By Leigh Rovegno, Executive Director

The whispers started weeks and months before. Would the eclipse bring thousands? Would we have enough parking? Would the sky even cooperate? A million unknowns hung over Audubon Community Nature Center like a pre-dawn mist.

Then, April 8 arrived. Clouds, of course there were clouds! But for those of us gathered at Audubon, the overcast sky became a shared joke, a nervous giggle in the face of the unknown. Because for these 250 people, from 13 states and even a few traveling from abroad, Jamestown, NY wasn’t just a point on the map, it was the epicenter of wonder.

We weren’t sure what to expect. Maybe 20 people, maybe 2,000 – the anticipation felt like a knot in my stomach. But as the day unfolded, another feeling replaced it: a fierce sense of pride. Here, at our little Nature Center, we were offering a space for people to witness the universe unfold.

The initial disappointment of clouds slowly gave way to a different kind of anticipation. It was like nature itself was holding its breath. As the clock ticked closer to totality, a hush fell, punctuated by the murmur of excited voices and the symphony of spring. The Leopard Frogs rumbled, the birds chirped – a crescendo of nature’s own orchestra.

Then, the light dimmed. It wasn’t a darkness, but a hush, a collective indrawn breath. And in that moment, beneath the watchful gaze of the eclipsed sun, something profound happened. It wasn’t just the awe of the spectacle, but a connection. Humans and nature, united in a shared experience that transcended language and species. Raw emotion filled the air, tears, laughter, a chorus of gasps, whispers, and cheers.

The world darkened, and then bloomed back into light. It was a humbling reminder of nature’s power, of our own small place in the grand scheme of things. At Audubon Community Nature Center, we celebrate that connection, that sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. It’s a community built on wonder, a haven where people travel for miles to witness the awe-inspiring power of nature.

This total solar eclipse wasn’t just a celestial event, it was a testament to the power of shared experience. And for those who were there, Audubon Community Nature Center will forever be etched in their memory – a place where strangers became a community, united under the watchful eye of the universe.

My heart overflows with gratitude. Gratitude for being part of something bigger, for the power of nature to connect us all, and for the privilege of witnessing a total solar eclipse alongside such a remarkable community.

This is what Audubon Community Nature Center is all about. Come, join us. Let’s share some awe and wonder together.

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature. ACNC is located just east of Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown. The trails are open from dawn to dusk and birds of prey can be viewed anytime the trails are open. The Nature Center is open from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily except Sunday when it opens at 1 p.m. More information can be found online at or by calling (716) 569-2345.