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Nature Center partial reopening starting Saturday

Submitted Photo Beginning Saturday, September 5, the first floor of the Audubon Community Nature Center building will re-open to the public Mondays through Saturdays. Because not all of the building will be accessible, admission is by donation only. "Snapper," the Snapping Turtle who moves from his home in the Discovery Room to his outdoor enclosure during the warm months, is just one of the creatures that can fascinate visitors of all ages. Visitors are required to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing recommendations while inside the building.

JAMESTOWN — Since closing its doors in mid-March, the Audubon Community Nature Center has remained closed to daily visitors through the summer to help limit the risk of summer day camp participants’ potential exposure to COVID-19.

Now that day camp has wrapped up for the 2020 season, Audubon staff are working hard to prepare parts of the building to re-open to daily visitors starting on Saturday, September 5.

The public is are invited to come and say “hello” to Lincoln, Hershey, Ebenezer and the rest of the Audubon critters who have been lonely without their visitors. Renovations accomplished during the closure include renovations to the indoor nature play area made possible through a grant from the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, new and improved toilets made possible through a grant from the Lenna Foundation and a new “Lost Words” exhibit.

The center is also home to a new “A Few of Our Favorite Things” art exhibit created by children during the pandemic thanks to the “Nature Art Kits” provided by funding from the United Arts Appeal of Chautauqua County Projects Pool Grants Program.

Starting Saturday, Sept. 5, the restrooms, Blue Heron Gift Shop, Discovery Room, and other first floor exhibit spaces (with some COVID-19-related modifications) will be open. The indoor nature play area on the third floor will be available by reservation only to help limit contact between family groups.

“Because access to the exhibits will be limited to the first floor, we feel it’s important to adjust our typical building admission prices,” said Leigh Rovegno, Audubon Community Nature Center executive director. “Until we are able to open up more of the building to daily visitors, admission will be ‘by donation’ only. We hope that our visitors appreciate this gesture, but also understand that we will continue to have building-related expenses, including general utilities and cleaning costs which are necessary to provide a safe and enjoyable visitor experience.”

Starting Saturday, Sept. 5, the Nature Center’s building hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday. Visitors are required to wear face coverings while inside the building and to adhere to social distancing recommendations.

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. The public is welcome to visit the 600-acre nature preserve from dawn to dusk daily. Enjoy the native tree arboretum, gardens, picnic area, and six miles of trails, and view Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, while practicing safe social distancing measures.

For more information, call 569-2345 during open hours, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook.

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