Nature Center Offering Day-Long Photography Intensive Workshop

Nature Center Offering Day-Long Photography Intensive Workshop

Jamestown, NY – If you own a camera and want to improve your skills as a photographer, you will want to be at the Audubon Nature Center on Saturday, June 20.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day nearly a dozen skilled photographers will share their talent and expertise in an intensive Photography Workshop covering a wide range of topics.

Panebianco_Hunter Hearts

The Audubon Nature Center is presenting a day-long Photography Intensive workshop on Saturday, June 20, with presentations by nearly a dozen accomplished photographers. One of the session choices is “Pet Portraits with Personality,” offered by Cathy Panebianco. A professional pet photographer, Panebianco is also a fine art photographer whose work has been exhibited nationally in galleries as well as in books and magazines.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend four different sessions on subjects including Fun with Macro, Comparing and Using Photo Editing Software, Looking Good – Ideas for Composition, Meet Your Neighbours – Photography for Conservation, Pet Portraits with Personality, SLR Manual Mode Crash Course, Sun Pictures, Black and White Conversions, Improving Landscapes with HDR, Gear Geeks!, Creating Composite Images Using Photoshop, iPhone-o-Graphy, and Insect Photography.

Presenting photographers are Bruce Fox, Deb Lanni, Twan Leenders, Gary Lester, Jeremy Martin, Cathy Panebianco, Sandra Rothenberg, Kathleen Tenpas, Kimberly Turner, and Michael Weishan. These professionals have backgrounds ranging from teaching photography at Buffalo State College to being a photojournalist, having fine art exhibits in national galleries to their image on a Canadian stamp. All have had their work exhibited and/or published and have been professional presenters.

Full details of the workshop are at

The fee for the day is $66 or $50 for Friends of the Nature Center.
Reservations with payment are required by Tuesday, June 16: call (716) 569-2345 or use the on-line form by clicking on “Photography Workshop (June 20)” 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


Posted in News Release, Photography, workshop


Metamorphosis in Moths and Life
by Jeff Tome

Metamorphosis.  It is the process of transformation.  Life seems to be a never-ending process of transformation over time.  We have all felt it, that feeling you get when something new grabs your interest and a whole new world opens up before you.

Emma and Moth

Get a close up look at some of the beautiful moths that emerge at night in early June at “Moths, Rock and Hops” on June 6th at the Audubon Nature Center. Photo by Jeff Tome.

There are certain times in life when those things are celebrated in huge community gathering.  Weddings and birth and death are all acknowledged in giant gatherings of family and friends to show their support for the change.  There is a time in life when weddings, bridal showers and baby showers seem to be all over the place.

Those experiencing those changes can’t even begin to understand all that will change as they move forward.  It’s impossible to predict how joining your life to another’s will change you over time or how having tiny little lives depend upon you for everything will change your outlook.

Other transformations happen quietly and internally.  Sudden passions for new pastimes introduce you to new people, new ideas and new things.  It might be a new hobby, like photography, writing, gardening or genealogy.  It might be a sport that you get involved in, like running, roller derby or cricket.

Promethea Moth Caterpillars

These Promethea Moth caterpillars were raised all last summer at the Audubon Nature Center. The adults will be emerging soon.

These things seem like something new and interesting at the time, but they can fundamentally change how you look at the world.  A photographer starts to notice the quality of light and textures of the surroundings.  Gardeners notice how landscapes blend into and enhance their surroundings.  Genealogy brings a strong sense of the past into the present, an idea of where we have come from and how we have gotten here.

Change and transformation can start in the oddest places.  Sometimes it seems to happen in a flash, like that moment when someone handed me this tiny baby and told me she was mine.  Other times it happens slowly over time, such as the way photography has slowly changed my perspective and what I notice in the world.

Cecropia Moth Portrait - The Grump

Cecropia moths are one of the giant silk moths that emerge in summer.

Metamorphosis for moths can also happen fast or slow.  Last summer, someone gave us the caretaking of several dozen Promethea Moth caterpillars.  These slow growing caterpillars ate leaf after leaf after leaf, till they were the size of little green sausages last August.  At that point, they wrapped a cocoon around themselves.  They have been that way ever since.

The cocoons have been shuffled around the building a little bit.  They lived in the lobby for a little while, then the auditorium, then a closet.  They currently are hanging out on the corner of a back porch, waiting to emerge.  Metamorphosis, the big transformation, is coming soon.

