Jamestown, N.Y. – Last Friday afternoon (June 8) the Nature Center building at Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) was filled with well-wishers expressing their appreciation to now-retired president Ruth Lundin for her 19 years of service.
Following a food-laden social hour, tributes were paid to Lundin by a host of key Audubon figures and community leaders.
ACNC board chair Pierre Chagnon described Lundin as “the Yoda of Audubon,” noting her stronger-than-most connection to nature and the board’s realization under her direction that their “product” is wonder. He thanked her for her guidance, devotion to task, and welcoming demeanor, offering his best wishes in her next phase and welcoming her to the Retirement Club.
Lundin’s brief remarks focused on thanking those who helped build ACNC to what it is today, from Jim Yaich, its first director, to all the staff and volunteers, including “board, membership, events, building and grounds, gardeners, and others who fill every need we have.” She said she looks forward to working side by side with those present to continue to better the community.
Former ACNC board member Peter Stark noted the Ruth Lundin Environmental Internship Endowment Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, established by the Lenna Foundation and contributed to by the Sheldon Foundation. Current board member Rose Stark described her challenges in finding a gift related to the Brown Creeper, Lundin’s favorite bird, and then presented her with a lovely woodcarving of the small songbird.
Sheldon Foundation Executive Director Linda Swanson shared some of the unusual needs Lundin had requested of them, from roofing to funding the Education Plan, and said that more than half of the support Sheldon has provided for Audubon has been during Lundin’s tenure.
New York State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell shared his personal history with Audubon and said to Lundin, who came here from a position in Ohio, “You came from outside, but you came inside.”
Senior Naturalist Jeff Tome read a warmhearted message from volunteer John Willsie, who was unable to be present.
Craig Thompson is Vice Chair of the Audubon Council of New York State that represents 27 Audubon chapter members. Noting that he once worked at ACNC and is now returning to the area, he praised Lundin for her many initiatives at the state level and pointed out that “there is no ‘I’ in Ruth.”
Retired Roger Tory Peterson Institute President Jim Berry said he and Lundin had been colleagues and friends from when they both worked in Ohio. He cited her impact on the national and international levels as former president of the Association of Nature Center Administrators.
ACNC board member and founder/CEO of Whirley Industries in Warren, Pa., Bob Sokolski completed the program by sharing how Lundin engaged him in Audubon. Lundin returned the favor by noting that with Sokolski’s help, Audubon is now presenting education programs in schools throughout Warren County.
Those who would like to recognize Lundin’s service to the community can do so with a gift to the Ruth Lundin Environmental Internship Endowment Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Gifts can be made online at crcfonline.org, by calling the Foundation at (716) 661-3390, or by mailing a check with the name of the fund in the memo line to 418 Spring Street, Jamestown, NY 14701.
Audubon’s new president, Leigh Rovegno, is relocating from Colorado and will assume her duties later this summer. Program Director Jennifer Schlick will provide leadership in the interim.
Located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa., Audubon Community Nature Center has more than five miles of beautifully maintained trails on a 600-acre wetland preserve. Its three-story building, open daily, houses the Blue Heron Gift Shop and a collection of live fish, reptiles, and amphibians. One of the most visited exhibits is Liberty, a non-releasable Bald Eagle, in her outdoor habitat.
To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345 or visit auduboncnc.org.
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.