Description

This 236-acre park, on Staten Island's southern tip, is dotted with streams, woodlands, ponds and meadows and has three main trails. In spring blue herons and egrets feed in the shallows while muskrats and spring peepers break the surface of Spring Pond.

This park and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge are the city's most active spots for migratory fowl. In summer the meadows are alive with purple gerardia, goldenrod, turk's cap lilies and other flora. Fall triggers the usual vibrant display of foliage and the intense renewal of migratory activity. And then there is winter at Blue Heron Park with its stark raw beauty. Activities led by volunteer naturalists are held throughout the year. Wildflower, fungus and geology walks, pond studies and photography sessions are offered.

Families

Parents and children ages 3 to 10 can learn about the environment as they participate in programs such as MaMa & Me, Kids & Kritters, Mother Nature's Stories or Friends of the Woodlands. Activities include nature lessons, walks through the park, animal bone identification, a nature scavenger hunt, storytelling and nature-related crafts. Older children, in junior high and early high school, can become Explorers of the Wild as they analyze various types of ecosystems found within the park. Each program in the series focuses on life in one particular type of ecosystem—field, woodland, pond or sky. In the summer, the park offers nature workshops for children ages 5 to 12 that meet three or four days weekly for two, three or four weeks. Special events and seasonal activities are held throughout the year, including parties, demonstrations, poetry readings, songfests and a park clean-up.

School/Groups

Programs at the Park Trees at Work, the Ways of the Forest, Wetlands to Woodlands, Bugs and Butterflies, Spring Beauty and Seeds and Pods are all programs offered at the park. Students explore the park and discover the importance of trees to the earth's survival; learn how Native Americans lived in the forest; find out how ponds, bogs and meadows change into woodlands; study the vital role insects play in the natural environment; observe the behavior of plants and animals in the spring; and examine nature's harvest of nuts, berries, cones, seeds and pods. These programs are available to schools and other facilities in all five boroughs and parts of New Jersey. In-school programs on waterways, rainforests and the relationship of Native Americans to nature are available to schools and other facilities on Staten Island. The programs for children in grades 3 through 8 include videos, slides, reproductions and artifacts.