Project Wild America Cell Phone Tours
In the Footsteps of Roger Tory Peterson
A young Swedish-American boy by the name of Roger Tory Peterson grew up in Jamestown, New York in the early 1900s. Insects, birds and plants throughout the city motivated Roger to observe and record their likenesses and differences, learn their identities and sketch out what made each so unique. This mobile tour has fifteen stops scattered around the Jamestown area, highlighting Roger’s childhood and the locations where he was first inspired by nature, portraying how he began a lifelong career devoted to art, conservation and education.
Since its start up in 2013, the “Nature at Your Fingertips” tour has grown as well as the partnerships between our small non-profit and the five snowmobile clubs of the county including Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club, Cherry Creek Sno-Goers, Ellery Sno-Cruisers, Lake Effect Trail Breakers, and Sunset Drifters. With the collaboration of minds and might, the tour has spread to 30 stops over the club’s combined 450+ miles of snowmobile trails and each are marked with signs consisting of Roger Tory Peterson’s rendering of a snowy owl. As of last year, the hosting platform was switched to Orbitist, a locally established and rapidly growing company, that has helped improved the tour every year by adding lots of new features. Not only is this program the first of its kind on the snowmobile trails of New York State accessible via cell phone, it is also completely accessible through a home computer enabling visitors of the area to get a feel for the landscape, great supporting businesses and learning hotspots prior to their trip. Through the tour and other initiatives by RTPI, our organization hopes to provide an enjoyable learning experience here in the “World’s Vacation Learning Center” and beyond by better connecting users to the natural world, the history that has shaped the environment and what we can do as a community to preserve these areas for future generations. To learn more, please click the link above to visit the tour landing page, and to start exploring before the trails open please visit Orbitist.com and punch in map #90 to begin accessing Chautauqua County’s many fascinating stories!
Natural History Atlas
A key environmental issue of the Chautauqua-Allegheny biophysical region is the conservation of woodlands, wetlands and other natural environments, the sum of which sustain its scenic beauty, water quality and environmental health. As tourism continues to play an increasing role in the economic life of the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, the Roger Tory Peterson Institute plays a key role addressing the need of our community to understand the direct relationship between the health of our region’s ecosystems and the health of our economy while promoting the natural world as a tourist destination in itself. As part of our work in this area, in 2001 RTPI published a Natural History Atlas to the Chautauqua-Allegheny Region, culminating several years of environmental education work through a matching grant from the Annenberg Rural Challenge. The printed version of the Atlas has long been sold out but you can access it in full here on our website in downloadable PDF form. We are currently updating the Atlas fully with fresh data, information, photos, videos and accounts that we will publish digitally – stay tuned for updates and developments!
Development of these interactive cell phone tours and other educational aspects of Project Wild America are made possible through generous support from the following foundations:
Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation
Cummins Inc. Foundation
DeFrees Family Memorial Fund
Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation – Karl Peterson Funds & Lynn Foundation Fund
Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation – Reg & Betty Lenna Fund
Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation
Swedish Council of America
Chautauqua County Occupancy Tax Fund