Every once in a while, a project that is so full of creativity and so fun to work on comes up that makes Audubon employees look forward to going to work each morning. Winter Night Lights at Audubon is one of those projects.
Winter Night Lights is transforming the nighttime landscape of Audubon into a multicolored light-time extravaganza, but it's more than that.
Audubon naturalists teamed up with engineer Steve French of Volt Vision in Warren and artist Gary Peters of Jamestown to create an amazing show that is fun and educational at the same time.
Visitors will musically control the changing lights on the building at Winter Night Lights at Audubon on the first three Friday and Saturday nights at Audubon.
The giant sugar maple on the hill at Audubon will be one of many trees lit by a wash of everchanging lights at Winter Night Lights at Audubon.
Visitors to Winter Night Lights at Audubon will discover that the one third of a mile universal trail has been lit in unexpected ways.
Not only will the building be lit with washes of changing colors, but visitors will be able to make the colors change with percussion instruments.
Audubon's giant maple tree will be lit by multicolored spotlights. This tree, so large that the electrical engineers complained that it took four times as many lights to light as a tree should, will be washed with lights that change color as visitors control the lights on a smaller tree to see how it changes through the seasons. The end result with be a grove of trees lit with shifting washes of lights controlled by visitors.
A volunteer will greet visitors at each of the interactive stations to show them how to make it work.
One volunteer will hand out a flashlight to use to hunt for animals along the trail. Local artist Gary Peters created animals that are two to three times life sized.
When the light from a flashlight hits the animal, it will light up and sing, growl or howl depending on what kind of animal it is. Flashlights will be collected by another volunteer at the end of the station.
In addition to the lights, there will be a warming fire halfway out the trail where people can warm their hands. Afterward, the building will have hot coffee, hot chocolate and miscellaneous cookies and snacks. Live music is also in the works.
Watch Audubon's website for more information. The Audubon Nature Store will also be open for business with a wide variety of great gifts for nature lovers.
All lights used in the displays will be LED lights, which stands for light-emitting diode. These high-tech lights use the least amount of energy of any light on the market. This will allow Audubon to put on an amazing light show without adding too much to the electricity bill. In recent years, hardware stores have been selling more and more LED lights for the holidays. These lights generate little to no heat, eliminating the fire hazard that may be caused by small, hot incandescent bulbs on light sets traditionally used.
Winter Night Lights will run for the first three weekends in December on Friday and Saturday nights from 6-9 p.m. Last admission will be taken at 8:15 p.m. The event will cost $10 for adult and $6 for children ages 3-12. Adult friends of the Nature Center will cost $8 and children age 2 and under will be free.
Winter Night Lights is sponsored by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Volt Vision, Everyday's True Value, Oneida Lumber/Ace Hardware and Herbs R-4-U 2. These sponsors have helped make the event possible. A special thank you also goes out to Doug Sitler, who puts together Night Lights at the Heron, Niagara Botanical Garden, Griffis Sculpture Park and more for his help in pulling the event together.
For more information about Winter Night Lights at Audubon, go to www.jamestownaudubon.org or call 569-2345. Audubon is located at 1600 Riverside Road just a few miles south of Jamestown and north of Warren. The trails are open daily from dawn through dusk.