RESEARCH AND SUPPORT

Memberships

Our members are what drives the Center and keeps it pushing to serve its original mission of merging the worlds of nature and the arts. Our members are vital and more than essential to keeping the Center fully staffed, the lights on and the programs, trails, and concerts running smoothly. Check out the perks of becoming a Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art member below

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Volunteer

Our volunteers are truly the heart of the Center! Whether you’re looking to help in the office with mailings or other administrative tasks, or to help on the trails or gardens, we’ve got a place for you! If you’re interested in volunteering at the Center, please call us at 717-692-3699, email Adam E. Steppy at asteppy@nedsmithcenter.org.

Amphitheater Volunteer:

Duties and Responsibilities:
Answer questions about where items are located i.e. the bathrooms, food vendors, Armstrong Valley Winery, etc.
Hand out and stuff programs
Put up and take down directional signs
In some instances, take money and make change
Related work as assigned
Qualifications and Requirements:
Volunteer shall have the ability to:
handle money
follow procedures
be courteous, friendly, patient, outgoing and work with the public

Gift Shop Volunteer:

Duties and Responsibilities:
Answer questions about merchandise and exhibits (knowledge of upcoming programs)
Use cash register and credit card machine
Restock shelves and assist in keeping shop clean and orderly
Wrap and bag merchandise
Related work as assigned
Qualifications and Requirements:
Volunteer shall have the ability to:
handle money
follow procedures
operate a computerized cash register and credit card machine
be courteous, friendly, patient, outgoing and work with the public

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Saw-Whet Owl Research

The northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) is the smallest of Pennsylvania’s owls, a slight thing barely as tall as a soda can and weighing a little more than a roll of quarters. Saw-whets are rusty brown below, chocolate-colored above with white spots, and with large, yellow eyes. Unlike the eastern screech-owl, which is also common across Pennsylvania, the saw-whet has no feathered “ear” tufts sticking up on its head. Saw-whets nest in tree cavities with the males advertising their territories beginning in late winter.

The most common call is a high, whistled toot, about one per second, that sounds a lot like the back-up alarm on a large truck. Other common vocalizations include cat-like mews; long, eerie whines and sharp bill-snaps. In fact, the saw-whet owl got its name from that peculiar tooting sound – it bears resemblance to the rasping sound make by a file sharpening, or whetting, a saw. Other folk names included saw-filer, sparrow owl, whetsaw and white-fronted owl. Its scientific name, Aegolius acadicus, means “the owl of Acadia,” a reference to Nova Scotia, where the first specimen was collected in the late 1700s. Since 1997, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art has been a leader in the effort to learn more about the northern saw-whet owl, the East’s smallest and most elusive owls.

Each autumn the Center’s team of trained researchers and volunteers harmlessly catch, band and release hundreds of these tiny raptors at three banding stations in central Pennsylvania. They lure them into nearly invisible mist nets by playing a recording of the owl’s weird, tooting call.

The Center also plays a key role in coordinating an informal network of more than 120 owl banding stations across North America. In the process, they’ve helped map the movements of a species so secretive that most avid birders have never glimpsed one – an owl that was, until recently, considered quite rare. On this site you can learn more about these enigmatic birds, about the center’s on-going research project, how to become a research volunteer, and how you can support the center’s work by adopting an owl yourself.