Conservation and Restoration
Our region contains a plethora of beautiful birds, trees, wildflowers, and wildlife. We encourage you to explore our local wildlife sanctuaries and parks.
© John Kasper
A new year means new opportunities for unusual bird sightings, but John Kasper's spectacular find might be the best of 2023. Spotted near South Shore Park in Milwaukee, WI, the Mandarin duck is definitely not a native bird! "It was like hitting the jackpot," Kasper said. He's been birdwatching for many years and keeps a long list of sightings. Adding the Mandarin duck, a native of eastern Asia who's not usually found in the United States—a few feral populations exist in California and Florida—to your bird list is a rare treat.
We have an interactive map of Chemung Valley Birding Locations right here. You can keep track of your bird sightings using eBird. Will you find the next rare bird in Chemung County? Good luck and happy birding!
Chemung Valley Audubon Society invites you outdoors! With many residents feeling a get-out-of-the-house eagerness after enduring months of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CVAS urges you to consider the benefits of taking a hike. Over the past several years the local Audubon chapter has developed two properties in Steuben County (Northrup Hill & Gleason), as well as a trail at Mark Twain State Park in Chemung County, where you can enjoy outdoor experiences while still following social distancing guidelines.
Hiking and wildlife watching are good for our bodies and our sense of well-being. CVAS invites people to use the trails and to enjoy the beauty and spectacle of wild nature in the Southern Tier. “Birding is an inexpensive, healthful, always entertaining outdoor activity that heightens one’s awareness and understanding of the environment and can be done anytime, anywhere,” noted Bill Ostrander. A lifelong birder and Chemung County resident, Ostrander leads Audubon walks that help people learn about and enjoy our area’s birds.
Northrup Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary is a 24-acre preserve on Learn Road in the Town of Rathbone, Steuben County. The sanctuary’s wildlife habitats including grasslands, early-successional hardwoods, and a white pine–hemlock–hardwood forest that slopes downhill to a wetland. At an elevation of 1,700 feet, the property commands stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The land was given to CVAS as a gift from the Northrup family to be used as a nature preserve. The Northrup Hill Schoolhouse, a structure on the National Register of Historic Places, sits adjacent to the preserve.
Beginning in 2022, in a prepared 20-square-foot space, Chemung Valley Audubon members Brian and Mary Jane Dugan began planting Andropogon gerardi (big bluestem) and Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed), both native grasses; and Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf coreopsis), a native plant that attracts butterflies and bees with its beautiful yellow flowers when it blooms in June and July and provides nesting materials for bees all season long. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Center, big bluestem provides cover for at least 24 species of songbirds and nesting sites or seeds for sparrows. It attracts birds and butterflies and is a larval host to butterflies Anatrytone logan (the Delaware Skipper) and Atrytonopsis hianna (the Dusted Skipper).
The Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary covers 35-acres on Kelly Hill Road in the Steuben County Town of Caton. It is predominately forested, with a system of trails that passes through groves of hemlocks, pines, and northern hardwoods. A pond and small intermittent streams enhance the sanctuary’s value to plants and animals. The property was acquired with a bequest from the estate of long-time CVAS members Herbert and Virginia Gleason.
Driving directions and information about the trails are on our Northrup, Gleason, and Mark Twain State Park pages. Our trails and activities are open to all regardless of their age, race, religion, ability or gender identity.
Meet at Appleridge (Map) for a lively discussion about birding and a presentation from one of our knowledgeable hosts. A bird identification workshop begins at 7:00pm, and the program begins at 7:30pm. All are welcome to these free events. CVAS is committed to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our conservation and education programs and to welcoming all who wish to work and learn with us.
Any person, regardless of age, race, religion, ability, or gender identity, who is interested in wild life study, protection, and conservation, may be enrolled as a member upon receipt of the first payment of dues.
Our free, family-friendly Little Tots Nature Walk program runs all year long, and we hope you'll join us for this and our other popular programs throughout the year, including:
Bird Sleuth | A lively program for school-aged children that teaches key concepts, including diversity, adaptations, food webs, and more, through hands-on learning.
CVAS Book Club | The CVAS book club meets on Thursdays. For meeting information and a list of the books we'll be reading, please check out the calendar.
CVAS is committed to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our conservation and education programs and to welcoming all who wish to work and learn with us.
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Bring birds and pollinators to your home today by growing native plants. Find the best plants for the pollinators and birds for your yard. Growing bird-friendly plants will attract and protect the birds you love while making your space beautiful, easy to care for, and better for the environment. Explore native plant resources by clicking the link below.
It's here, and it's spreading! Awareness and knowledge will take you far in avoiding ticks and Lyme Disease during your nature exploration.
Chemung Valley Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society. The NAS is an invaluable resource for any Audubon enthusiast.