St. Johns County Naturalist Programs

Explore St. Johns County

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

Freshwater Fishing 101

Where: Alpine Groves Park, 2060 SR 13, St. Johns
Details: Learn the ins and outs of fishing freshwater in Florida. Ever wonder about what to put in your tackle box, how to use nets and traps, or what the fishing regulations are? This series of classes will cover all of this and more. Sign up for one class or attend the whole series. Bring your own gear and learn while you fish! *** All participants must have a Freshwater Fishing License or be a Florida Resident age 65 and up. To obtain a license, visit gooutdoorsflorida.com. This program is FREE, but you must register on Eventbrite to attend. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Owl + Sunset Symphony
When: Friday, February 7 from 5:45 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Owl Registration - February 7
Where: Beluthahatchee Park, 1501 SR 13, Fruit Cove
Details: Learn about owls and enjoy nature’s symphony as you experience the transition from light to dark. Water birds and owls often come out to join the evening symphony. A representative from The Stetson Kennedy Foundation will share some local history. This program is FREE. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Family Fishing

  • Wednesday, February 5 – Casting
  • Wednesday, February 12 – Fish ID and Regulations
  • Wednesday, February 19 – Proper Fish Handling
  • Wednesday, February 26 – Knot Tying

Where: Vaill Point Park, 630 Vaill Point Rd., St. Augustine
Details: Join us for a hands-on, family fishing series from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday in February. All children must be a minimum of 5 years old and be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the program. This program is FREE, but you must register on CivicRec to attend. Family Fishing Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Owl Prowl – Vaill Point Park
When: Thursday, February 6 from 5:45 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Where: Vaill Point Park, 630 Vaill Point Rd., St. Augustine
Details: Join Park Naturalist, AyoLane Halusky, and learn about the creatures of the night. We will explore the park at sunset in search of our resident owls. Bring your questions and share your stories about the night time forest activities. This program is FREE and open to all ages, but you must register on Eventbrite to attend. Owl Prowl Registration. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Porch Talks at Alpine Groves Park
When: Saturday, February 8 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Where: Alpine Groves Park, 2060 SR 13, St. Johns
Details: We have partnered with the Stetson Kennedy Foundation for Porch Talks. Local experts talk about local issues on our porch talk series focused on the art, history, environmental issues, and interesting personalities. Learn about the Northwest part of St. Johns County including notable landmarks and the historical richness of the area. This part of the Porch Talks series is titled, “The Ladies of Tea: 1700s-1900s.” This program is FREE and open to everyone. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Estuaries

  • Tuesday, February 11 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Ponte Vedra Library
  • Thursday, February 13 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Bartram Trail Library
  • Tuesday, February 25 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Anastasia Island Library

Details: Estuaries are places where freshwater and saltwater meet, but they are so much more than that. Join Park Naturalist, Kelly Ussia, for an engaging talk about this ecologically and economically important ecosystem. These events are FREE and open to all ages. Seating is first-come, first-served. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

904 Naturalist Series – Exploring the Circles of Place
When: February 12, 15, 19, 20, and 22 and March 1 and 4
* Wednesday classes from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Field Trip TBA
Where: Wednesday classes held at Main Library, 1960 N. Ponce De Leon Blvd., St. Augustine
Details: In Exploring the Circles of Place, we will learn about an intimate connection within your local wilderness. This is the center core of the 904 Naturalist project. Be prepared to spend observation time in nature, learning the local systems and mapping out your area on so many levels. To connect to the natural world as the masters did, you must emerge yourself beyond the paved trail and find your own reflection in nature. This event is FREE, but you must register for the entire program to attend. Exploring the Circles of Place Registration. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Trout Creek Sunset Kayak Trips
When: Thursday, February 13 and Friday, February 14 from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Trout Creek Park, 6795 Collier Rd., Orangedale
Details: Come explore Trout Creek with St. Johns County Naturalists. Participants will paddle the creek out to the St. Johns River and learn about the unique history and diverse wildlife of the area. At the end of the tour, participants will get to experience a beautiful sunset on the water.

Fees:

  • 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

To register, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335. When setting up a reservation please include a phone number, e-mail, date of the trip you would like to attend, residency status, and if you will be using a county kayak.

