St. Johns County Naturalist Programs

AyoLane Halusky, County Naturalist   |   P: (904) 209-0348   |   F: (904) 209-0321  |   E: ahalusky@sjcfl.us

Activities at St. Johns County Parks may be scheduled for school trips, home school groups, Scouts, 4-H and other youth or adult groups. Park Naturalist Programs are free and open to the public. Contact AyoLane Halusky, County Naturalist at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or call (904) 209-0348 to schedule activities.


Announcements, Events, Activities 

Beach Cleanup at Vilano Beach
When: Wednesday, July 11; Wednesday, August 8
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Where: Beach Access Area, 2750 Anahma Drive, Vilano Beach
Details: Join Park Naturalist Kelly Ussia in being good stewards of our beaches and participate in a beach cleanup at Vilano Beach. All necessary supplies will be provided. Plan accordingly for water, weather, sun, and bugs. This program is FREE. For more information, contact Kelly Ussia at 904.209.0335 or kussia@sjcfl.us.

Yoga for Kids at the Beach
When: Friday, July 20; August 17
Time: 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.
Where: Frank B. Butler Park East, 5860 A1A South, St. Augustine 32080
Details: Learn to relax your mind and body with some simple, kid-friendly stretches, exercises and activities. Please wear loose clothing and bring your own towel or mat. This program is FREE and open to kids ages 5 to 12. For more information, contact Kelly Ussia at 904.209.0335 or kussia@sjcfl.us. June 15 Yoga for Kids Registration | July 20 Yoga for Kids Registration

Fishing Clinic 101
When: Wednesdays August 7, 14, 21, 28, and September 4
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Where: Shands Pier, Shands Pier Road, St. Johns
Details: We are offering a series of five free clinics exploring the basics of fishing in Florida. Fishing 101 covers everything from fishing regulations, what bait to use, different nets, fish identification, fish cleaning, and how to tie a knot. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and a water bottle, as well as a fishing rod and reel with fishing line. For more information or to register, contact Josh Bratovich at jjbratovich@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0320.

Coastal Restoration Course
When: Monday, August 13 through Wednesday, August 15
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: THE PLAYERS Community Center, 175 Landrum Lane, Ponte Vedra Beach,
GTM Research Reserve, 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach,
GTM Research Reserve Marineland, 9741 Ocean Shore Boulevard, Palm Coast
Details: We’ve partnered with Duval County IFAS Extension to offer you the Florida Master Naturalist Program’s Coastal Restoration Course. This program is for adults of all knowledge levels, and affords them the opportunity to learn more about living shorelines. The course is comprised of classroom presentations, hands-on activities, and field trips and is taught by certified instructors Kelly Ussia and Carol Wyninger. For more information, registration, and payment. Coastal Restoration Course. Contact Kelly Ussia with any questions at 904.209.0335 or kussia@sjcfl.us.

Sunset Dolphin Walk
When: Tuesday, August 14, Wednesday, August 15, Friday, August 17
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Beach Access Area, 2750 Anahma Drive, Vilano Beach
Details: Walk the beach looking for dolphins while enjoying a beautiful sunset. We’ve partnered with Marineland Dolphin Adventure for a free beach walk. Learn about dolphin anatomy and behavior as well as other marine species. Register for Sunset Dolphin Walk. This program is FREE. For more information, contact Kelly Ussia at 904.209.0335 or kussia@sjcfl.us.

ACA Quickstart Kayak Course
When: Saturday, August 18
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Trout Creek Park, 6795 Collier Road, St. Augustine
Details: This course will focus on the fundamentals of kayaking including kayak designs, trip planning, water safety, basic paddle strokes, and rescue techniques taught by two Level 2 Certified ACA instructors. Cost is $80 per person. Registration: Please contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0335. To set up a reservation, include a phone number, email, and if you will be using a county kayak.

Moonlight Kayak Trip
When: Thursday, August 23, Friday, August 24, Saturday, August 25, Sunday, August 26
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Trout Creek Park, 6795 Collier Road, St. Augustine
Details: Come explore Trout Creek with our Park Naturalists in a whole new light, the moonlight. During this trip, participants will learn about the unique history of our local area as well as the creatures of the night.
The cost of this program is: SJC resident providing own boat: $20 per person; Non SJC resident providing own boat: $30 per person; SJC resident using a County boat: $40 per person; Non SJC resident using a County boat: $50 per person.
Registration: Please contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0335. To set up a reservation, include a phone number, email, date of the trip you would like to attend, residency status, and if you will be using a county kayak.

Florida Master Naturalist Program: Freshwater Systems Module
When: Every Monday and Wednesday, September 17 through October 3
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: THE PLAYERS Community Center, 175 Landrum Lane, Ponte Vedra Beach
Details: We’ve partnered with Duval County IFAS Extension to offer you the Florida Master Naturalist Program’s Freshwater Systems Module. This program is for adults of all knowledge levels, and affords them the opportunity to learn more about Florida’s freshwater environment. The class is comprised of classroom presentations, videos, field trips, and practical interpretation and is taught by certified instructors Kelly Ussia and Carol Wyninger. For more information, registration, and payment, click here for Freshwater Systems Module. Contact Kelly Ussia with any questions at 904.209.0335 or kussia@sjcfl.us.


Vision

To provide St. Johns County residents and visitors with opportunities to become better educated about the wilderness systems, historical relevance and sharing St. Johns County's Blue and Green-Ways areas along side the natural communities, mutually benefiting from each other.

Mission

To provide opportunities for the visitors and citizens of St. Johns County to experience and learn about our local natural and historical areas, creating a deeper connection while supporting sustainable communities that work with the Earth's natural systems.

Goals and Values

  • Education: Offering programs that teach individuals and groups about our environment, flora and fauna, local history, and the interaction between natural systems and the developed world. These programs are designed to foster connections with the environment by dispelling fears and fables and empowering individuals with knowledge, safe wilderness practices, and positive experiences.
  • Exploration: Come kayak and hike through our Green- and Blue-way spaces with a trained naturalist. Develop a life-long connection with the environment while exploring our passive parks and waterways. Offering group and individual tours, special events and programs. Public and private, day and overnight trips can be arranged seasonally.
  • Preservation: As we come together as a community that understands the value of our natural areas, we can develop ways to promote, protect, and preserve local wilderness and waterways for future generations. The St. Johns County Naturalist Program will work with local conservation groups and volunteers in environmental programming, events, and clean-ups.

Programs & Activities

  • Nature Walks and Programs
  • Kayaking
  • Master Naturalist Classes
  • Volunteer & Educational Opportunities
  • Explore Blue-way and Green-way Trails

SJC Parks and Recreation – Where everybody plays