Greystone Nature Preserve holds first nature festival
Greystone Nature Preserve recently held its first ever Nature Festival. The highlight of the festival was guest speaker Dr. Merlin Tuttle, a world-renowned bat biologist and photographer. He was available for a book signing, gave an inspiring talk about bats that displayed photographs he had taken from around the globe, and stayed afterwards to answer questions. His speech reached more than 100 people about the importance of bats to global ecosystems and human health.
Local educator Caroline Bissell of the Chautauqua Institution also gave spoke on bats of New York state. Terry Mosher, Mark Baldwin and John Ruska were featured speakers and workshop leaders focusing on birds. Sarah Sorci led a medicinal plant walk, and local ecologist Priscilla Titus donated dozens of native plants as part of the silent auction as well as a native garden installation project involving festival goers. The Chautauqua County Beekeepers Association presented workshops on bee keeping and their importance.
More than 20 different children’s activities were available along with a host of vendors. Representatives from environmental agencies such as the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Ecology & Environmental Inc., New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Jamestown Community College’s Earth Awareness Club displayed organizational information, assisted in programs, as well as donated to the silent auction.
Just as the sun set, those present celebrated with a fire spinning display, bioacoustic bat walks, eavesdropping on foraging bats using an ultrasonic microphone, and a mist netting demonstration that captured two species of bat to show.
The event was made possible with a Community Benefits grant from Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation; as well as donations from local organizations and individuals, and hard work of Greystone staff, SUNY Fredonia interns, volunteers and friends.