Volunteer Needs During COVID-19

During this quarantine period for COVID-19 crisis, Audubon still has ways that you can help from home, if you are able.


Interested in volunteering? View the volunteer needs below to see how you can help.
Questions? Please email Katie Finch.

Current Volunteer Opportunities:

1. Plant and Foster Milkweed Seeds

Monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed plants. It is the only food that Monarch caterpillars eat. By planting milkweed seeds, we create more habitat for Monarchs. ACNC has the milkweed seeds. Volunteers are needed to plant and foster them until we can share the plants at our Monarch Festival, currently scheduled for August 29, 2020.

How to help:

Call the nature center (716) 569-2345 and schedule a time to pick up a packet of milkweed seeds. (They have already been cold stratified.) Take them home and plant them in a tray or pot filled with well-drained soil, about ¼ inch deep and 1/4 – 1/2 inch apart. Place in a warm, sunny location. Mist lightly until they germinate. Once they get a few inches tall, transplant them to larger pots to give them more room to grow. Once the danger of frost has passed, you can move the pots outside.

2. Collect Fairy House and Fairy Garden Materials

Audubon’s Dragons and Fairies Festival, originally on June 27 has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2020. Fairy House and Garden building crafts are a creative part of the event. ACNC has some of the supplies. Volunteers are needed to collect more.

How to help:

Collect the following supplies. If collecting natural materials, store them in a well-ventilated container if they need to dry. Do not pick any live plants. Do not collect invasive species.

  • Sticks: no longer than 2 feet
  • Pieces of bark
  • Dried seed pods
  • Small pinecones
  • Small rocks
  • Grapevines (ideally woven into circles)
  • Acorn hats
  • Pussy Willow buds
  • Seashells
  • Beach glass
3. Make Dragon Eggs

Audubon’s Dragons and Fairies Festival, originally on June 27 has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2020. A dragon egg hunt was a popular activity last year so more eggs are needed.

How to help:

Use your creativity to design and create an egg that looks like it has been laid by a dragon. Look up ideas online. They need to be water resistant (i.e. not papier mâché), standard “Easter Egg” sizes (no oversized eggs), and no glitter (though glitter glue is ok).

Here’s an idea to get you started. Use a plastic Easter egg as the base. Coat it with a layer of Elmer’s glue or ModPodge. This makes the paint stick better. Add some puffy paint in squiggles and dots. Paint with acrylic paint. Add some glitter glue for some sparkle.

4. Pull Garlic Mustard

Pull this invasive plant out of the Ted Grisez Arboretum to celebrate Earth Day. Audubon has provided garbage bags and identification materials behind the fire escape in the backyard. Volunteers are needed to come out and pull Garlic Mustard out of the arboretum and in other places on the grounds. Come out, stay away from others, and help Audubon by pulling plants for awhile. Please bring your own gloves. 

Please contact Jeff Tome with any questions at jtome@auduboncnc.org

5. Pull Water Chestnut - June 6

Water Chestnut Pull (Adults)
Saturday, June 6, 2020

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. registration
9:00 a.m. – noon Work Party

Reservations required by midnight June 4, 2020. Limited capacity.
Registration Required – Click here to register

Your help is needed to help Audubon pull Water Chestnut out of Big Pond. This invasive plant from Asia takes over shallow ponds and steals the light and nutrients from native plants. Volunteers will walk and kayak in the pond to pull the plants, which should be about the size of a half dollar at this time of year.

Audubon has a limited number of kayaks and waders for volunteers to use. Volunteers and staff will not share equipment due to coronavirus. ACNC encourages you to bring your own chest waders if you have them, wear long pants, closed-toed shoes, and sunscreen. There is a brief training session prior to the pull and ACNC requests that you wear masks during this training. Most of the time you will be able to physically distance yourself from others during the pull.

Staff and volunteers have been striving to remove this plant for the last eight years and have made great progress. The seeds remain viable in the pond muck for as long as 12 years. By pulling the plants each year, fewer and fewer seeds remain. Eventually, only minimal pulling to safeguard the pond will be needed.

Special Information: Bring a change of clothes or towels. Gloves and a limited amount of gear is provided. If you have chest waders, ACNC encourages you to bring them. Bring your own snacks and drinks.

RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program)

Many of ACNC’s volunteers are registered with RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.


Audubon Community Nature Center
1600 Riverside Road
Jamestown, NY 14701

(716) 569-2345

Click here for directions

Hours and Admission

Nature Center:

Monday - Saturday
10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Click here for holiday closings

Temporarily by donation

Grounds and Liberty:

Daily, year round from dawn to dusk
Free of charge

Thank you, Community Partners

Audubon Community Partners make a significant financial contribution each year because they believe that every child deserves the opportunity to have a real and healthy connection to nature.

Curt and Susie Westrom

Bob and Kathy Frucella
Carnahan-Jackson Foundation

Chautauqua Region Community Foundation
Holmberg Foundation
Hultquist Foundation
Jessie Smith Darrah Fund

Lenna Foundation
Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation