Friends of Blue Heron Park

Programs at Blue Heron Park



For your pleasure, every Saturday and Sunday there is a naturalist-guided walk at 1:15 and another at 2:15, leaving from the Blue Heron Nature Center.

NATURE LIBRARY - Visit Blue Heron Nature Center’s NATURE LIBRARY, a collection of guidebooks, books & magazines about nature in the NYC area -- for adults, youngsters & children. The NATURE LIBRARY is available daily, except Monday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Nature Center -- for your study & enjoyment.

Spring Programs

Tuesdays, April 7, 21, 28, May 12, 26, June 2, 16, 23 - 3-4:30 pm

Yoga for the Young at Heart - Chair Yoga - The best remedy for seniors is yoga. Prevent stiff muscles and achy joints. Lift your spirits and calm your mind. Creating greater flexibility gives you a new sense of self. Classes are open to people with disabilities. Instructor: Terry Seaman Information: 718-356-0106

Thursdays, April 9, 16, 23, 30 - 3-4:30 pm

Learn to Crochet - Crochet is easy to learn; it can stand on its own or add pizzazz to your knitting. During this four-week program, students will learn the basic crochet stitches and symbols, and read patterns with ease. This is a basic how-to class for those with little or no crochet experience. Plan to attend all four classes.

All ages welcome. Instructor: Kathleen Ruoti Registration: 718-967-6158

Saturday, April 11 - 11 am-3 pm

South Shore CSA Information Expo. The South Shore Community Supported Agriculture (SSCSA) is a volunteer organization run by Staten Islanders who support a local farmer to produce organically grown produce for their families. Meet the farmer who provides the produce and learn all about the program. Food and yoga demonstrations will take place as well. Email for more info.

Saturday, April 11 - 1-2:30 pm

Feed the Birds - Join Jack Baird to construct a bird feeder, only 12 kits available, so call for reservations: 716-317-1732. Bring a Philips head screwdriver (X point), and $5.00 material fee.

Saturday, April 18 - 2:30- 4 pm

Let's Draw Together: Nature Drawing Series. Draw plants with illustrator Skye Suter at Blue Heron Nature Center. Illustrated Nature Journaling with concentration on rendering surface textures. If weather is inclement class is held indoors. Please call 917-750-6364 for registration and materials requirements.

Sunday, April 19 - 9:30-11 am

Spring Hike with Mike. Join Mike Shanley as we explore Blue Heron Park in search of early spring birds and critters. Our target species for this walk for will be Yellow-throated Warbler, however we will also be looking for other early spring migrants. Highlights in past years have included Prothonotary and Hooded Warbler as well as Summer Tanager. Please meet at the nature center. Please email Mike at to reserve your spot.

Thursday, April 23 - 1-2:30 pm Herbs and Spices: Explore the culinary, medicinal, and household benefits of the herbs and spices in your kitchen pantry with herbalist Gert Coleman. Email or call 718 356 9235 to register for this program.

Thursday, April 30 - 1-2:30 pm

Starting an Herb Garden. Love the scent of fresh herbs? Want to grow herbs in your garden, in containers, or in a sunny window? Join Gert Coleman for tips and techniques on growing and using fresh herbs for flavor, fun, and remedies. Email or call 718 356 9235 to register for this program.

Sunday, May 3 - 11am-1pm

Spanish Camp Walk. Join archaeologist and local historian Mike Shanley on a walk through the ruins of historic Spanish Camp as he talks about its history, legacy, and future. Spanish Camp was a private community started in 1923 by anarchists from Spain who sought to live a life independent of modern society. Over time, Spanish Camp developed into a thriving self-sufficient community. Beginning in 1972, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day began spending much of her time at there, enchanted by the nearby ocean, and the simple, cooperative living of her neighbors. This may be one of the last chances to see what is left before development of the site begins! All ages welcome. Please email Mike at to reserve your spot.

Thursday, May 7 - 1-2:30 pm

Herbs for Health and Flavor. Join herbalist Gert Coleman to learn how herbs can add zest to your foods and keep you healthy all year. Email or call 718 356 9235 to register for this program.

