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Education in Nature

August 10, 2010

Our blog, from 2010, on Education in Nature.

There are plenty of fun and educational activities to do with the entire family in the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County. Men, women and children of any age can spend days learning about natural happenings right in their backyard, regardless of the season.

Not convinced? Check out three of the regions most popular nature centers, right in our area!  These places are the Nannen Arboretum, the Pfeiffer Nature Center & Foundation and Allegany State Park and they have nature classes and activities throughout the year.

Pfeiffer Nature Center

What type of outdoor activity interests you?  At the Pfeiffer Nature Center, there's almost endless opportunities for outdoor adventures ranging from hiking to participating in one of their many programs and workshops.  With almost 650 acres of natural surroundings, you'll be sure to find something that interests you and every member of your group or family.

Located in Portville, New York, the Pfeiffer Nature Center has two gorgeous properties to visit.  The first property, the Lillibridge Property, has a little less than 200 acres of forest and plenty of great places to explore.  This also includes a Chestnut log cabin and a timber frame pavilion for picnics or anything else you'd have in mind.

The much larger Esheman Property, located on Yubadam Road in Portville, has not only a small farm to view, but also on-going scientific research projects each day. 

Programs and Events

Plenty of programs and events happen each week at the Pfeiffer Nature Center.  There's a pretty vast range of these activities. So, be sure to check out their event calander and program catalog. 

At the Lillibridge Property, there's a self guided trail where you and your family can explore and research just about any aspect of the wooded areas.  Plenty of great activities are involved with this, like a multi-stage geocache and more guided nature walks.

That's not all, check out captive Owls right at the nature center.  Once you've become up close and personal with them, take a hike through the woods and make calls to other wild owls. 

Not an expert?  No worries.  You can participate in several events to increase your literacy in nature. 

Other opportunities include instruction from profession artists in Watercolor Wonder, Adopt a tree Program, and even a film festival right at the nature center. 

Nannen Arboretum

Like the Pfeiffer Nature Center, the Nannen Arboretum offers a number of different activities for some nice educational experiences in the wild. 

Located directly at the intersection of Fillmore Drive and Parkside Drive in Ellicottville, New York, the Arboretum is completely free to the public and open all day and every day of the year. 

This nature preserve dates back to 1959 when a local businessman by the name of William O. Nannen donated this vast area of land to construct the Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Completed in 1961 and undergoing constant renovations to better the park, the Nannen Arboretum is home to some of the most beautiful and scenic areas in Cattaraugus County.

Workshops, programs and educational meetings are held here quite regularly.  The Arboretum is also the site of many wedding ceremonies and church services because of its lush and picturesque backdrop.

Allegany State Park

The trails and outdoor activities at Allegany State Park, are not the only thing this massive 65.000 acre park offers.  The park is home the the Old Quaker Store and Museum.  Here, you can view a variety of items from the history of the construction of the park that have been donated over time.  Souvenir shopping is also available.

Home to one of New York's only old growth forest, Allegany State park is well known for it's un-glaciated landscape, and gorgeous backdrops of falling leaves during the Fall season. 

Two developed areas, Red House and Quaker, make up the park.  You can find sandy beaches, museums, picnic areas, and hiking trails in both of these sections. 

Other places to learn about nature

Learn on your own by taking a hike or bike ride on the Pat McGee Trail and stopping at the educational signs.

Learn about waterfowl on a guided tour at the Gooseneck Hill Waterfowl Sanctuary.

Be sure to check our Enchanted Mountains Events for updates on regular nature events occuring in Cattaraugus County. If you know of other areas to learn about nature in Cattaraugus County then please leave a comment below.