaps my entire life.


Puzzles, games and puppet shows make the Audubon Nature Center the perfect place for a play date.

This cabin fever arrives in the form of a kind of endless irritability. With nothing else to do, the children begin to find creative ways to irritate each other. Toys are grabbed and run away with. A low grade humming of the Star Wars theme fills the living room, somehow drowning out everything. The only toys anyone wants to play with are the ones the other child has.

There are a lot of things we do when the kids are bored. Sometimes we just kick them outside and let them wander the yard until they find something to do. Perhaps an off-trail hike through the woods will get them exploring and shake off some of their restlessness.

These, however, are more recent options. When they were little and more dependent, we needed to find someplace to go. They went to story time at the library and other things for little ones.

One of the most important places for play dates and getting someplace in the winter was the Audubon Nature Center. The building has 10,000 square feet that is toddler friendly filled with exhibits and activities. There are play fishing ponds, buttons to make frogs sing, live honeybees in a hive, puzzles to put together, a puppet theater, and live animals to watch. The steps are low and toddler friendly. Even the drinking fountains and bathroom sinks have stools to help little kids up.

It is, in short, the perfect place for a playdate. There are cozy couches and rocking chairs for parents to relax in and have some adult time while kids play with puppets or invent their own games in some of the rooms.

The floor to ceiling windows that look over the backyard provide endless amusement for little minds. Birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals come right up to the windows. Play binoculars let the children play scientist as they watch the animals outside.


The Audubon Nature Center is open Monday through Friday from 10:00am until 1:00pm, 10:00am-4:30pm on Saturdays and 1:00pm-4:30pm on Sundays.

There is so much to do. There are nature blocks to build with near windowsills with cushions where kids can climb up and watch the world go by. A small children’s library has great books that can be read and looked at on ladybug cushions nearby. A giant log that children can crawl through is tucked away in one corner. It is a place of endless environmental stimulation to chase away cabin fever from adults and children alike.

This winter, the Nature Center has been open every day. You can visit from 10:00am-1:00pm daily Monday through Friday, from 10:00am till 4:30pm on Saturday and from 1:00pm to 4:30pm on Sunday. Admission is free for children aged fifteen and under. Adults pay only $6 admission. Members of the Friends of the Nature Center group are always free and Sunday is a free admission day for everyone.

While there is a ton of things to do inside, there is also a great deal to do outside. The trails are flat and easily walkable. There are short loops that are perfect for tiny legs, as well as long loops for parents who hike with their children in backpacks or adults who want to get out.

A live, non-releasable Bald Eagle names Liberty live in an enclosure near the building. She is always a big hit with visitors.

More information on the Audubon Nature Center is available online at or by calling (716) 569-2345. The Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, just off Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y. and Warren, Pa. Jeff Tome is a naturalist at the Audubon Nature Center.

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About living more locally and closer to the land

I love growing my own food. I love devouring seed catalogs this time of year, planning the garden, ordering seeds, starting them inside, planting, weeding, harvesting, eating – the whole process simply makes me happy. I love making my own compost from the bits of the food I don’t eat. (My chickens love those bits of food, too). I love identifying plants in the woods and fields that I can eat. The closer my food system is to land upon which I walk daily, the more satisfied I am.

Beekeeping 2013

Beekeeping provides pollinators for the land and wax and honey for candle, food, and medicines. Photo by Audubon Nature Center.

The closer people can live to the land, living off what it gives, the better off both they and the land will be. Food will travel less distance using less fuel and less inputs. Heat will warm time and time again as people cut the trees and split them and carry them and burn them. Water will be pure and fresh, filtered through the rock and soil that were here eons ago. As a result the food will be healthier with fewer preservatives, picked at nutritional peak and eaten almost immediately, losing little of those precious vitamins and minerals. Forests will be healthier because people will see them for what they are – heat, building materials, and feed for their food animals.


A braided rug made from cast off wool clothing.

Living off the land. I know – it brings back images of the 1970’s back to land movement and hippies and communes and VW buses and the idealistic idea that you can live outside the capitalist system. That movement was a failure. But living of the land is older, more reliable than any political, economical, or social system. The land has always been the support system for the animals that live upon it, humans included. It always will be, and frankly, we are treating it like garbage.

