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Audubon’s virtual First Friday: A mathematician/artist’s journey

The Audubon Community Nature Center’s First Friday Lunch Bunch is going virtual on June 5 at 11 a.m.

In Stephanie Zwyghuizen’s presentation on “Local Treasures,” the Jamestown Community College professor of mathematics will share how she uses photography as a means of exploration, nature therapy and citizen science.

Nature is full of treasures, from bluebells and bluebirds to dragonflies and tamarack. Also a photographer, printmaker, and naturalist, Zwyghuizen will take those attending on a photographic journey through the nature of the area while explaining how photos can help scientists, historians and more. Throughout wetlands, forests, and fields, the Chautauqua and Warren county regions have a wealth of biodiversity that might go unnoticed.

Zwyghuizen is not a newcomer to virtual teaching. At JCC she has presented online instruction, ITV courses, computer-lab based classes, and traditional lecture settings with diverse groups of students at all levels of mathematics — and even a philosophy course on occasion. In addition to degrees from Michigan’s Grand Valley State University and Northern Arizona University, she has graduate certification in teaching in the virtual classroom from Fielding Graduate University in California. Zwyghuizen’s artwork has been exhibited widely in the region. She describes nature as her sanctuary, “somewhere to experience physical, emotional, and spiritual renewal. My artwork attempts to capture those feelings and to share the experience with others. Even my more whimsical pieces still feature elements from the natural world, these depictions becoming the icons of my sanctuary.”

A participant in a number of local races, including Audubon’s Wild 5K, Zwyghuizen volunteers with the Chautauqua County Humane Society, where she works with animals, trains new volunteers, and assists with the Humane Society’s Second Chances Thrift Store.

The fee for participating in First Friday is $8 or $6 for Nature Center members.

Those who register online will receive an email link to join via Zoom. The session will be recorded, and the video will be available through June 30 for those who register but cannot take part in the live session.

Registrations are accepted through June 5 by calling 569-2345 during business hours or going online to AudubonCNC.org/Programs and clicking “Current Schedule.”

The Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, just east of Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown. Although the Nature Center building is closed until further notice due to COVID-19 per New York state restrictions, visitors can walk the trails and view Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, from dawn to dusk daily while practicing safe social distancing measures. The Blue Heron Gift Shop is also open for drive-through sales; visit AudubonCNC.org/Shop for more information.

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