They will change from hungry little sausages to mating machines.  These giant silk moths emerge in May and June without stomachs or mouths and only live a few days.  They mate, lay eggs and die, their transformation complete.

Davis and Eng

Music at Moths, Rocks and Hops will be by local musicians Davis and Eng, who perform a mix of folk rock, swing and jazz.

To see one in the wild, the timing has to be right.  The adults are only flying around for three weeks or so.  Fewer and fewer live to adulthood, as parasitic wasps introduced for Gypsy Moth control have taken their toll on the caterpillars.

To celebrate their arrival, the Audubon Nature Center will be hosting a moth celebration, complete with music, adult drinks and, of course, moths.  “Moths, Rock and Hops” will take place on June 6th from 8:30pm-10:00pm.  Live music will be provided by Davis and Engs, a duo that performs Jazz and Blues.  White sheets with black lights, as well as some special moth goo, will attract the various kinds of moths to the event.  In addition, the moths on the porch should be coming out to join the fun.

Other moths that come out may be longer lived.  Not all moths emerge without stomachs.  Some emerge hungry.  They can be attracted to banana mash and rum or white flowers in the garden.  They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  Some are beautifully colored, others look remarkably like twigs, sticks or leaves.

Come celebrate these ephemeral spirits of the night with us in June.  The Audubon Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road near Jamestown, NY or online at  Keep track of what is happening at the nature center on Facebook at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary.

Jeff is senior naturalist at the Nature Center.

Posted in Article, Event, Jeff Tome

Timberdoodle Tales

Enjoy Timberdoodle Tales

SORRY!  CANCELLED due to low enrollment.

Jamestown, NY – Because of the male Timberdoodle’s unique, beautiful courtship flights, these secretive birds that people rarely see are welcomed as a harbinger of spring in northern areas.

20110402_American_woodcock_WH_MG9988At twilight, male Timberdoodles, also known as American Woodcocks, emerge from the brush and launch themselves into the sky for a 300-foot skydance to impress the females below.

You are invited to join folks from the Audubon Nature Center on Thursday evening, May 21, to watch these odd-looking birds at the Hatch Run Conservation Area near Warren, Pennsylvania. Nature Center Senior Naturalist Jeff Tome will lead the 8-9:30 p.m. event, as the group stalks and learns more about this mysterious bird.

“This will be an exciting evening,” Tome said. “A spotlight will allow us to see the Timberdoodles on the ground, and we will watch them in the sky as they fly.” Tome added that the Nature Center’s van will drive to the top of the hill to watch the display; participants may choose to walk up the hill if they prefer.

Participants will meet at 8 p.m. at the Hatch Run Conservation Area, off Hatch Run Road on the left, past the DMV, and are advised to bring a chair.

The fee is $12 or $9 for Friends of the Nature Center and children 3-15.
Reservations with payment are required by Monday, May 18: call (716) 569-2345 or use the on-line form by clicking on “Timberdoodle Tales” 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.

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


Posted in Hike, News Release, Program

Gardening Bales

Gardening Bales
Crin Fredrickson

2015-05-11_11-57-18_458 4608830279_785712209d_z 4777425313_206aeee85e_z 2015-05-11_11-57-57_910I didn’t grow up gardening. My parents tried for years and years to start a garden, always discovering the spot they had chosen was too wet or too dry or too inviting for thieving deer. There was certainly no lack of enthusiasm and sometimes a particular vegetable would do amazingly well— a zucchini plant or asparagus row— but we just didn’t seem to have good luck…or green thumbs. My grandmother, on the other hand, has always had an enormous garden: vegetables, herbs, wild flowers, berries—you name it, she grew it. So when I graduated from college and had my own yard, I decided that I would have a garden. Oh nothing fancy at first, I doubted my ability to grow anything but weeds the first year; but eventually I wanted a garden that could deliciously supplement my summer and fall (maybe even winter) diet. I had grand illusions of strolling out to pick the ingredients for a fresh salad hours before sitting down to dinner.

