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Fundraising for Alexander Preserve 

Geology Research 

CURRENT Alexander Geology Research Fund Update...

So far, of the $5,640 needed for the research testing, $4,740 has been raised. That means we are only a short way— $900—from reaching the final goal. Contributions can be made at our website using PayPal or a credit/debit card. You can also send a check made payable to the Nature Sanctuary Society of WNY, Inc., with “Geology Fund” in the memo line. Thanks to all who have contributed so far to support the work of our geologists at the Alexander Pre- serve. With your continued interest and donations,

we’ll be able to complete this valuable research into the geology

of the sanctuary and the Cattaraugus Creek gorge.


...And Special Thanks to Its Contributors

We are tremendously grateful to the following donors who have contributed to the campaign to raise funds for the geological research project at the Alexander Preserve:

Liz Birardi, Ted Dziekonski, Catherine Konieczny, Suzanne Pilon, Kenneth Roblee, Leanne Schultz, Jackie Swift, Raymond C. & Sheila Vaughan, and Michael Wilson.


Contributions can be made at our website using Paypal or a credit/debit card. You can also send a check made payable to the Nature Sanctuary Society of WNY, Inc., with “Geology Fund” in the memo line.


Thanks to all who have contributed so far to support the work at the Alexander Preserve. With your continued support, we’ll be able to complete this valuable research into the geology of the preserve

and the Cattaraugus Creek gorge.


Alexander Geology Research Fund (Update from Feb 2020)

So far, of the $5,640 needed for the research testing, $3,799.00 has been raised.

That means we have just a third of the way—$1,841.00—to go to reach the final goal.

 (from November 2019)

Fundraising efforts have begun with a proposal presented on November 4 to the NSSWNY board of directors, requesting funding to cover the cost of lab tests for the geology research described in the article on page 3. Total funding requested for these tests is $5,640, about half of which has already been raised. This funding will cover Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) and C-14 date testing of samples collected by the research team, grain size analysis (by sieves and hydrometer), measurement of Atterberg limits and organic content, clay size minerals determination, and map printing as needed. 

The researchers will continue to donate their time at no cost to the Society. To date, they have already volunteered hundreds of hours of their professional time. An addition-al $800 cash is being donated by the research team as well. Together with $2,000 approved by the board, this $2,800 begins the journey to reach the full $5,640 needed for sample testing. With member help in raising the remaining $2,840, we'll get there and support this important project.


The test results will help our geologists characterize the Alexander Preserve, primarily its geologic history but also linking its geology to its present-day ecology. Another benefit of this work will be its educational value, enabling us to explain the stratigraphy and topographic evolution of the preserve to student classes and onsite field trips. The work is on track with our mission, part of the statement reading “The Nature Sanctuary Society promotes scientific research relative to nature preserves.” 

Donate any amount, large or small, to this exciting work today by contacting Jackie Swift at (716) 532-6022 or donate NOW using the donate button below with a note earmarking your support for Alexander Preserve geology research. Thank you! 

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AP research group

An overview of this work and a summary of our 2018 observations appeared in the February 2019 issue of Nature Preserves, pages 17-22. Our 2019 activities included several field trips to the Pre-serve by Catherine Konieczny, Ray Vaughan, Mike Wilson, and Jackie Swift. We made further observations of the soil exposures, aided by landslide movements since 2018, along the northeast margin of the upland forest area at Alexander. We continue to interpret the upland forest area as a terrace surface deposited by flowing water (a stream) thousands of years ago. During our 2019 work, as described below, we have collected samples to help narrow this date range.


Based on our new observations, the diagram of sediment layers (composite stratigraphic section) reported for 2018 is being redrawn with added details. The land-slide movements have exposed a second sand layer containing vertical, tightly-spaced centimeter-size tubes from apparent gas emanations, and other disturbed bedding in the lake sediments. An expert in dating sand grains, from the University of Illinois and Illinois State Geologic Survey (Dr. Sebastien Huot), joined us on one of the field trips and participated in collection of sand samples. We are currently seeking funding to have these 

Samples dated by Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) testing. This test method, which measures the length of time since sand grains were last exposed to sunlight, can be used to determine when the grains were deposited and covered by more sediment. Due to the nature of the OSL test, sand samples must be collected without allowing any sunlight to reach the sample, and corrections must be made for other energy sources such as cosmic rays. OSL lab procedures are partly done in darkrooms. 

The ridge and swale topography of the upland terrace surface itself, likely from “deep-time” meandering of a stream across the terrace thousands of years ago, was identified by our 2019 work, and these surface features were probed with a meter-long, two-centimeter diameter core tube. Carbon-14 dateable material was extract-ed by core tube from one location at the south or southwest terrace margin, possibly from either within the terrace or within the upper level of the older lake sand beneath the terrace. This is another sample that may be tested if funding is obtained. In the coming months, we plan to use the new findings from 2019 to revise or add to our reporting of archival geologic information for the preserve. 



Want to donate by Mail?


Treasurer, NSSWNY, Alexander Preserve Geology


P.O. Box 828 

West Seneca

NEW YORK 14224


printable mailing address.pdf


NSSWNY Notecards, Perfect for Giving 

Thanks to Ana Hernandez-Balzac’s concept and the work of Arkwright Printing, beautiful notecards have been produced and are available in bundles of six for $10. Within each set are the three amazing wildflower images shown below; these photographs were taken at our sanctuaries and donated by Jamie Hoggard.

Just send your check for $10 per packet, plus $7 shipping per order to our P.O. Box


Questions or Comments?


Send a message to NSSWNY


< Image on the left:

president of nsswny,

Jacqueline Swift and

Steve McCabe

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