The Pfeiffer Nature Center was established by Wendy Pfeiffer Lawrence to honor her father, Timothy N. Pfeiffer. It is located in the Portville community where her mother, Eleanor Knox Wheeler, was born and raised.
From her birth in 1925 Wendy grew up spending summers in the village and around the countryside of Portville. In the early 1940’s her father built the cabin on land overlooking ‘Griffin’ valley and thus more excursions into the woods and meadows “up Lillibridge” by family, friends and visitors began.
For over seven decades Wendy spent some of every year in the area, for most of that time with her husband Clive Lawrence. In the twenty years (after the death of her father) from 1971 to 1991 they looked forward to living at the cabin during the summer and early fall months.
Wendy loved to walk the woods. She believed in the inherent pleasure, value and aesthetics of quiet immersion in a forest. Her hope was that such experiences by visitors to this place would instill appreciation similar to that of her own and her family.
In 1998 the Pfeiffer Nature Center and Foundation was established. It consists of the 188 acres of property donated by Wendy Pfeiffer Lawrence. In 2002, an additional 460 acres were added to the Nature Center due to the generosity of Col. Charles Eshelman.
Pfeiffer Nature Center is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization committed to building a foundation of knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the intrinsic values and aesthetic qualities of the natural world while instilling a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the natural world within the global community.
The Nature Center has a large volunteer base, with three are part-time paid positions: the Director, Financial Administrator, and Naturalist/Programs Coordinator. A volunteer board of directors govern the organization.
The Nature Center is supported by donations, annual memberships, endowment, and event sponsorships. We produce a newsletter, The Ovenbird, which is distributed to members.
Annually, more than 4,000 people attend our programs and over 5,000 hike our trails independently.
Pfeiffer Nature Center is a member of the Association of Nature Center Administrators, the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, and is located in the heart of the Enchanted Mountains.