Audubon launches new member drive

Submitted Photo Pictured are some of Audubon Community Nature Center members and staff who invite everyone to become a member during Audubon's "More the Merrier" new member drive. In addition to all the usual membership benefits, there are special incentives for those who join between March 1 and April 30.

JAMESTOWN — It’s a big undertaking, but Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) staff, members and volunteers are confident they can accomplish it: Increase their membership by more than 25 percent in just two months.

“We’re up to the challenge!” declared ACNC President Leigh Rovegno in announcing “More the Merrier,” the plan to take the area’s prized nature center from just under 800 members to 1,000 by April 30.

Rovegno, who came to ACNC last summer, said that in addition to supporting Audubon’s mission to connect people with nature, membership already includes a number of benefits: free admission to the Nature Center building, 10 percent off facilities rentals and Blue Heron Gift Shop purchases, a bimonthly newsletter, discounts on summer day camp, programs and events, and more. Most importantly, she points out that by increasing membership, together we ensure that every child in the Jamestown area has a real and healthy connection to nature. She (and ACNC) believes that this connection is vital to childhood development, and something that is irreplaceable.

“Audubon has so much to offer,” Rovegno affirmed. The 600-acre wetland preserve located between Jamestown, New York and Warren, Pennsylvania, has a native tree arboretum, nature play space, gardens, picnic area, more than five miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing, and Liberty, a non-releasable bald eagle.

Open seven days a week, the three-story Nature Center building contains interactive displays, a collection of live animals, the Blue Heron Gift Shop, and is the venue for programs and events ranging from workshops on decorating Ukrainian eggs and tending apple trees to events including the ever-popular Enchanted Forest.

Audubon naturalists and trained volunteers present nature education programs for all ages, including 19,000+ contacts with school children in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Warren Counties every year. They work with local school districts to develop programs that meet the needs of teachers as well as the students.

“We’re asking our members to think about the reasons Audubon is important to them, and then to encourage a friend or family to join them,” Rovegno continued. “It’s that simple – and we have incentives to make new membership all the more attractive.”

New members will receive $5 off the price of their membership, be entered into a raffle for a private (up to five others of their choice) “behind the scenes” visit with Liberty and be invited to the Members’ Brunch on Saturday, May 4, when there will also be bird banding and the annual birdathon events taking place.

“We already have two matching commitments of $1,000 each from current Audubon members, plus the support from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to help make this campaign a success,” Rovegno said. “We look forward to welcoming new members into the rich community that has existed through the Audubon for over 60 years.”

Rovegno concluded by giving special acknowledgement to long-time Membership Committee Chairs Linda Anderson and Sandy Fletcher for their continuing work to welcome new members into the Audubon community. For more information and to become a member, call 569-2345 during business hours or go online to auduboncnc.org/memberships.

To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call 569-2345 during business hours or visit auduboncnc.org.