Saturday, May 9 - 2:30- 4 pm.

Let's Draw Together: Nature Drawing Series. Draw plants with illustrator Skye Suter at Blue Heron Nature Center. Illustrated Nature Journaling with concentration on plant growth formations. If weather is inclement class is held indoors. Please call 917-750-6364 for registration and materials requirements.

Sunday, May 31 - 6-8 pm

Owl Prowl - While the sun slowly sets, Blue Heron Park comes alive with the sounds of our nocturnal neighbors. Visit the dark corners of the Park with Cliff

Hagen as he searches for owls and other creatures of the night.

Friday, June 5 - 7:30-9:30 pm

The Neanderthal People of Prehistoric Europe - Part 1 of 2 lectures on Neanderthal Man. A slide show presenting the history of discovery, range, evolution, physical characteristics, way of life, and culture of our closest hominid relative who lived 3000,000 to about 40,000 years ago in Europe and Western Asia. Discover just who the Neanderthal people were, how they arrived on this earth, and why they became extinct. There will also be a brief overview of general human evolution, and a look at Neanderthal's direct ancestors (Heidelberg Man).

Saturday, June 13, 2:30- 4 pm.

Let's Draw Together: Nature Drawing Series. Draw plants with illustrator Skye Suter at Blue Heron Nature Center. Illustrated Nature Journaling: creating a finished work from earlier studies. If weather is inclement class is held indoors. Please call 917-750-6364 for registration and materials requirements.

Friday, June 19 - 7:30-9:30 pm

Recent Discoveries of Neanderthal Man - Part 2 in the study of Neanderthal Man. This lecture on recent discoveries includes new insights into their extinction, findings of advanced culture that make them more like modern humans, the decipherment sequencing) of the Neanderthal genome (their genetic code), and what Neanderthal DNA has revealed about themselves and their relationship to modern humans (did they interbreed with modern man?). There will also be an overview of the astonishing discoveries from El Sidron cave in Northern Spain.

Children's Programs

Doodlebug FunTime

For ages 18 months-4 yrs, with care giver

(Doodlebug FunTime will return later in the year)

Kids & Kritters

For ages 5-7 with Parent

All programs take place on Saturdays, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. Dress your child weather appropriate. (Coats, hats, gloves and shoes you don't mind getting dirty) Part of these programs will take place outdoors. All programs will include a craft, story or game indoors. Instructor: Nancy Zawada 917-751-0071

APRIL 18 - EARTH DAY - What a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to take a hike through the beautiful woods of Blue Heron. Learn about the history of Earth Day, and Blue Heron Park, and what you can do to take care of our Earth.

MAY 16 - REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS - Which is which? Who is who? Learn how to tell the difference, and learn who lives in Blue Heron Park. Special live animal guests.

MAY 23 - HUMMINGBIRDS - Join us for fascinating facts about these beautiful and tiny birds.

MAY 30 - SPRING BIRDS - Tweet, tweet they're back! Our colorful and musical friends are back from migration. Learn how to identify some by sight and sound.

JUNE 6 - POND DIP - Ever wondered what lives in a pond? We'll show you who! Enjoy a hands on adventure and a close up look.

JUNE 13 - POND DIP - Ever wondered what lives in a pond? We'll show you who! Enjoy a hands on adventure and a close up look.

Krafty Kids

For ages 4-10 with care giver

Join Nancy Zawada and wiggle, hop or fly over to the Nature Center and join us for some Saturday afternoon crafty fun. These Programs are free, though preregistration is required so we have enough materials for crafts for each child: 917-751-0071. 1-2 pm on the following Saturdays:

APRIL 18 - EARTH DAY CRAFT - Join us for a craft using recycled materials. MAY 16 - FROG CRAFT





Natural Science Club

Ages 8-12

Programs for curious nature-oriented students ages 8-12. This Club will meet with Clay Wollney on the days listed with different topics relating to natural science. On the following dates from 2-3:30 pm. INFORMATION: 718-967-3542

Sunday, April 12: Springtime Hike around the Park. Seasonal changes of the spring will be observed as participants hike through the variety of environments in the park. Flowering plants, birds and their behavior as well as the growing invertebrate populations are expected to be some of the highlights of the hike. Saturday, May 9: What Lives under Rocks. From earthworms to salamanders, the microenvironment under rocks provides many small animals with a moist dark place to live. Participants will learn how these animals survive and interact in there hidden worlds.

