Virtual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage
Since we couldn't be together at Camp Allegany in 2020, the 62nd Pilgrimage went virtual! Our program leaders and hundreds of fellow nature lovers gathered online for a weekend filled with fun and discovery.
View the videos from the weekend below and subscribe to our YouTube Channel!
Virtual ANP Program Videos
Earth Almanac: Nature's Calendar for Year-round Discovery
Award winning author and naturalist Ken Keffer presents the greatest hits of North American nature! Structured around phenology, the study of seasonal patterns in nature, this talk offers insights into activities and connections throughout the natural world. Each season will feature Keffer's personal favorite nature nuggets to showcase the outdoors from backyards to mountaintops. This generalist approach to nature appeals to the curious and inspires folks to expand their view of the world around them.
Beginning Birding “after dinner”
As we ramp up for our Virtual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage, grab a beverage of your choice and enjoy some fun. What is the difference between a bird watcher and a birder? Do I care? Why do birders wear silly hats? Have you secretly had a desire to know what kind of bird you saw but were afraid to ask? How is that you need to know what kind of bird it is to find it in a bird book? Have you asked, “do I really need to spend money on binoculars?” Has someone shared their binoculars with you and all you saw were fuzzy circles? Lon started teaching Beginning Birdwatching in 1977. Birding can be frustrating AND INTIMIDATING but rewarding and relaxing. Join Lon for 20 minutes or so for a fun introduction to bird watching. He will touch upon characteristics, bird guides, online resources, binoculars all while having some fun.
A Virtual Tour of the Night Sky
Dr. Karen Schwarz
Join us for a wonderful virtual planetarium show of the night sky. Dr. Karen Schwarz will share her knowledge and understanding of the night sky with us as we tour our celestial neighborhood.
Nature Themed Children’s Yoga
In this class aimed at children four to eight years old (toddlers can participate too with parents’ help) we will have a yoga dance party, get a little silly, sing a few songs, and do some yoga flows. We’ll dance to the sun, do some poses inspired by animals, and act out some plant and animal life cycles. We will end with a bit more silly dancing, followed by post yoga relaxation.
Birding by Ear
Who’s that singing deep in the forest or way up in the trees? This PowerPoint presentation will immerse you in the musical world of birds, where participants will learn to identify local birds by their calls and songs.
Yikes, Invasive Species!
Learn some basics about invasive species: what are they, why are they a concern, and what can we do to prevent them? We will learn to identify some of the most common invasive species in the area.
Fossils of Western New York
Dr. Holly Schreiber
Western New York looked very different 380 million years ago during a time period called the Devonian. Discover the rocks and fossils preserved in our backyard and how they tell us about the history of our region.
Nature at Night
Lon Myers & Chris Myers
Let’s explore the dark. Join Lon and Chris Myers as they talk about nature after the sun goes down. They have modified a program which is done every year at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage. Ever wonder what those noises are at night? We will explore some calls of owls, frogs and insects. Learn to call owls (grab a drink for this). What is that bright star in the sky? Is that a planet or a star? Chris is an avid collector of fluorescent minerals. He will show some amazing rocks that “glow in the dark” and where you can find them. Join these two for an entertaining evening.
Land Stewardship and the Role of Prescribed Fire on the Landscape
A short history of wildfire fire in the Americas, the current use of prescribed fire on the landscape as an ecological management tool by private and public organizations throughout Northeast, the active research associated with that, and ending with this wildland firefighters story and adventures starting at the first controlled burn and touring across each California, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.
Why there? How to Think Like a Frog
No two ponds are the same and no two streams are the same either! With so many ponds to choose from, how do frogs decide where to lay their eggs? Why do I hear bullfrogs in a fishpond, but toads seem to prefer the ditch next to my road? In this program, he’ll talk you through some of the key things to lookout for when exploring a new pond and stream. You’ll discuss what different species prefer in the environment, and what cool communities might be found in certain ponds and streams. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to take your own pilgrimage and start looking for critters!
So You Want to Attract pollinators?
Dr. Eric Olson
In the spring of 2015, after over a year of seeking permission from Brandeis University authorities, Eric Olson and a student ripped up about 600 square feet of dense grass sod on a sunny campus hillside and installed a wildflower meadow for pollinators. This was a first for Dr. Olson, and he was lucky, for in spite of setbacks and mistakes made, it worked. Key university faculty and administrators were so pleased with the result, they gave permission to convert the whole half-acre hillside (32 times the original area allowed) to "go wild" with wildflowers. It took longer than expected though, for even just the first small area to become what it is today. In his presentation, Olson will describe key meadow-making lessons learned and give tips on site prep, species selection, how to encourage plant establishment, and will show pictures of the spectacular result as of late summer of 2019.
