Blue Jay Point Public Programs

An instructor and family dip netting at the Blue Jay Study Pond
The Study Pond features in many of our public programs.

Blue Jay Point County Park offers programs covering history, nature and recreational topics. Public programs are open for registration to the general public.

Nature Peekers

Preschool aged kids making a dinosaur skeleton out of cardboard tubes on the brick patio in front of the Education Center
Cardboards tubes make great dinosaur bones!

A monthly program series for very young children ages 18 months–3 years (and their grown-ups!) where we listen to a story, practice developmentally appropriate skills, interact with other youngsters and enjoy nature outside whenever possible. Preregistration is required for these free, 30-minute programs. Walk-ups are not guaranteed a spot.

Up, Down and Around
Tuesday, March 14, 10:30–11 a.m.
This garden is on the move! From seeds dropping into soil to corn bursting from its stalks, from children chasing butterflies to ants burrowing underground. A good-time, rollicking celebration of things that grow in "Up, Down and Around," by Katherine Ayres.

Lola Plants a Garden 
Tuesday, April 4, 10:30-11am 
In Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, Lola explores what she needs to plant her own garden and how to take care of it. Come learn about our garden, what a seed is and how to take care of them! 

Nuts to You! 
Tuesday, May 16, 10:30-11am 
It's summer in the city, and a rascally squirrel is up to all sorts of tricks. But when he sneaks inside an apartment window, he'll need one nutty solution to get back out! Explore the world of squirrels through the fun book Nuts to You! by Lois Ehlert

Little Green 
Tuesday, June 6, 10:30-11am 
A little green hummingbird is flying through a sunny garden, leaving a path for sharp eyes to follow. A young artist is watching--and painting what he sees. Little Green by Keith Baker captures all the energy and excitement of a hummingbird's flight; let us explore that excitement together!  

Nature Stories

Kids looking for small living things under a rotten log
You can find an amazing secret world under a rotting log.

Nature Stories is a 1-hour program for children ages 3–6, with a participating parent/adult, and includes a combination of inside time and outside nature exploration. Preregistration is required for these free, 1-hour programs. Walk-ups are not guaranteed a spot.

A Nest Full of Eggs
Tuesday, March 7, 1–2 p.m.
Take a look at lots of nests and more as you learn about spring bird activities. Decorate a home for birds to invite them to your area for the spring! Teacher Workday

Bring your family to a FREE Songbird Celebration at Blue Jay Point County Park on Saturday, April 29th! This year we are observing the World Migratory Bird Day theme “Water: Sustaining Bird Life!” Come see how we incorporate that theme as you enjoy bird-related activities throughout the park. Follow the link for several fun bird hikes that you can preregister for. This is a great outing for families!

Plant a Seed 
Tuesday, May 9, 1-2pm 
Garden tales, seed dissecting and planting fun are the order of the day. Explore Blue Jay’s Garden and see what plants you can find!  Traditional school early release day.

Turtle Tales 
Wednesday, June 28, 1-2pm 
What animal carries his own shelter around with him?  A turtle, of course!  Join us for tons of turtle fun and learn all about these shelly creatures. 

Family Wildlife Series

Animal pictures made out of colorful fall leaves
Animal inspired leaf collages

Family Wildlife Series (FWS) programs are usually open to all ages, although information and activities are most appropriate for ages 5 years and up. Occasionally there will be a FWS program with a higher age limit – if so, it will be indicated in the description. All members of the family in attendance must be registered to attend the program – if you are unable to register a family member, either the size limit of the class has been reached, or that child does not meet the age limit to attend. Don't forget, kids are not required to attend – individual adults are welcome!

Preregistration is required for all Family Wildlife Series Programs unless otherwise stated. Walk-ups are not guaranteed a spot.

Going on a Bear Hunt
Saturday, March 11, 2–3 p.m.
Don’t be afraid! Bring your favorite stuffed bear to Blue Jay for an interactive hike using all five senses to learn about Black Bears. Enjoy part scavenger hunt, part adventure, and a whole lot of fun.

Eye of Newt
Saturday, March 25, 10–11 a.m.
Delve into the watery world of a special kind of salamander, the Eastern Red-Spotted Newt. Join us for a game and dip-netting for newts in our pond!

Bring your family to a FREE Songbird Celebration at Blue Jay Point County Park on Saturday, April 29th! This year we are observing the World Migratory Bird Day theme “Water: Sustaining Bird Life!” Come see how we incorporate that theme as you enjoy bird-related activities throughout the park. Follow the link for several fun bird hikes that you can preregister for. This is a great outing for families! 

Leaves of Three 
Saturday, May 13, 10-11am 
Want to dazzle friends and family with your knowledge of one of Nature’s most notorious plants?  Each family will make a poison ivy bandana to take home—and learn the tricks for staying free of the dreaded itches! Part of ecoEXPLORE Botany season.

One Small Pond
Saturday, May 27, 10-11am
Blue Jay’s pond is teeming with life!  Get up close and personal with amphibians and aquatic macro invertebrates as you learn about the producers, consumers and decomposers that keep the food chain going in this tiny pond.  Family program for ages 5 and up.

