Audubon has Lively Annual Meeting

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Audubon Community Nature Center celebrated the end of its fiscal year recently with a virtual New Year’s Eve Party and annual meeting. Audubon staff, pictured here at their retreat this summer on Lake Erie, led various portions of the event.

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Audubon Community Nature Center

With the Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) fiscal year ending on September 30, staff, board of directors, members, and volunteers celebrated with a virtual New Year’s Eve Party and Annual Meeting.

ACNC Executive Director Leigh Rovegno opened the meeting, and Education Coordinator Sarah Hatfield gave a brief background on Audubon’s Three Trees/pillars concept. Education Assistant/Designer Kim Turner described ACNC’s JEDI work.

Senior Nature Educator Katie Finch organized small group discussions around the two questions: If Audubon were to close its doors tomorrow, what would you miss the most and what would the community miss the most?

Rovegno and Volunteer Coordinator Tina Preston introduced the “uniquely Audubon” bingo game that featured facts from the past year and from Audubon’s history. Winners were John Jablonski III, executive dIrector of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, and Audubon Gift Shop Manager Joanne Miller.

Audubon Public Engagement Specialist Jeff Tome presented a photo slideshow showing some of the many things that took place over the last year at ACNC, from programs to volunteers to new construction projects.

Rovegno described ACNC as “a living, breathing organization” that has undergone many transitions in the past two years, noting how the education staff has risen to the challenges necessitated by the pandemic. She also introduced additional staffers: Nature Educator Chelsea Jandreau, Receptionist Claire Certo, and Buildings and Grounds Manager Terry LeBaron.

The organization was pleased to announce that, despite the loss of most of its school contracts for 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was able to make up for all of its lost school revenue through the addition of on-site programs, including the Nature Schoolhouse Series. These programs provided essential childcare for families with full-time working parents who had children attending school only part-time due to the pandemic.

ACNC Board Chair Andrew Harrington presided over the re-election of himself and Greg Lyle to the board and the election of new members Laurie Korb and Antoinetta (Netta) Lindell.

Relocated from Seattle, Wash., where she volunteered at the Woodland Park Zoo, Korb is a resident of Warren, Pa. When not working at her husband’s side in the outdoors, the retired medical professional enjoys the time that she spends with family and friends, gardening, cooking and baking, quilting, reading, and raising chickens.

Lindell is a lifelong resident of Warren County, Pa., where she is the owner of Ekey Florist and Greenhouse as well as the manager of her family’s farm market, Lindell’s Hatch Patch. She graduated from Penn State Behrend with degrees in International Business, Business Management, and a Master in Business Administration.

Harrington thanked outgoing board members Robert (Bob) Klebacha and Penny Lester, both of Warren, Pa., who each served as board members for two consecutive terms. Klebacha was the board’s treasurer and Lester, the board secretary. Both were celebrated at the event and recognized for their many contributions, including significant improvements to personnel- and finance-related initiatives.

Additional continuing Audubon Board members include: Louise Boutwell (Randolph, N.Y.), Dave Burlee (Mayville, N.Y.), Linnea Carlson (Frewsburg, N.Y.), Willow Fodor (Jamestown, N.Y.), Elisabeth Hall (Sinclairville, N.Y.), Tim Piotrowski (Busti, N.Y.), Tim Smeal (Jamestown, N.Y.), Piper Van Ord (Warren, Pa), and Brittany Wilcox (Warren, Pa).

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. Anyone can enjoy the grounds, with its six miles of trails, and view Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, dawn to dusk daily, free of charge.

The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, a collection of live animals including the new Hellbender exhibit, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop. Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 1 – 4:30 p.m. Nature Center members enjoy free building admission daily, and building admission is free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members as well.

Audubon takes into consideration regional data from both Chautauqua and Warren counties to make COVID-19 related decisions and to follow CDC recommendations at minimum. For ACNC’s most up-to-date COVID-19 equirements, which include information on face coverings and gathering limitations, visit AudubonCNC.org [2] and read the COVID-19 Notice at the top of the page.

To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345, find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook, or visit AudubonCNC.org. All visitors, volunteers, and staff are required to wear face coverings while inside the building. Any updates to these requirements can be found at the COVID-19 Notice on that webpage.

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways.