The mission of the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage is to provide an informative and environmentally responsible annual event open to all, that promotes outdoor education in Allegany State Park.
The Allegany Nature Pilgrimage is organized and implemented by volunteer board members drawn from our sponsoring organizations, as well as at-large members. The board operates under Bylaws (approved 09.29.2020) and holds officer elections every two years. Position Descriptions (approved 08.03/2020) detail the responsibilities of officers and committee chairs.
Scroll down for board member bios
Sponsoring Organization Contacts:
Directors & Officers:
Lon Myers - Chair
Lon has a life-long passion for nature. He has degrees in engineering, accounting and marketing. He describes himself as a "gentleman naturalist with an interest in learning." He has led hikes at ANP for 43 years, having formerly served as chairman and registrar for ANP and as a former executive in Burroughs Audubon.
Ro Woodard - Vice Chair
Ro is a Audubon Community Nature Center member and volunteer and former ANP Field Trip Chairman from the early 1980’s, serving with both Lon and Becky. She is retired from the NYS Parks Marine Services Bureau as the Safe Boating Educator and returned to her hometown of Falconer, NY. Ro is a long time Girl Scout volunteer, leading many outdoor adventures for girls. Through the Girl Scouts, Audubon, and the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage, she hopes to introduce more kids and families to the wonders of the natural world.
As a boy, Frank's father made his family play outdoors instead of sitting around on their posteriors. He is glad that he did, as he learned a lot of nature by simply being in contact with it. As a teen, Frank worked as a caddy and wanted to know more about the trees and other plants found around the golf course. This really stimulated his interest. Many members were quite knowledgeable about trees and shared their knowledge with him in between strokes. As a young man, he went on hikes and peppered the leader with endless questions. After he was married, he sometimes went on hikes and trips, bringing his family along whenever possible. His wife was kind enough to allow him the “back 40” of their property to plant whatever would grow there. In his other life, Frank is an accountant, currently serving as an operations manager for a wholesaler and distributor. He is a Certified Management Accountant and a member of the Institute of Management Accountants, Financial Executives International and an associate member of the New York State Society of CPA’s. He has a Master’s Degree in Education and belongs to the Burroughs Audubon Nature Club, The Nature Conservancy, and International Oak Society. Frank enjoys old plants, old books, old golf and old friends. He has explored many places in New York and surrounding states, with a fondness for western North Carolina. He worked for a short while in Northern Europe and his sons were born in Honduras. Frank really enjoys being able to share with others as a hike leader and serves as Secretary on the ANP Committee.
Lisa has been attending the ANP since 1976. She has been on the committee most of that time. She is a past President of Presque Isle Audubon Society in Erie, among other positions. She has a Biology Degree from Buffalo State College and her Masters in Entomology from Pennsylvania State University. Over the years she has led many different field trips and is willing to step up if a leader is MIA. Lisa believes in outdoor education as the best approach and all children regardless of age NEED IT!
It seems Laura has always loved the outdoors and Allegany State Park. As an undergrad and graduate student she explored the wonders of the natural world, especially vascular plant taxonomy. She started leading at the ANP as an undergrad. Later, much later, she began her career as an educator, facilitating students' love of the sciences. Now that she is retired, she dabbles in outdoor activities and physics.
Janet Forbes & Alan Brown
Janet Forbes and Alan Brown are long-time members of the Audubon Community Nature Center and active volunteers with special events and more. Janet works with the ACNC Garden Team and is co-lead for the Kitchen Teaching Garden. They have attended the ANP for years and were eager to give back and serve on the ANP Committee representing ACNC. They are both retired from careers in healthcare--Alan as a hospital pharmacist and Janet as a Registered Nurse in various settings. Janet and Alan enjoy day hikes in the region and can be found wandering around Long State Park, ASP, ACNC, Overland Trails and more. Longer adventures have taken them to the Adirondacks, Pine Creek Bike Path, and into New England. They are home and community gardeners, growing vegetables and herbs and teaching others. They are glad to serve as part of the ANP Committee to help children and families create lifelong connections with the natural world and enrich the intergenerational learning.