Saturday, June 6: Importance of the Insect World. The classification, life cycles, diet, ecology and economic impact of insects are the subject of this session. Bugs, beetles, dragonflies and ants are just a few of the six-legged arthropods that participants will examine and learn about.

Explorers of the Wild

For ages 6-12

Explorers can learn a lot about the environment from Clay Wollney. Clay is a Naturalist, a science teacher at Staten Island Academy, & a featured columnist for the Staten Island ADVANCE. Clay is also known as "Mr. Discovery" at the Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences. On the following Sundays from 2-3:30 pm INFORMATION: 718-967-3542

Sunday, April 19: Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins. Although we think of them as slow moving, turtles have managed to survive through millions of years. The characteristics and adaptations of these shelled reptiles will be this month's topic. Native and foreign species of turtles and tortoises will be on hand for observation. Sunday, May 10: Pond Study. Some come to the surface to breathe and some have gills. Learn to identify the various organisms that live in a pond and their adaptations to life in the water. The ecosystems of Spring Pond will be studied during this session.

Sunday, June 14: The World of Worms. Earthworms, roundworms and planaria represent the three groups of worms. Participants will learn how to find these common worms and compare the characteristics unique to each of these common invertebrates.

Birding with Friends of Blue Heron

For all ages

Young birders & enthusiastic "bird people" will learn about how birds behave & migrate. Howie Fischer will emphasize bird identification. Places and times are listed below. All participants (for every walk) should bring binoculars and be prepared for some walking. In an event of severe weather conditions, all scheduled walks will be cancelled. For information and directions please feel free to contact Howie Fischer at 347-279-2819 or 718-981-4002 or

Please note that the April walks begin at 9 AM and the May walks begin at 8 AM for the simple reason that during this very active warbler migration it is better to get out early as possible, so we can find the birds that are flying into the park and most importantly, bird song is at its peak earlier in the morning.

Clove Lakes Park is one of the best sites on the north shore of Staten Island to find migratory birds during April and May. Meet at Royal Oaks Road closest to Rice Avenue and we will bird the park starting with the fields near the fire tower. All of our CLP walks will meet here due to the availability of parking spaces. Join us on the following dates:

Friday, April 3 - 9 am

Friday, April 24 - 9 am

Sunday, May 3 - 8 am

Sunday, May 10 - 8 am: This is our traditional Mother's Day walk which the Friends of Blue Heron has sponsored for a number of years. This date is what we may refer to as the "peak migration."

Friday, May 15 - 8 am

Monday, May 11 - 8 am Conference House Park in Tottenville. We meet in the parking lot near the visitor's center. This historical city park is located at the southernmost point in S.I. making it another fine birding site during migration.

Tuesday, May 26 - 5 am

An off Island trip to Old Mine Road ---- which is part of the Worthington Forest in New Jersey (Delaware Water Gap Route 80). We need to leave very early in the morning to reach this good birding area. Birds that we find here are the rare Cerulean Warbler and Kentucky Warblers. Cerulean Warblers nest here and apparently have been a specialty along the Delaware River. Hooded Warblers are very common nesting birds,as well as are American Redstarts, thrushes, Pileated Woodpecker and Acadian Flycatchers. Both cuckoos can be found here as well.

The woodlands overlooking the Delaware River are excellent for migrants, however the diversity of breeding birds here make it a worthwhile and enjoyable trip. We leave Staten Island no later than 5:30 A M, so it is important that if anyone is interested please contact me. E-mail me with your questions and concerns, and I will discuss trip details and the arrangements. I always have 2 passengers, so we need another car for a car pool. cell: 347-279-2819

Please note: All programs subject to change

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