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Audubon: Volunteer possibilities for your stay at home

Photo submitted to Times Observer Audubon Community Nature Center has some suggestions for how you can stay active while supporting nature and nature education. You could collect natural materials so visitors to September’s Dragons and Fairies Festival can make crafts as pictured from last year. You could also plant and foster milkweed seeds, make dragon eggs, or search your home for craft supplies or rummage sale items to donate.

If a lot of “staying at home” is making you restless, Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) has four ideas for activities that would be good for you, good for Audubon, and good for nature:

1. Plant and Foster Milkweed Seeds

Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants, the only food that Monarch caterpillars eat. When you plant milkweed seeds, you create more habitat for Monarchs. Volunteers are needed to plant the seeds and foster the plants until they can be shared at Audubon’s Monarch Festival, currently scheduled for Saturday, August 29, 2020. Call the Nature Center at (716) 569-2345 and schedule a time to pick up a packet of milkweed seeds, complete with directions on what to do next.

2. Collect Fairy House and Fairy Garden materials

Audubon needs more supplies for the Fairy House and Garden building crafts at the Dragons and Fairies Festival now planned for Saturday, September 19, 2020. Volunteers are needed to gather:

Sticks: No longer than 2 feet

Pieces of bark

Dried seed pods

Small pinecones

Small rocks

Grapevines (ideally woven into circles)

Acorn hats

Pussy Willow buds

Seashells

Beach glass

If you are able to collect any of these natural materials, be sure to store them in a well-ventilated container if they need to dry. And, please: Do not pick any live plants or collect invasive species.

3. Make Dragon Eggs

The dragon egg hunt was so popular at last year’s Dragons and Fairies Festival that more eggs are needed this year. You can help by using your creativity to design and create an egg that looks like it has been laid by a dragon, looking up ideas online if you choose. Eggs need to be water resistant (i.e. not papier mache), standard “Easter Egg” sizes (no oversized eggs), and no glitter (though glitter glue is ok).

Here’s an idea to get you started. Use a plastic Easter egg as the base. Coat it with a layer of Elmer’s glue or ModPodge to make the paint stick better. Add some puffy paint in squiggles and dots. Paint with acrylic paint. Add glitter glue for some sparkle.

4. Spring Clean Around the House

If you are home and taking this time to spring clean, consider setting aside some items to donate to Audubon’s craft closet or Rummage Sale, currently rescheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, 2020. Audubon is accepting donations just prior to the sale, on May 22 and 23. All of the proceeds from the Rummage Sale support Audubon’s nature education programs.

Be considerate when selecting things to donate. Items that are severely damaged or dirty are unlikely to be purchased; ACNC does not want to be responsible for disposing of a significant amount of leftover/unwanted items and cannot accept any electronics or clothing.

Audubon does a variety of crafts at programs and festivals and would be happy to receive your extra craft supplies when the Nature Center is again open to the public.

If you have questions about any of these possibilities, email ACNC Senor Nature Educator Katie Finch at kfinch@auduboncnc.org. More information can be found online at AudubonCNC.org or by calling (716) 569-2345.

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