One of the faults of a global economy is that we are so far removed from the sources of the things we need to survive and with which we thrive. Our daily conscious interactions with nature as our support system (breathing is an unconscious interaction) are few. Food, water, shelter, heat, tools, light, and purpose are all provided by the land upon which we walk. And we are no longer connected to it in any meaningful way.


Learning to carve toys and tools from wood.


The things that are more important in our lives are things that relate most directly to them. We care more about our families, our homes, our cars, our jobs, our land than we do about water shortages in other countries, avalanches, the plight of the Black-footed Ferret, or melting permafrost. Harsh, but true.

The missing piece however, in this global economy, is that nature is the source for that with which we survive and thrive. Our families depend on a healthy natural system. Our shelter is made of resources from natural systems. Our jobs and cars enable us to live within the construct of our global economy, which is more often than not our source for food, fuel, and material goods.

tea tree shampoo bars from grubby duck soaps (1)

Tea Tree shampoo bars made by Grubby Duck Soaps.

What if you could support your family by living closer to the land? What if you could learn how to raise your own animals for food and fiber? What if you could learn how to make candles and soap from their fat? What if you could learn to identify trees, how to cut them safely, and heat your house with them? Wouldn’t this bring the land into the center of your priorities? It’s a win-win situation!

Snowflake Festival 2014_02-01-14_22

Carol Spencer will demonstrate how to spin wool into yarn. Photo by Dave Cooney.

You can learn a lot of these basic skills, or at least get a taste of them, at the Snowflake Local Living Festival on February 6. From 10:00am until 4:00pm you can try out some of our traditional winter activities such as snowshoeing, skiing, or hiking. The Wagon Rides will also be available with other activities. More importantly this year we are adding a wide variety of local living demonstrations and products, to teach you how to live a bit closer to the land. Making soap, tapping maple trees, making herbal medicines, carving tools and toys, spinning wool, and repurposing old clothes into rugs are some of the skills we are showcasing.

Designed for kids and adults, there are activities all day long. A complete listing is on the website,, just click on the Snowflake Local Living Festival logo. Some activities have fees to cover materials, but many are free, including basket and butter making! Call for more information (716) 568-2345 or go to the website. Admission for ages 16 and up is $6, ages 3-15 are $2, and 2 and under are free. Thanks to United Refining and our other sponsors for making this event possible.

The Nature Center is open from dawn to dusk daily for eagle viewing and hiking. The building is open from 10:00am until 1:00pm weekdays, Saturdays from 10:00am until 4:30pm and Sundays from 1:00pm until 4:30pm.

Sarah Hatfield is a naturalist at Audubon Nature Center.


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Enjoy “My Love of Nature” Photo Essay at Nature Center

Bill Potter - Bittern with snake

Retirement has brought Port Allegany, Pennsylvania, biology teacher Bill Potter the opportunity to capture much of the beauty of nature with his photography. You can share his wonder at the Audubon Nature Center’s First Friday Lunch Bunch on February 5, 2016. Pictured is a Bittern Potter photographed capturing a snake.

Jamestown, NY – Living life with purpose and drive. That is the experience of Bill Potter, a retired biology teacher from Port Allegany, Pennsylvania.

Potter spends many enjoyable hours looking through the camera lens at birds and other creatures, filling his eyes and his mind with the beauty of nature, capturing what he can with photography.

At the Audubon Nature Center’s First Friday Lunch Bunch on February 5, 2016, Potter will share his wonders through a stunning presentation he is calling “My Love of Nature: A Photo Essay.”

From 11 a.m. to noon you can experience some of what he has beheld, from coyotes and rarely seen birds like the Bittern and Golden-crowned Kinglet, to gorgeous scenery through the seasons.

Following the program, coffee and tea will be provided for a BYO brown bag lunch. The fee for attending is $8 or $6 for Friends of the Nature Center. Reservations are not required.

The Audubon Nature Center is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

To learn more, call (716) 569-2345 or visit


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