This year I’m trying something a little less than traditional. I stumbled across the opportunity to attend a webinar given by Joel Karsten of Roseville, Minnesota entitled “Straw Bale Gardening”. The program was perfectly timed, early enough for interested parties to gather what they would need to start their own project before planting time. Karsten, of course, recommended a book he had written on the subject, and after reading a few excerpts from it I decided I wanted to give it a go. The concept seems simple enough, take straw bales, speed up the decomposition process with a little nitrogen, and plant your garden in them. The advantages are numerous. The bales themselves are nutrient-rich so you don’t need soil per se (these types of gardens are becoming popular even in urban areas), you can plant earlier and continue harvesting later, plus the bales can be reused. Not to mention your plants are at your fingertips—you don’t have to bend down to inspect them. You can even grow all organic by using blood meal or feather meal instead of a fast-release nitrogen (traditional lawn fertilizer) when you are conditioning the bale.

So how does it work? The equation is really only slightly more complicated than water + sun + bale of straw. The bale itself, if you left it alone long enough (probably a few years), would turn into soil using that equation; to use it for your garden, however, you want to speed that process up so your plants have something to grow in right away. You achieve this by “conditioning” the bacteria in the bale. There are already colonies of bacteria in the bales searching for nitrogen from the air surrounding them and from the ground underneath, any source they can find—and it’s normally a slow process for them to take that sparse nitrogen and use it to digest the dead plant material (straw). BUT if you add nitrogen to the bale and you water the bale consistently, the bacteria will rapidly reproduce and begin to break the structure of the bale down much faster. The result? Soil creation. In essence you are increasing the concentration of bacteria before you plant so that your baby plants have something nutrient-rich to sink their roots into.

The whole conditioning process takes about two weeks. I’m a procrastinator, so I just started my bales this month; but, it is possible (even encouraged) to start them as soon as the snow melts. That is actually one of the added benefits of gardening in a straw bale, the activity of the bacteria heats the bale so that it is warmer than its surroundings. With a few structural additions (posts, wire, sheets of plastic) you can plant earlier than any of your neighbors without worrying about cold temperatures. Or snow in June in our case.

I set my bales in two rows from north to south in the sunniest part of my backyard and plan on stringing a few rows of wire above them, first for insulation (drape plastic over the wire like a tent) and later for my trellising plants. I haven’t taken any precautions for hungry wildlife but I had very little trouble last year in a similar location so my fingers are crossed. I really don’t know what to expect, so I started small. I only have ten bales in my set-up. This year’s straw bale garden will be approximately the same size (spatially) as last year’s traditional garden but I’m hoping the straw bale garden will increase my yields—as Karsten’s book insists it will. It’s actually quite intriguing to prepare to compare and contrast. The more I learn about the processes and what the plants need, the better gardener I’ll become…I hope. Here’s to hoping that I inherited my grandmother’s green thumbs…or at least one.

Speaking of gardens! Audubon Nature Center is looking for volunteers to help prepare, plant, and maintain ours! Come on down on Tuesdays or Saturdays to get a little dirt on your hands! We have a variety of gardens including raised beds, a native-plant garden, and several sensory gardens. If you’re reading this on Saturday, May 16, we are having our Plant Exchange and Sale today! Stop in and browse or buy. Audubon Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, just off Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown. The gardens are open from dawn until dusk. The Nature Center building is open from 10:00am until 4:30pm daily, except Sundays when it opens at 1:00pm. Find more information at, like us on Facebook (Audubon Center & Sanctuary), give us a call at (716) 569-2345.

Posted in Article, Crin Fredrickson, Gardening

Annual Mother’s Day Wildflower Walk – May 10, 2015

Nature Center Wildflower Walk on Mother’s Day Jamestown, NY – Continuing a decades-long tradition, on Sunday afternoon, May 10, naturalist Jack Gulvin will lead the Audubon Nature Center’s annual Mother’s Day Wildflower Walk at the Bentley Sanctuary.

Dutchman's Breeches

For decades the Audubon Nature Center has been offering a special treat on Mother’s Day: a guided tour of beautiful spring wildflowers at the Bentley Sanctuary. This Dutchman’s Breeches photographed by Nature Center Program Director Jennifer Schlick is one of the spring wildflowers that reward the observant trail walker.

