Jamestown, N.Y. On November 11, 2021, Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) had a quiet ribbon-cutting on the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat (PAWWH) that will soon showcase a variety of birds of prey that are found within the region.

A graduate of Jamestown High School, Northeastern University and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Pam Westrom was an environmentalist, pilot, sky diver, scuba diver and hang-glider, but her passions were sailing and birding.

Audubon Executive Director Leigh Rovegno said, “We want to recognize Pam for leading a life that was inspired by nature, and we are so grateful to her for providing the funds that allowed us to create this incredible new facility!”

Westrom’s brother, Curt Westrom, and his wife, Susie, of Bemus Point, New York, participated in the ribbon-cutting. 

Rovegno thanks the Westroms, “For encouraging us to dream far bigger than the original small enclosure we were thinking of, for trusting us to create something that truly honors Pam’s memory, and for investing in ACNC’s future and commitment to providing real and healthy connections to nature.”

The Lenna Foundation, Scott Electric, and the Cummins Foundation are recognized for providing funds to help cover increased construction costs due to COVID and to purchase necessary items to furnish the prep-room: refrigerator, freezers, sinks, storage, and such.

The Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation recently awarded a grant that will provide funding for a paved access trail around the new enclosures which will increase accessibility for visitors.

Hundreds of individual donors believed in the project and contributed through Give Big Chautauqua and the 2021 ACNC Birdathon fundraisers.  

It took many people and organizations to complete the project.

ACNC Education Coordinator Sarah Hatfield was construction manager.

Animal Care Specialist Kim Turner designed the building, and over the past year has been participating in weekly training with Tamarack Wildlife Center as part of the licensing and permitting process. 

Then-Senior Nature Educators Jeff Tome and Katie Finch were in charge of landscaping, access, and educational interpretation.

C&R Construction, who built the project and was present at the ribbon-cutting, is described as “Contractor Extraordinaire.”

Buildings and Grounds Manager Terry LeBaron, Jerry Hildom, and the ACNC OWL Volunteers assisted with various tasks, such as mounting the plaque and making adjustments to the structure as needed.

While the interior of the building is complete, work remains to be done before residents can move in. Turner is completing her required number of training hours, and permits have been submitted to acquire birds.  

Audubon is waiting to hear about the permits to complete the aviaries to the needs of the individual birds. For instance, a large hawk would have different perch sizes and needs than a small hawk, so ACNC has to learn about the bird to create what they need.

The acquisition process is slow, but the hope is to have birds sometime next year.

In the meantime, the public is welcome to visit Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle,  in her outdoor enclosure next to the Pamela A. Westrom Wildlife Habitat. Liberty can be viewed from dawn to dusk daily, at no charge. 

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. You can enjoy the grounds and use the six miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing for free from dawn to dusk every day as well.

The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, a collection of live animals including the Hellbender exhibit, the 2021 Nature Photography Contest winners, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop. Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 14:30 p.m. Nature Center members enjoy free building admission daily, and building admission is free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members as well. 

The building will be closed on Christmas Eve and Day and New Year’s Day.

To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345, visit AudubonCNC.org, or find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook. All visitors, volunteers, and staff are required to wear face coverings while inside the building; any updates to these requirements can be found at the COVID-19 Notice on that webpage.

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways.