In Portville, Pfeiffer Nature Center Helps Preserve the Earth

The historic cabin on the preserve is the focus of the July programs at the center.  Credits: Courtesy of the Pfeiffer Nature Center

PORTVILLE, NY — For Joe Schueckler, one of the best parts of volunteering for the Pfeiffer Nature Center & Foundation Inc. is passing along his appreciation of the wilderness to young children.

Those growing years, he said, are "a good time to get the seed planted for nature awareness. This is what guides us in the preservation of the Earth.”

The longtime volunteer said that although the center was not officially established until 1998, the idea for preserving land in the forests of Cattaraugus County began decades before.

Sign Up for E-News

In fact, Schueckler said he was acquainted with Wendy Pfeiffer Lawrence, who created the center to honor her father.  

Lawrence, born in 1925, spent much of her childhood summers living with her family on land now known as the Lillibridge Property, a few miles outside of the Village of Portville. Schueckler said Lawrence thrived on walking in the woods and staying in the cabin her father built on the property when she was a young teenager, and she continued returning to the location for the next 70 years.

Lawrence willed 188 acres of land located about four miles outside of the village commercial area in order to instill within the community the same appreciation for nature she expressed. About four years after her bequest became a reality, Col. Charles Eshelman, who had been her friend, left another 460 acres to the foundation. The properties do not abut each other.

The land and trails on both properties are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk, according to nature program coordinator Beverly Jones. The Lillibridge Property remains open year round, while the Eshelman Property closes from October through December for hunting season.

While the non-profit foundation, funded by memberships, grants and donations, does have an office in downtown Portville, most of the board members and volunteers spend their time on the center’s grounds, showing off the wildlife and beauty of the sites as well as the old Pfeiffer cabin, Jones said. 

Jones, who splits her time between organizing and planning events for the center and serving as a wildlife veterinary technician for the SPCA in Erie County, began her position less than two years ago. When her family moved from the Buffalo area to the Olean area, a friend mentioned the center to Jones, who was looking to help in the community.

“This job is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn, and it’s exciting and challenging,” Jones said. “It’s really worked out well, and I am getting to know so many wonderful people in the community who want to help.”

Among them is Schueckler, who helps with programs and nature walks, she added.

Both Jones and Schueckler count the spring field trips made by schoolchildren as favorite occurences at Pfeiffer.

In addition to providing the land for people to enjoy at leisure, the foundation hosts an average of two programs a month. Some are geared to children; some to adults, and some to the whole family. Volunteers run many of the programs, while experts teach others, Jones added.

In order to raise awareness for the center and its programs, Jones and other board members set up booths at community events in the county. On July 9 and 10, for instance, the center will have a booth at the town’s Heritage Days celebration.

And on July 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the center will host an open house featuring the cabin and stories about its history.

Other July activities include a painting night, a nature field day and a night sky tour.

Membership is not required to visit the properties or participate in the programs. 

Both Jones and Schueckler said they hope the center continues to grow as it has over the past two decades.

“It’s a wonderful organization and an asset to the community,” Jones said. “We are not sure how big Pfeiffer will get some day.” 

For details on programs and other information, visit the center’s website.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

Becoming English in 90 Minutes

It was our first day in the country. The smell of fish'n chips filled the air, and the Wig and Pen was the place to be as England prepared to take on Sweden in the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup on Saturday.  Wearing blue and yellow was a death sentence. The streets were lined with fans dressed in red who stood in pub lines extending for blocks. We had one goal: Convince the locals ...

Understanding the Tough Times at The Buffalo News Can Lead to Brighter Future for the Newspaper 

Given the fiscal state of the news industry, the changes underway at The Buffalo News are not unique. To offset revenue losses, newspapers across the nation have bid farewell to longtime reporters, eliminated once-popular sections and removed jobs that involved covering important beats, such as education, the environment and transportation. 

What makes the ...

Grandpa Practiced Sustainability

My grandpa was of the Depression Era. Sustainability wasn’t “a thing” back then — it was just the way you lived. Though he was raised in a time when you were thankful to be able to put a good meal on the table, he likely had a standard of life that we would consider average or middle class today. He didn’t grow up in a slum or shanty town, but he did understand the ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 1:00 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Film Series: 'The Good Dinosaur'

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, July 18, 5:30 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Olean Public Library Board of Trustees Monthly ...


Wed, July 18, 6:30 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Shelf Space Book Club: 'The City & the City' by ...

Quick Center’s ArtMobile Embarks on 10th Year of Summer Visits to Area Libraries 

July 15, 2018

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University kicks off its 10-year anniversary this month participating in the National Summer Reading Program, making stops at public libraries across New York and Pennsylvania.

“This is one of the Quick Center’s most ambitious summers to date,” said Sean Conklin, assistant curator of the ...

Four area students receive Murphy scholarship

Four area high school graduates each recently received a $10,000 John J. Murphy Family Scholarship managed by the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.

Tyler Lashway of Port Allegany High School; Emily Rohrs and Anna Seamon, both of Allegany-Limestone Central School; and Olean High School’s Natalie Sova each received the John J. Murphy Family Scholarship.

The $10,000 scholarship is ...

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey

How often do you read TAPinto?  Have you downloaded the TAPinto APP?  These are a few of the questions for readers in our 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

We want to hear from you!

The survey will take less than five minutes to complete and will help TAPinto better serve you. 

Take the 2018 TAPinto Reader Survey.

Thank you.  We appreciate your support and ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...