Tifft Nature Preserve
Tifft Nature Preserve is a 264-acre urban nature preserve operated by the Buffalo Museum of Science. Located in South Buffalo, the area was formerly used as a transshipment facility and dump until it was designated a nature preserve in the early 1970s. Despite the industrial history of the site, it provides valuable wildlife habitat and greenspace within the city limits. Major habitats on the preserve include a 75-acre remnant cattail marsh, woodlands, grasslands and three ponds. The cattail marsh, which is the largest remnant wetland in Erie County, provides nesting habitat for rare marsh birds and the woodlands are an important stop-over site for migrating birds. Tifft Nature Preserve is a destination for environmental education, outdoor recreation and scientific research for the people of Buffalo and Western New York.
The preserve trails are open to the public daily during daylight hours. Parking is available near the entrance located at 1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard. The Visitor Center is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Five miles of trails and boardwalks allow visitors to explore at their own pace. Common mammals at the preserve include white-tailed deer, Eastern cottontail rabbit, American beaver and muskrats. In the summer, a variety of reptiles and amphibians can be seen in the marsh including Northern water snakes, American bullfrogs, green frogs, leopard frogs, Eastern and midland painted turtles and snapping turtles. Hundreds of bird species migrate and reside at the preserve annually. Stop in the Visitor Center to discover the latest sightings or record your own sightings and contribute to Citizen Science efforts.
With the mission of “Valuing Nature’s Wisdom,” Tifft Nature Preserve is an excellent place to explore the outdoors in an urban setting and discover nature’s ability to reclaim itself. School and public programming take place throughout the year including annual family programs such as Spring Egg-stravaganza!, a celebration of animals that hatch from eggs and Insectival!, a celebration of insects and their arthropod kin. Evening and weekend programs also take place throughout the year. For more information about Tifft Nature Preserve and program offerings, visit: sciencebuff.org/tifft-nature-preserve.
Five Things I Love About Tifft Nature Preserve
By Lauren Mayenko, Experience Manager, Tifft Nature Preserve
- Watching the sunset from atop the Mounds. Buffalo, NY, is uniquely situated in that we can to view the sunset over Lake Erie. The Mounds area of the preserve provides a wonderful vista to view the sunset from a higher elevation. It really is stunning!
- Spring Migration! Tifft Nature Preserve is part of the International Migratory Flyway. Beginning in March, every day is a new experience with migratory birds – starting with waterfowl and continuing with songbirds! The trees are literally filled with song and around every corner is a new discovery.
- Connecting children with nature. Because Tifft Nature Preserve is located within the City of Buffalo, we have a lot of children visit from Buffalo Public Schools. Many of these children have very little exposure to nature and discovery in the outdoors. At the end of every tour, I ask the students what they liked or learned during the experience. When the answer is a resounding “Everything!” it doesn’t get much better than that!
- Weddings! Believe it or not, many people choose to hold their wedding ceremony at Tifft Nature Preserve. It’s so exciting and romantic to witness a wedding with the preserve as the backdrop. With the dichotomy of nature and the grain elevators in the background, you know you are firmly in Buffalo.
- Families visiting the preserve. Working at a nature preserve we see a lot of extended families taking time to unplug from their busy lives and spend time together exploring the world outdoors. People from all over Western New York visit Tifft for a variety of reasons – from birding to fishing to exploring the cattail marsh – there is something for everyone to enjoy!