Audubon Nature Center’s 2016 Snowflake Festival on Saturday — snow or no snow

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. – The hardest thing you’ll have to do at the Audubon Nature Center’s Snowflake Festival will be deciding what to do first.

You can try snowshoes, tapping a maple tree, or making butter. Learn how to make soap, spin yarn, or forage for wild edibles. Enjoy good food, good company, and live animals.

All these and much more await you at this winter celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

Along with the printed program you’ll receive on arrival, it will help with your planning to know that you can take a guided walk with a naturalist at 10:30 in the morning or 12:30 in the afternoon.

At 11 a.m., Wild Spirit Education will give an indoor presentation on Owl Ecology, where you can see live owls and learn the awesome ways they get around at night. At noon you can meet and greet their owls and hawks and take your own photos. At the 1:00 presentation on these Birds of Prey, you can learn all their unique adaptations that make them effective hunters.

Horses will be drawing wagons for rides from noon to 4:00.

Throughout the day you can pet Dun Roving Farm’s Suri Alpacas in their outdoor pen and get behind-the-scenes tours of the home of Liberty, the Nature Center’s resident Bald Eagle. Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue will give kicksled demonstrations and describe the distinctive characteristics of their beautiful animals.

While you’re outside you can also try ice bowling, snowshoes or cross country skiing with equipment provided, sample outdoor cooking, make s’mores, or just stand by the fire.

Back inside you can learn about ways to live a bit lighter on the planet through interactive activities, building a bird nest box or suet feeder, learning how to make your own soap, and making baskets and braided rugs. You can watch wood carvers and see textile demonstrations by a spinner, weaver, knitters, and others who can turn fleece into clothing.

Also indoors you can visit the friendly animals in need of homes from the Chautauqua County Humane Society, as well as the Nature Center’s own education animals, including fish, reptiles, and amphibians. And don’t miss the children’s crafts, Chinese auction, door prizes, raffle, and great shopping at the Blue Heron Gift Shop.

Be sure to bring your appetite with you. All-American Barbeque and the Eastside Fellowship Club will have chili, hot dogs, chicken noodle soup, hot chocolate, soda, and more. Franklin’s Honey & Apples will offer kettle corn, cotton candy, honey, apple chips, and honeystix. You can enjoy Stedman Corners Coffee Roasters coffee, along with a sweet bite from 3 C’s Catering. Or get a s’mores kit in the backyard and make your own right over the fire!

Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts of any age group, and other interested boys and girls can earn the right to purchase a Winter Fun patch. When you arrive, ask for a patch requirements check list at the reception desk in the main building. With completion of at least four of the activities listed, patches can be purchased for $3.00 each, available on a first-come, first-served basis. There will also be a scavenger hunt that kids can complete by visiting the booths and returning to the desk for a prize.

You can see a youtube video of “Snowflake Festival 2015” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY4L5m3DEWM&feature=youtu.be.

Admission to the Festival is $6; children 3-12 are $2, and those two and under are free. Extra fees apply for horse-drawn wagon rides, bluebird house building, Chinese auction, raffles, and food.

United Refining is a major sponsor of the 2016 Snowflake Festival. Other sponsors include Orkin Pest Control, 3 C’s Catering, Herbs R 4 U Inc., Ed Shults of Warren, Whitmire Outdoor Living & Block Co., Bodell Overcash Anderson & Co., James M. Smith CLU/ChFC, Courier Capital Corp., Tri James Services Inc., Dun Roving Farm, MW Graphics, and Stedman Corners Coffee Roasters.

The Audubon Nature Center is conveniently located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

To learn more, call (716) 569-2345 or visit jamestownaudubon.org.