The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is offering a rare opportunity: a fieldtrip to learn about and view elk.
At noon Wednesday, Sept. 18, the Audubon van will depart for Benezette, Pa., to visit the Elk Country Visitor Center, dine at the Benezette Hotel and then view herds of elk.
Elk once roamed much of North America but began to disappear from the east in the 1800s due to overhunting and habitat destruction. Reintroduction programs beginning in the early twentieth century brought wild stock from western populations back east. One strong population can be found in Benezette, Pa., about 80 miles southeast of Audubon.
By September, males have regrown antlers and are attracting females with a bugling call. It is possible to observe skirmishes between males for territory and mates at this time of year, as well.
The field trip will be hosted by Rick Rupprecht. Originally from the Elk County region, Rupprecht has been observing the return of Elk to Pennsylvania for many years.
Participants should dress for comfort in the van and for the weather. Bring binoculars, cameras, snacks, water and money for dinner.
For more information about the Elk Country Visitor Center, with its 4D Disney-inspired theater, visit www.ExperienceElkCountry.com.
The trip is limited to 10 people in the van, and others can carpool. Return will be 10:30 p.m.
The cost is $35 or $30 for Friends of the Nature Center. Reservations with payment are required by Friday, Sept. 13, by calling 569-2345 or using the online form by clicking through the Program Listing at jamestownaudubon.org.
For more information, call 569-2345 or visit jamestownaudubon.org.