Totally Turtles
Saturday, June 3, 10-11am
Turtles are renowned in tales – from the Tortoise and the Hare to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Come find out the real scoop on turtles and how they “earn a living” (and maybe learn a new tale, too!) Part of ecoEXPLORE Herpetology season.

Pollination Sensation  
Saturday, June 24, 10-11am 
Imagine living in a world without bees or other pollinators. It would be a world without flowers and fruit, even a world without chocolate! Make a cool pollination craft while you learn about various pollinator animals, large and small, as we celebrate National Pollination Week in June.

Serious Skills for Adults

Adult workshop participant looking for spiders and small insects in a beat sheet
ID'ing spiders caught in a beat sheet.

Adult Bird Hike
Saturday, April 29, 8:30am-10am
Join NC State Park I & E Specialist Brian Bockhahn on a hike to locate spring migrants through bird song and observation. Enjoy a cup of shade-grown coffee when you get back!  Criteria II/III or Continuing Ed credit available for the NC EE Certification Program. Stick around for our Songbird Celebration that day for more Criteria II hikes you can participate in! For ages 16yr & up.

Life in a Pond
Saturday, May 6, 1:30-3:30pm
Come investigate Blue Jay's always popular man-made, mini-pond through a hands-on adults-only pond exploration! Learn more about our local aquatic ecosystems and the native animals and plants that exist in it. Maybe even get inspired with a few simple ideas about how to create a wildlife friendly aquatic habitat in your own space. Come dressed to get a bit wet and mucky. This workshop can count towards Criteria II/III or Continuing Education credit for participants in the NCEE Certification program. For ages 16yr & up.

Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden
Saturday, June 17, 10am-12pm
Did you know that about one third of our diet comes from insect pollinated plants? Come learn what you can do to welcome pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds & more! Find out how to provide habitat for shelter and nesting sites, protect them from threats and more for these necessary and important creatures in our environment.  Led by Extension Master Gardener℠ this FREE workshop will qualify for Criteria II or III or Continuing Ed of the NC EE Certification Program. For ages 16yr & up.

Insects in Order
Saturday, June 24, 1-3pm
With over a million documented species on Earth, insects can be a hard group to learn how to identify. Join us to learn the characteristics of common insect orders. You’ll also get hands-on experience with identification in our meadow and pond! This FREE workshop can count towards Criteria II/III credit or Continuing Education for participants in the NCEE Certification program. For ages 16yr & up.

Whether you are an outdoor buff wanting to hone your skills, or a dabbler who would just like to try something new, come hang with the Blue Jay staff and work on some Serious Skills! Criteria II or III or CEU credit may be available for participants in the NC EE Certification Program, depending on the session. Preregistration is required for all SSA sessions. SSA session topics run the gamut from Field ID workshops to Eco-Crafts and Upcycling!

Educator Workshops

Adult workshop participants participating in a small group discussion inside a classroom in the Blue Jay Center for Environmental Education
Educator Workshops combine group discussion with field skills.

Blue Jay Point offers a variety of adult programs, including a number of workshops for NC Environmental Education Certification or CEU credits.

Methods of Teaching Environmental Education
Tuesday, August 15, 5-9 p.m. (bring a bag dinner and drink) AND Wednesday, August 16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (bring bag lunch and drink) 

The focus of this 10-hour workshop is to prepare participants from a variety of educational backgrounds and experiences in both the formal and non-formal sectors to use exemplary Environmental Education teaching methods. Participants will learn about a variety of teaching techniques, methods and instructional strategies; and the workshop will include multiple interactive components. This is a required workshop for all NC Environmental Education Certification candidates.

Note: You MUST have completed and received credit for the Basics of Environmental Education 10 hour Independent Study before enrolling in the workshop. Anyone who hasn’t completed Basics of EE will be placed on a waiting list. Adult workshop; FREE but pre-registration is required. 

Check out our Serious Skills of Adults for some great opportunities for Criteria II and III or Continuing Education hours. 

Nature Play Days

Children using thematic "loose parts" in a natural play area during a Nature Play Day
Nature Play Day participants hard at play!

Adults with young children are invited to come to Blue Jay for summertime monthly thematic Nature Play Days taking place in Blue Jay’s Natural Play Area. The focus will be on free play, which means having self-guided activities with no start and end time and flow from kids' creativity. Education staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide guidance. Materials and activities are planned for 3–7-year-olds, but younger children are welcome to attend.  Meet in the Natural Play Area – follow the wooden signs from either the playground or tee ball parking lots. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday, June 20  Theme:  Gardening
Tuesday, July  25  Theme:  Water Play
Tuesday, August  22  Theme:  Fairies & Gnomes
Tuesday, September 12  Theme: Dinosaur

A Nature Play Day at Blue Jay is a free, walk-up activity from 10 a.m.–noon and requires no preregistration. If the weather seems uncertain, check our Facebook page or call 919-870-4330 before coming to make sure the Nature Play Day is still happening.

Become a Junior Park Explorer!

Junior Park Explorer graphic

Do you like to explore parks and preserves? Do you like winning prizes? Our Junior Park Explorers program is for you! Learn more here.