Nature more than a green blur

“I wish I had spent more time learning what it out there” a volunteer mentioned to me recently. One of a group of active hiking and biking people, she has sped through nature at breakneck speeds. This is what many people, including myself, do. Hiking and biking is exercise, not exploring time.

People pass through the woods so quickly we see only a wash of green and some chipmunks scrambling to get out of the way. There is a lot more happening out there than that. The forest is full of tales waiting to tell themselves to the watchful eye. One of the reasons that the Audubon Nature Center exists is to help people explore the world around them and learn how to discover those tales for themselves.

Spring may be one of the most exciting times of year to start looking closer at things. There is SO much going on that no one can keep track of all of it. Vernal Pools start filling with magical looking eggs that look like pearls while native shrimp glide past. Male spring Peepers sing at the top of their tiny froggy lungs to attract a girl peeper. Other males wait quietly in a circle around the loud one, hoping to intercept the girl before she gets to the loud singer.

Spring is full of nature drama. What does a bird that eats only insects do when a sudden snowstorm hits the area? Several of these birds are here now. Tree Swallows and Phoebes are among the most common. They slip out over the water, grabbing low flying insects, or look for small moths and other insects that still fly in the cold. Survival for them requires ingenuity, adaptability and an incredible knowledge of their world to find food in the snow.

There is so much going on that it is impossible to figure out where to start to look for things. That is one of the reasons that we are offering a spring adult day camp. This camp is for the person who wants to get outside and discover more about all the things happening outside.

This adult camp will go exploring for the exotic life in fishless pools of snow-melted water, delve tongue first into wild edible plants, and use binoculars to spot the colorful birds that are returning from their long hot winter in warmer climes.

One of the most important part of any class is that the teacher is passionate about the topic. The same is true of our adult day camp. Each of our naturalists has taken on a topic they love and are excited to share. That passion shows up not only in their excitement, but in their knowledge. The more we love something, the more we learn about it and the more joy we take in sharing it.

The Audubon Nature Center’s Adult Day Camp runs from April 27 through April 29. Camp meets each day from 12:30pm-4:00pm and costs $80 for three days or $60 for Friends of the Nature Center.

There is something pretty amazing that happens when people come outside in a big group to learn. Every discovery leads to questions that lead to more discoveries and more questions. A group of like-minded adults is an absolute blast to learn with, from different points of view to irreverent questions to another pair of eyes seeing something that everyone else missed.

There are a lot of programs for adults, children and families coming up at the Audubon Nature Center. For more information, go to jamestownaudubon.org or call (716) 569-2345. Visit the Nature Center at 1600 Riverside Road, just east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.

Jeff Tome is a naturalist at the Audubon Nature Center.