Kathy has always enjoyed outdoor activities and has been camping in Allegany State Park for many years. It was in the park that she first learned about the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. Kathy attended the Pilgrimage with her children and friends for several years before joining the volunteer committee as a member of the Burroughs Audubon Nature club of Rochester, one of the four sponsoring organizations of the event. She’s also a member of the Rochester Birding Association, the Rochester Academy of Science--mineral and fossil sections, and the Rochester Area Mycological Association. Her interests vary widely! One of Kathy’s favorite yearly activities is to join one of the Return the Favor walks on the Delaware Bay in New Jersey to rescue stranded horseshoe crabs. Other activities include hiking, trail running and nature walks; always exploring and discovering something new!
Tom has been educating others about the natural world since he began to understand it. With the help of his neighbors as a child, he created a bug zoo from his Tonawanda backyard, and gathered other neighborhood kids to view his collections. Inspired by many family vacations to National Parks, Tom studied environmental science in college. At SUNY ESF he was part of the first class that graduated with a Natural History and Interpretation degree, selecting the major because he understood the growing need to communicate the scientific world. Tom has spent his entire professional career in environmental education. He worked as a Park Ranger in the New York City Parks for five years, teaching school programs, leading an after school program for high school students and monitoring piping plover habitat. Living in a major migration fly way in a dense urban environment, it was in NYC he developed a love of birding. Tom came to Buffalo Audubon to lead the For the Birds! program for elementary school students, and now as a naturalist enjoys leading bird tours and teaching people about all nature in Western New York. If you catch Tom in his free time, you will most likely find him with a pair of binoculars around his neck, setting up his spotting scope to make sure everyone gets a chance to view whatever wildlife is around. He also enjoys raising his two sons to appreciate the wonderful natural landscape of Western New York.
Andy is ready and able to answer any question you may have about the Park's rich history. Specializing in the "How the Park got Started" Program, his passion is for Allegany State Park and he is knowledgeable in several areas from the late 1800s to the present time. Andy is also a park employee.
As long as he can remember, Dave Nelson wanted to be a wildlife biologist. By age five, he trained a fox squirrel to knock on his family’s front door for a treat. Or maybe the squirrel trained him.
Dave’s family moved from the Midwest to western NY in 1968 and they have been camping at Allegany State Park ever since. Dave recently retired from a 35-year career with NYSDEC, including a nearly 20-year stint as editor of the Conservationist magazine. It was there that he learned of the Pilgrimage, and has been promoting and attending it ever since. Dave loves many forms of outdoor activity including hiking, birdwatching and cross-country skiing, and feeds chickadees by hand at his home in the Helderberg Mountains west of Albany. He enjoys sharing his love of the outdoors with others.
Marcia is an elementary schoolteacher, retired after 41 years at Lewiston-Porter Schools. She has served in many capacities for the Buffalo Audubon Society – Board Director, Board Recording Secretary, Executive Committee, Education Committee founder and chairperson, Program Committee, and Nominating Committee. For many years, Marcia has been the registrar of the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage and the co-chair with Lisa Danko. Her hobbies include travel, birding, nature, and reading.
Rob credits his love of the outdoors to the men who served as his Boy Scout leaders as a youth. Today, as the Scoutmaster of the same Troop, he strives to instill an appreciation for nature in his charges. Sometimes he succeeds at this, sometimes he doesn't. Rob is a Master Educator with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a New York State Master Naturalist and currently serves as the President of the Buffalo Orienteering Club. Somehow, he ended up as the webmaster here despite suspect computer skills and the fact that he'd rather be out in the woods. Rob "thru-hiked" the Appalachian Trail in 1998 and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2003, giving him over 5,000 miles of backpacking experience. His greatest gift from these experiences is a strong ability to be uncomfortable for long periods of time. That and not being fussy about food. He always finds the experience of hanging out with fellow nature nerds at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage to be inspiring.