Native Landscaping: Rain Gardens
Date: Friday, February 14 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Where: The PLAYERS Community Center, 175 Landrum Ln., Ponte Vedra Beach
Details: Showing the flow of rainwater from your landscape saves on irrigation, decreases polluted runoff, and helps prevent flooding. We have partnered with UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County to learn tips and tricks for successful rain gardening. This program is FREE and open to all ages, but you must register on CivicRec to attend. Rain Gardens Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Basics in Nature Photography

  • Thursday, February 20 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, February 27 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, March 5 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Where: Alpine Groves Park, 2060 SR 13, St. Johns
Details: Do you have a nice camera and always leave it on auto? Do you wish you could capture the amazing beauty of the nature around you? Join local photographer Nicholle Goodnight for a hands-on class to sharpen your photography skills. Participants will need to bring their own camera equipment and be at least 12 years in age. This program is FREE. You must attend all three classes to participate. Basics in Nature Photography Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Night Under the Stars
Date: Thursday, February 27 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: St. Johns County Fairgrounds, 5840 SR 17, Elkton
Details: We have partnered with Ancient City Astronomy Club (ACAC) for an evening that is out of this world. Bring your friends and family and learn all about the night sky including constellations, star names, and more! Telescopes and binoculars will be on-hand to view the moon, planets, and other celestial objects. This program is FREE, but you must register on CivicRec to attend. Night Under the Stars Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Weed Wrangle
When: Saturday, February 29 from 9 am-12 pm
Where: Mary Street Beach Access Point, 5780 Gloria Ave., St. Augustine
Details: Join Parks Naturalist, Kelly Ussia and take part in a statewide volunteer effort to help rescue our public parks and green spaces from invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines and flowering plants. This site will focus on hand pulling of the invasive Mother of Millions plants. All necessary supplies will be provided and we recommend you bring water and wear sunscreen, long pants. You must wear closed toed shoes. For more information or to find other Weed Wrangle sites in the region please visit the Florida Invasive Species Partnership page.

Wellness Walk: A Stroll for Well-being
When: Sunday, March 1 from 10am-12pm
Where: Arboretum Trail at the St Augustine AMP Parking lot, 1340C A1A S, St. Augustine
Details: Join St Johns County Naturalist AyoLane Halusky and learn about the environment and Forest Therapy skills. Walk with intention and reduce stress. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Florida Master Naturalist – Coastal Restoration
When: Wednesday, March 4 through Friday, March 6
Time: 9am-5pm
Where: GTM Research Reserve & GTM R.R. Marineland
Details: We’ve partnered with GTM Research Reserve to offer a Florida Master Naturalist Program focused on Coastal Restoration. This program is for adults of all knowledge levels and is comprised of classroom presentations, hands-on activities, and field trips. Coastal Restoration Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

904 Naturalist Series – Exploring the Life of Birds
When: March 11, 15, 22, 25, 28 and April 1
* Wednesday classes from 3-6pm and Field Trip TBA
Where: Wednesday classes at Main Library, 1960 N. Ponce De Leon Blvd., St. Augustine
Details: In Exploring the Life of Birds, we will learn how to connect with and the language of 6 native Florida birds. This event is FREE, but you must register for the entire program to attend. Exploring the Life of Birds Registration. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Fort Matanzas Kayak Trips

  • Thursday March 12 from 11am-2pm
  • Friday March 13 from 11:30am-2:30pm
  • Saturday March 14 from 12:30pm-3:30pm
  • Friday March 27 from 10:30am-1:30pm
  • Saturday March 28 from 11am-2pm
  • Sunday March 29 from 12pm-3pm

Where: Fort Matanzas National Monument, 8635 A1A South, St. Augustine
Details: St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with the National Park Service to bring you an exciting kayak trip! During this trip you will get to view the fort from a whole new perspective and paddle through the marsh to experience Southeast Intracoastal Waterway Park. Seats are limited. Fort Matanzas Kayak Trip Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Owl Prowl Canopy Shores Park

Where: 804 Christina Dr., St. Augustine
Details: Join us to learn these fascinating creatures of the night and explore the park at sunset in search of our resident owls. This program is FREE and open to all ages, but you must register on CivicRec to attend. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Owl Prowl Vaill Point Park
When: Thursday, March 21 from 7:15-9:45pm
Where: Vaill Point Park, 632 Vaill Point Rd. St. Augustine
Details: Join us to learn these fascinating creatures of the night and explore the park at sunset in search of our resident owls. This program is FREE and open to all ages, but you must register to attend. Owl Prowl Vaill Point Registration. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0348.

Estuaries – Endangered Species

  • Tuesday, March 24 from 1-2pm at Anastasia Island Library
  • Wednesday, March 25 from 3-4pm at Ponte Vedra Library

Details: Florida is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, unfortunately some of these species are in decline and without intervention may go extinct. Join Parks Naturalist, Kelly Ussia, for an engaging and informative program focused on the listed species of Florida and what you can do to ensure their continued survival. These events are FREE. Seating is first-come, first-served. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.


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.