The walk starts at the Sanctuary and meanders through the woods in search of spring wildflowers. The hike features all the spring flowers, from Spring Beauties to Marsh Marigolds. The 2-4 p.m. Mother’s Day Wildflower Walk is an opportunity to take a couple hours to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of even the smallest and the most common wildflowers. You can learn which are native and which were brought here by Europeans eager to see a familiar sight from the home country. You will also learn about some that tagged along uninvited. Jack Gulvin is a naturalist at Chautauqua Institution, where he leads nature walks Friday mornings at 9 a.m. during the Chautauqua season. He also oversees the Purple Martin colonies, leading walks the first four Fridays of the season at 4:15 p.m. Anyone interested is invited to meet at 2 p.m. at the entrance to the Bentley Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is located at the end of Bentley Road, off Fluvanna Road to the right (if heading north), near the Fluvanna Community Church. Bring sturdy, mud-proof footwear and dress for the weather. With the wonderful background information Gulvin provides, a pencil and paper are often welcome accessories. Since it is also a great time for birds, consider bringing binoculars. The fee is $8 or $6 for Friends of the Nature Center. Reservations are not required. If you can’t make it on May 10, you can visit the Bentley Sanctuary on your own any time between dawn and dusk. To learn more, call (716) 569-2345 or visit ###

Posted in News Release, Program, Wildflowers

Birdathon II – May 16-17, 2015

Join the Nature Center’s May 16-17 Birdathon

Jamestown, NY – The Audubon Nature Center invites you to participate in Birdathon II, their second birdathon of the season, on Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17.


The Audubon Nature Center invites you to participate in Birdathon II on Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17. Participants are encouraged to list the birds they see wherever they are and to report their results. As this picture shows, bird watching is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors with others.

The Nature Center welcomes bird lovers of every level and at any location to keep a list of the birds they see during the weekend and report the species to the Center. Audubon will tally the total number of species seen and ask for donations for the effort, either per species or a total amount.

If you want to join others who will be enjoying the birds, come to the Bird Banding from 7-11 a.m. on May 16 at the Nature Center. You can observe birds up close and also watch them in the trees. Local bird experts will help you locate them, identify them and enjoy their springs songs.

New this year, there will be a special award for the person who sees the most birds while using the least amount of gas. To win this prize, let us know how many miles you traveled in a gas-burning vehicle — or consider using a bike.

You can participate whether you prefer to bird in your own backyard or you want to travel to see if you can see 100 species in a day. You can ask your friends to sponsor you or just contribute your count to the total.

You can also participate by donating to the Birdathon. Money raised will support the Nature Center’s environmental education programs.

To pledge a set amount or amount per species, call (716) 569-2345 or use the online form by clicking through “Birdathon II” at

Participants are asked to provide their species list to Audubon President Ruth Lundin by May 24 to be a part of the tally that will be reported at the May 27 Roger Tory Peterson Institute Ornithological Club Meeting. Lundin can be reached at (716) 569-2345 or

Sunday, May 17, is the Buffalo Ornithological Society Bird Count, so you can even double up and report your birds in two places. You can contact Ruth Lundin for information on how to report your count there as well.

The Audubon Nature Center is at 1600 Riverside Road, off Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania. Center hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, Sundays 1-4:30 p.m. The trails and Bald Eagle viewing are open dawn to dusk daily.

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


Posted in Birds, Fundraiser, News Release

Worm Composting Workshop – May 19, 2015

Nature Center Taste of Nature Series: Worm Composting

Jamestown, NY – Did you know that worms can convert your food scraps into nutrient-rich compost for your garden?

You can learn how at the Audubon Nature Center’s next Taste of Nature Series class on Tuesday evening, May 19, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Juliette Enfield from Penn State Cooperative Extension will cover the basics of worm composting, also known as vermicomposting. She will share techniques on keeping a low maintenance and odorless worm compost bin.

In this workshop, participants will:
• Learn about worm biology.
• Learn how to maintain a worm compost bin indoors and out.
• Learn how small farms are using worm composting to reduce waste and fertilize crops.
• Create and take home their very own worm bin with Red Wiggler worms.
Bins, worms and some food scraps and bedding will be provided.

Worm Composting will be the subject of the Audubon Nature Center’s nextTaste of Nature Series class on Tuesday evening, May 19. Participants will create and take home their very own worm bin with Red Wiggler worms, like those pictured here.

Fee is $24 or $18 for Friends of the Nature Center, and class size is limited.
Reservations are required by Friday, May 15: call (716) 569-2345 or use the on-line form by clicking on “Taste of Nature: Worm Composting” 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


Posted in Class, News Release, Program