A pot of mystery soup bubbles in a pot hung over an open fire in the backyard. As guests arrive, they add their contribution into the mix. A quick stir after each addition creates a new brew. This appetizer never fails to generate conversation. Sometimes the resulting mixture is delicious; other times “interesting” is the descriptive word of choice.
This crazy appetizer is followed by a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Audubon provides beverages and the turkey; guests bring side dishes or desserts and their own table service. After the meal, a guest speaker entertains and educates.
It’s a tradition that dates back to 1965 when founding members of the Jamestown Audubon Society held their first “Thanksgiving with the Birds.” This year, we will celebrate on the Saturday before Thanksgiving with a dual spirit of honoring the past while looking to the future.
We honor the past by keeping to the same basic format. We look to the future by extending special encouragement to families with young children to come and be a part of it. The theme for the event is the importance of getting outside – for everyone, and especially for children. Speaker Teresa Corrigan, a first grade teacher and mentor for the after-school nature club, will highlight research that points to the benefits of spending time outside and suggest ways to make that happen more regularly. Children may stay for the talk, or join trail guides for an exploration of the grounds.
What will explorers see? You never know. In April at the Earth Day Volunteer event, volunteers watched a beaver groom itself on the island in the backyard pond. A Cub Scout pack hiked around Spatterdock Pond last weekend and saw a buck and doe. Ruth came to work on a Monday morning and followed the calls of Blue Jays and crows to a tree where a Great Horned Owl was trying to settle in for nap. All work stopped one weekday so we could watch River Otters playing in the backyard pond. Tundra Swans could be passing through.
What will explorers do? Also hard to know. Flip over a log in search of critters? Enjoy the challenges of the outdoor playscape? Practice reading a map, setting a destination, navigating to the target? Play a game?
And when the explorers return, they may want to take their grownups back out on the trails to show them what they saw or did. Set aside the whole afternoon and become a part of this community that has been gathering to build connections with nature since the 1960s.
Saturday, November 19, 2016 is the day. Soup pot starts at 11:30 a.m., dinner at 12:30 p.m. Reservations are requested by Monday, November 14. Call (716) 569-2345.
Teresa Corrigan is an avid hiker and newly-minted Adirondack 46er. She is a member of the Niagara Frontier chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, active with the Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve in Depew, New York, where she serves as a volunteer tour guide, and volunteers at Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, New York. She relishes opportunities to get outside and study wildlife in all four seasons. An educator for 20+ years, Teresa is a first grade teacher in Williamsville, New York, where she also runs a popular after-school nature club for grades 3-4.
Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature. Visit us at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown, or online at auduboncnc.org. The trails and Bald Eagle viewing are open dawn to dusk. The Nature Center is open Sundays-Fridays from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Jennifer Schlick is Program Director at ACNC.