Audubon Annual Meeting Welcomes New Board Members, Shares Achievements

Staff members were happy to take on different roles at Audubon Community Nature Center’s recent annual meeting get-together. Serving beverages were Sarah Hatfield, education coordinator, pictured at left, and Kim Turner, designer and animal care specialist.

The Audubon Community Nature Center recently hosted its annual meeting for members, board and staff.

Executive Director Leigh Rovegno introduced Tina Downey, board chair, who covered business items, including introducing new board members Pat Evans and Bob Klebacha of Warren, Miles Hilton of Jamestown, and Peter Stark of Ashville. Board Treasurer Greg Lyle presented the auditor’s report.

Rovegno thanked outgoing board members Tim Piotrowski and Willow Fodor for their six years of service. Continuing board members include Downey as board chair; Louise Boutwell, Dave Burlee, first vice chairs; Andrew Harrington, Laurie Korb, Netta Lindell, secretary; Dr. Erin Pender, and Dr. Eugenie Poignard, second vice chair.

In a powerpoint, Rovegno defined philanthropy as “a love of humankind and voluntary action for the common good.” She shared that Audubon’s Culture of Philanthropy includes that “ACNC’s staff, board, volunteers, and members believe that having a real and healthy connection to nature is an essential part of the human experience.”

Audubon 2022-23 capital improvements included point-of-sale software and hardware upgrades funded by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, the preschool play area funded by Bob and Kathy Frucella, A-Frame improvements funded by the Sheldon Foundation, Snapper the Snapping Turtle’s tank funded by ACNC Habitat Heroes and new fireplace room flooring funded by the CRCF.

Wildlife walk interpretive signage and kiosk funded by the Lenna Foundation in 2022 are expected to be completed soon, and a number of capital projects are proposed for 2023-24. With committed funding from the Lenna Foundation, an onsite medical facility to provide basic care for Audubon’s birds of prey will become a reality. Doug and Lamae McCullor’s support is making possible dual-height mounted binoculars at Big Pond’s Blue Heron Overlook.

After Rovegno described the center’s land use management vision and plan as well as invasive species management, Jeff Tome, public engagement specialist, described Audubon’s gardens and distinctive species. Terry LeBaron, building and grounds manager, talked about the center’s unique approach to beaver management.

Piotrowski added levity to the gathering with a contest to identify animal calls. Winners were rewarded with prizes of their choosing.

The Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Visit the nearly 600-acre nature preserve, check in on the live birds of prey, enjoy the native tree arboretum, and natural play space, and hike more than five miles of trails dawn until dusk daily for free.

The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, a collection of live animals including the Hellbender exhibit, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop. Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Nature Center members and SNAP/EBT cardholders have free building admission daily. Building admission is also free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members.

To learn more about Audubon and its programs, call 716-569-2345, find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook, or visit AudubonCNC.org.


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