top of page

Jacqueline Swift            President

Robert J. Sienkiewicz      Vice President

Erik Danielson              Secretary

Suzanne Pilon               Treasurer


Steve McCabe               Newsletter Editor

Ruby Merritt                 Website Editor

John B. Elliott, Esq.        Legal Counsel         



James Hoggard, Ken Roblee, Jon Titus, PhD, Raymond Vaughan, PhD, William Cain

 see more> BIOS

Join Our Team

The Preserves & Custodians

IMPORTANT NOTICE * All lands listed below are solely owned and classified as private property of The Nature Sanctuary Society of Western New York, Inc. Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, Trespassing, and Removing any Organic Matter is strictly forbidden. Violators will be prosecuted. These protected lands are for Members only, and for access it is required to be accompanied by elected Custodians. 



NSSWNY acquired its fifth and most recent sanctuary, the Conewango Wetlands Preserve, on April 9, 2010. The 44-acre parcel is located on the floodplain of Conewango Creek in the Town of Leon, Cattaraugus County. Along with a woodland and open grassland sections, the preserve includes a substantial portion of New York State Class II Wetlands. It supports a diverse and healthy population of plant and animal species. According to Ken Roblee, senior wildlife biologist for NYSDEC Region 9, "the [purchase] is great news, as it represents one of the very first parcels acquired in Western New York targeting the preservation of animal diversity. 


CUSTODIAN: Ken Fudalik

The smallest of NSSWNY's sanctuaries, the Clifford Furman Preserve was donated in 1967 by Victor E. Furman, a charter member of the Society. The parcel was named in honor of his father. Most of the five-acre tract, located near Sprague Brook Park in Erie County, is a wetland known as a fen. A peat-forming area receiving nutrients from groud water and precipitation, a gen is richer in nutrients and less acidic than a bog.  These conditions make for an unsusual array of wetland plants not often found elsewhere in Western New York. One of the region's finest stands of the showy lady's slipper, as well as three other orchid species, can be found thriving at Furman. 



In the same year the Society was founded, the group purchased its first property, the Houghton Preserve, for around $500 with membership dues. The tract was well known to early explorers and botanists as "East Concord Bog". The Society renamed the site after Frederick Houghton, a very active charter memer and a Buffalo school teacher who later became a research associate in horticulture at the Buffalo Museum of Science.  The 23-acre sanctuary that bears his name is located a few miles north of Springville in Erie County. It consists of a typical Western New York bog caused by glacial ice melt situated in a depression in a terminal moraine and surrounded by a dense swamp forest. The sanctuary contains numerous and unusual rare plants associated with an acidic substrate and more northern climes.



The Rodger Sweetland Memorial Preserve was purchased in 2006 with the proceeds of a bequest from the will of the late former treasurer of the Society. Sweetland was intrumental in reviving NSSWNY and helped lead it from the 1980s untill his death in 2002. The Sweetland Preserve covers five acres on the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek in the Town of Persia in Cattaraugus County and contains scattered remnant stands of very old American beech, red oak, sugar maple, eastern hemlock, and other climax species associated with the pinnacle succession northern hardwood forests that dominated Western New York in pre-colonial times. The most significant feature of the preserves is Sweetland Falls, an 18-foot waterfall and its plunge pool, that represents a unique regional hydrogeologic feature-by far the tallest waterfall in the stream channel of either branch of Cattaraugus Creek. 


CUSTODIAN: Priscilla & Jon Titus

Located in the Zoar Valley of southern Erie County, the 118-acre William P. Alexander Preserve was purchased in 1940 and dedicated in 1941. The sanctuary is almost entirely wooded, with three major forest types: Beech-Birch-Maple, Oak-Hickory and Mixed Mesophytic. A series of marked trails aids the vistor in experiencing old-growth forest habitat containing a wide variety of ferns and flowering plants. Along the banks of Cattaraugus Creek, a well-developed floodplain community has supported each spring, for many years, one of the most showy stands of Virginia bluebells in Wester New York. 

bottom of page