The Audubon Community Nature Center is asking for area residents’ help on Saturday, July 23, from 9 a.m. to noon in its yearly battle to clear the Audubon’s Big Pond of the European Water Chestnut.
The European Water Chestnut can cover a water body so densely it chokes out other plants and animal life. A different species from the water chestnut that can be purchased in cans, the plant is kept in check in its native habitat in Europe, Asia and Africa by local insect parasites not found in North America.
Since 2013 staff members and volunteers have worked to control this infestation and prevent it from spreading to other waterways in the region, including Conewango Creek and Chautauqua Lake. ACNC staff also assist with Water Chestnut monitoring and removal work within the Chautauqua Lake Watershed through their partnership with the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and the Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance.
The Water Chestnut is just one of the invasive species that ACNC works to address in its Land Use Management Plan. The plan was created to protect the unique ecosystems found within the 600 acres of property that ACNC oversees that include swamps, wetlands, ponds, upland forests, fields, vernal pools, and more.
This task requires being in the water wearing waders or in a canoe wearing a life vest. Water Chestnut pullers can expect to get wet and muddy.
Volunteers should bring their own hats, life jackets, sunscreen, bug spray, and waders and kayaks if they have them. ACNC has a limited number of waders and kayaks; call 716-569-2345 to reserve.
Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age and those up to age 17 must be supervised by an attending parent.
Registering helps with the planning. To register, call 716-569-2345 or click through “Upcoming Programs” at AudubonCNC.org. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Volunteers are invited to visit the Nature Center building for free afterwards.
Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. Visit the 600-acre nature preserve and see Liberty, the non-releasable Bald Eagle, view the native tree arboretum, gardens, picnic area, natural play space and hike the six miles of trails dawn until dusk daily for free.
The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, a collection of live animals including the Hellbender exhibit, the 2021 Nature Photography Contest winners, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop. Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Nature Center members and SNAP/EBT cardholders have free building admission daily. Building admission is also free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members.
To learn more about Audubon and its programs, call 716-569-2345, find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook, or visit AudubonCNC.org, where the most up-to-date COVID-19 Notice at the top of the page can be found. Entries to the 2022 Nature Photography Contest and votes for the Community Choice winners can be made at GoGoPhotoContest.com/ACNCPhotoContest.