The Audubon Community Nature Center recently made a quiet ribbon cut at the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat which will soon feature a variety of birds of prey found in the area.
A graduate of Jamestown High School, Northeastern University, and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Pam Westrom was an environmentalist, pilot, parachutist, scuba diver, and hang glider, but her passions were sailing and bird watching.
“We want to recognize Pam for leading a life inspired by nature, and we are so grateful to her for providing the funds that have enabled us to create this incredible new facility. “ said Leigh Rovegno, executive director of Audubon.
Westrom’s brother, Curt Westrom, and his wife, Susie, of Bemus Point, New York, participated in the ribbon cutting.
Rovegno thanks the Westroms, “For encouraging us to dream so much bigger than the original small enclosure we thought, for trusting us to create something that truly honors Pam’s memory, and for investing in the future and commitment. from ACNC to providing real, healthy connections to nature. “
The Lenna Foundation, Scott Electric and the Cummins Foundation are recognized for providing funds to help cover increased construction costs due to COVID and to purchase the items needed to furnish the prep room: refrigerators, freezers, sinks, storage, etc. The Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation recently awarded a grant that will fund a paved access path around the new enclosures, which will increase accessibility for visitors.
Hundreds of individual donors have contributed through Give Big Chautauqua and the ACNC Birdathon 2021 fundraisers.
Sarah Hatfield, Audubon Education Coordinator, was the Construction Manager. Kim Turner, an animal care specialist, designed the building and, over the past year, has attended weekly training with the Tamarack Wildlife Center as part of the licensing and permitting process. Jeff Tome and Katie Finch, then seasoned nature educators, were responsible for landscaping, access and instructional interpretation. C&R Construction, who built the project and was present at the inauguration, is described as “Extraordinary entrepreneur”. Terry LeBaron, Building and Grounds Manager, Jerry Hildom, and volunteers from the Audubon Community Nature Center helped with various tasks, such as mounting the plaque and making any necessary adjustments to the structure.
While the interior of the building is complete, work remains to be done before residents can move in. Turner is completing the required number of training hours and permits have been submitted to acquire birds.
Audubon is waiting to know the permits to supplement the aviaries to the needs of individual birds. For example, a large hawk would have different perch sizes and needs than a small hawk, so ACNC must learn about the bird to create what it needs. The acquisition process is slow, but Audubon officials hope to have birds next year.
In the meantime, the public is invited to visit Liberty, Audubon’s unreleasable bald eagle, in its outdoor enclosure next to the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat. Liberty can be seen from dawn to dusk daily, free of charge.
The Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, a quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. View the terrain and use the six miles of trails for free hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing from dawn to dusk every day as well. The Nature Center’s three-story building houses interactive exhibits, a collection of live animals, including the Hellbender exhibit, the 2021 Nature Photography Contest winners, and the Blue Heron gift shop. Visitors are welcome Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 4:30 pm Members of the Center de la nature enjoy free entry to the building every day, and admission at the building is also free every Sunday for non-members of the Center de la nature.
The building will be closed on Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Day.
To learn more about Audubon and its programs, call 569-2345, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook. All visitors, volunteers and staff are required to wear face coverings inside the building; any updates to these requirements can be found in the COVID-19 advisory on this webpage.