The whole thing was Gib Burgeson's idea to being with.
He envisioned a pilgrimage of nature lovers into the great outdoors during the heart of the burgeoning spring season.
And thus the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage was born 1959. Organized by Burgeson and the Jamestown Audubon Society, the first pilgrimage drew 70 people - and it has been going strong ever since.
Now sponsored by the Audubon societies from Jamestown, Buffalo, Presque Isle and Rochester, the pilgrimage is held at Allegany State Park this weekend and draws hundreds of people.
As the organizers say, there is no TV at the pilgrimage - just the real stuff of nature with real folks and seasoned naturalists who lead walks and talks on various nature aspects of Western New York and Allegany State Park.
You do not have to be a member of the Audubon groups to join in the fun and adventure - and most certainly you do not have to know anything about anything. Nature lovers flock to the pilgrimage to learn new things every year. But the weekend is also geared for kids and people who perhaps have only a casual relationship with nature. In fact, that is the point. This is a chance to go and learn from real folks who enjoy sharing their passion for nature.
There are sessions on, among other things, bird banding, on wild flowers, butterflies, insects, water "monsters," stars, raptors and reptiles and, of course, birds.
Some folks go for the entire three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Others are day visitors. The cost for the whole weekend is $40 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 18. For just one day, there is a $20 charge for adults. Campsites are extra and must be reserved.
More information is available at alleganynaturepilgrimage.com.
And for goodness sake, take your kids.