River Snorkeling Adventures: An Evening with an Underwater Naturalist and River Adventurer
River snorkeling provides a new way to experience discovery and adventure in our freshwater rivers. They contain some of the most stunning and fascinating life on the planet and hold biological treasures hidden from view. The colors and beauty of some of our rivers rival coral reefs, yet we are losing that treasure faster than we are losing biodiversity from any other ecosystem on the planet. Underwater naturalist Keith Williams has spent the last 15 years exploring and documenting life in freshwater rivers and streams. He has snorkeled with alligators in Florida springs, migrating salmon in Oregon rivers, giant shrimp in Latin America, and darters in Pennsylvania. He has snorkeled frozen Maine rivers in the middle of winter and world heritage sites in China. He will share the life he has seen and the adventures he has experienced in an engaging and entertaining presentation.
Geology of Allegany for the Whole family
Join Chris, a geologist with a knack for making geology fun and interesting for everyone as he hosts an interactive family-oriented program. He will have demonstrations where you will learn the basics of geology as well as the geologic history of the Allegany region. Please feel free to ask any questions relating to earth science.
Have you ever stumbled upon an organism you couldn’t identify and had no one to ask for help? What if you had a team of 1.3 million naturalists in your pocket? With iNaturalist.org or the app on your smartphone the natural world will open up around you. You simply send a picture of an organism to the community and they will help you identify the plants and animals you can find in your yard, a park, or out in the wild. Come and explore iNaturalist, the online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to learn and educate others about nature!
Meet Your Neighbors: Environmental conservation starts in our backyards, with a "Backyard Naturalist"
Join conservation biologist, nature photographer and Senior Director of Science & Conservation at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, Twan Leenders, on an exploration of nature in our backyard. Learn how our flora and fauna has inspired millions of people worldwide and see how our area's natural areas are impacted by events happening in the tropics or boreal regions, sometimes thousands of miles away. Twan's stunning images will have you appreciate your backyard plants and animals and the natural connections they represent anew.
Nature Themed Adult Yoga
We’ll explore some of the connections between yoga and the natural world, aided with some words of inspiration from naturalist including Henry David Thoreau, Jane Goodall and John Muir. Expect a gentle and invigorating flow, with special attention paid to stretching out the body, relieving tension in the neck and opening the heart, after some time focusing on screens for our event. No special equipment or clothing needed.
Resurrecting Sad Insect Specimens
Join Conrad Baker for a dive into low-cost ways to restore and preserve interesting insects that you might find dead and dried. By the end, you’ll be prepared to relax and pose the insects, mount them in display cases, and protect them from common decomposers like mold and dermestids.
Digital Wildlife Photography for Beginners
Whether you use a cell phone or a camera, come learn some basic tips for taking better wildlife photos. Improve how you set up your shots. Discuss photography ethics. Vary your thinking and approach while taking pictures. Learn how scientists want your photos for citizen science projects. Together we will share photography questions and stories. This program will NOT focus on camera settings.
A Montezuma Birding Adventure
As part of Audubon New York, the state office of the National Audubon Society, the Montezuma Audubon Center serves as a gateway for adults and school-aged children to get involved in local conservation efforts and experience the wonder of the outdoors. The Montezuma Audubon Center is a home for discovery and exploration with 198 acres, five types of habitat, two restored marshes, two miles of hiking trails, and an all-access observation platform. The sustainably-managed habitat at Montezuma is home to nearly 300 bird species including forest birds of conservation concern such as the Bald Eagle, Cerulean Warbler, Wood Thrush, and Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. Our stewardship efforts focus on invasive species management and native vegetation plantings to maintain a healthy forest habitat. Together with our conservation partners and army of volunteers, we are protecting Montezuma’s forests and wetlands which are a priority for Audubon New York. Join Montezuma Audubon Center Director Chris Lajewski for a virtual birding adventure to learn about the Montezuma Wetlands Complex and experience the amazing bird migration.
Fungi Walk - Live
Take a walk with me and see what we find! I've been leading a mushroom walk for the past five years at the pilgrimage and was working to collect specimens from the park for science, pre-pandemic. It is part of a national initiative to have amateur mycologists, like myself, figure out what Fungi we have and what we might still not know about. Field ID is more and more often left to the amateurs since it requires inordinate amounts of time and dedication which doesn't seem to correlate strongly with additional job opportunities. In my opinion, mycologists are the gems of biology, and should not be pigeonholed into anything but learning what they want to learn about mushrooms. Why send people into space when we don't know life on our planet? My work involves both my field ID skills and my research skills to determine what I have and if I've collected and/or sequenced it before. The goal is to sequence all that we've described and then fill in the gaps. I will take you on a short walk with me to see some interesting things that are beginning to happen in the park, from my perspective. See you then!
Virtual ANP "Short Takes" Videos
How the Park Was Started - A History of Allegany State Park, Parts 1-7
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