Allegany Nature Pilgrimage in Allegany State Park

Participants in a previous annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage in Allegany State Park go on a bird watching nature walk Friday night on a trail near Red House Lake. The 60th annual walk is set to begin Friday.

The Allegany Nature Pilgrimage marks its 60th year in Allegany State Park this Friday through Sunday.

Centered at Camp Allegany on the Red House side of the 65,000-acre park, the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage is every nature lover’s delight, with 90 programs being offered.

The sponsors are the Buffalo Audubon Society, Audubon Community Nature Center of Jamestown, Presque Isle Audubon Society of Erie, Pa., and the Burroughs Audubon Nature Club of Rochester.

Nearly 700 people are expected to attend this year’s Pilgrimage, according to co-chair Marcia Nixon of the Buffalo Audubon Society. Her co-chair is Lisa Danko of Erie, Pa. They have served as ANP co-chairs for the past 10 years.

“We’re just going over last-minute things,” Nixon said Wednesday. “We’ve had just under 600 pre-registrations. We’re probably going to have more than the 650 we had last year because its our 60th anniversary.”

They will get a lot of walk-ins as well.

“It’s the 60th, so it’s a big one,” Nixon said. “We’re going to get a group photo Saturday afternoon by David Gordon,” a former Buffalo Audubon president.

“To get more people there, we’re having a raffle with a beautiful pair of binoculars as the first prize,” Nixon said. “You must be present to win.”

Other prizes include gifts from Birds Unlimited and free registration for next year’s Nature Pilgrimage.

Friday night’s program in the big tent features Sharon Stiteler, The Bird Chick. Saturday’s big tent program features Paleo Joe, who talks about the many dinosaur digs he’s been on across the United States. He also leads a hands-on dinosaur dig for kids Saturday afternoon, Nixon said.

“We’ve got more leaders this year because it’s our 60th year,” Nixon said.

The nature walks include early morning bird banding, bird watching, butterflies, hiking, watercolors, digital photography, invasive species, spider walk, salamander walk, reptiles and amphibians, night walks, edible plants, cell phone nature photography, astronomy, edible wild plants, owl prowl and Science Lake pond study.

Also attending the Nature Pilgrimage is David Nelson of The Conservationist Magazine.

Walk-ins are welcome. The cost is $25 for a full day. There is a $20 student price for the weekend, or $10 for one day. Kids up to age 18 are always $5 for the weekend.

To see the full weekend schedule go to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage website at: www.alleganynaturepilgrimage.com.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)