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.

Welcome Home, Bear!
Tuesday, Sept. 5, 10:30–11 a.m.
Bear is tired of waking up every morning in the same green forest, so he decides to search for a new place to live in Welcome Home, Bear! by Il Sung Na. Meet animals in their habitats around the world – and return with Bear to the one place he is truly happy.

Walking Through the Jungle
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 10:30–11 a.m.
In Walking Through the Jungle, by Julie Lacome, follow a small child as he walks, creeps, leaps and swings through the jungle. What does he see? What does he hear? Better join and find out!

The Busy Little Squirrel
Tuesday, Nov. 7, 10:30–11 a.m.
The leaves have started to fall. The air is cold. Squirrel needs to get ready for winter. Figure out why The Busy Little Squirrel, by Nancy Tafuri, is so busy during the changing of seasons.

The Bear’s Winter House
Tuesday, Dec. 5, 10:30–11 a.m.
Bear is behaving very strangely indeed: collecting moss, logs, and branches to build a winter house and the other animals wonder what he is doing. The Bear’s Winter House, by John Yeoman, explores why animals need to get ready for winter!

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.

Fishy Fun
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 1–2 p.m.
Stay cool and school together for this fabulously fun fish program. Listen to The Rainbow Fish and make a rainbow fish of your own. 

Going Batty
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 1–2 p.m.
Have you ever seen bats zipping around just at dusk?  Find out why and learn what makes bats really cool critters.

Woodland Harvest
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 1–2 p.m.
The woods are hopping with critters gathering fall fruits. Learn about different types of fruit and practice some “gathering techniques!”

Makin’ Tracks
Thursday, Dec. 28, 1–2 p.m.
Who goes there!? Learn how to read the clues that tell us what animals are around and what they’ve been doing.

Does your 4–5-year-old enjoy being outdoors and learning about nature? Check out our November EcoKids mini camp.

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 to Seed
Saturday, Sept. 16, 10–11 a.m.
Ever wonder how that plant got there? A seed of course! Come learn about seeds and the many ways they get from place to place. Harvest seeds from the Blue Jay butterfly garden and create seed packets to take them home for your yard! 

Saturday, Sept. 30, 10–11 a.m.
Love them or hate them spiders are here to stay. Play some spider games and find out why these interesting arachnids play a vital role in our ecosystem and learn how to live with them a bit easier. Part of the ecoEXPLORE Arachnology field season.

Batty, Batty, Batty 1-2-3!
Saturday, Oct. 14, 10–11 a.m.
Learn all about our local bats and the exciting things they do for us.   Wrap up the session by making a bat luminary to use in your fall celebrations! 

Birding for All
Saturday, Oct. 21, 10–11 a.m. 
Celebrate #YearOfTheTrail and Birdability Week 2023! As the season changes, birds are making their way south for the winter. Learn about our regular and seasonal birds while enjoying a slow birding day. Our route will be around a half mile walk, across asphalt and concrete pavers. We will take some time to sit on the front porch to watch the bird feeders. Our route will be fully accessible for wheelchairs and others with mobility concerns. Binoculars will be available to borrow for anyone who needs them.   

Please contact us for further information about any accessibility questions. For more information on Birdability

Recycled Ruckus
Saturday, Nov. 18, 2–3 p.m.
What’s all the ruckus? In honor of America Recycles Day, learn the ins and outs of plastics recycling; then create a cool ornament, backpack tag, or pendant out of a repurposed plastic food tray to take home.

Treats for Tweets
Saturday, Dec. 9, 2–3 p.m.
Wonder what birds are visiting during the winter? Learn to ID a few common winter “feeder birds”, and then make some yummy bird treats to take home. 

Call of the Wild
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2–3 p.m.
Explore the wilds of winter and delve into the often-overlooked mammals using a variety of tracking techniques. Learn how mammals survive in winter and what you might find left behind to help you become an expert tracker. Part of the ecoEXPLORE Mammalogy field season.

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.

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! Preregistration is required. 

Will It Kill Me?
Saturday, Oct. 14, 1–3 p.m.
Are there alligators in Falls Lake? Could you find a Brown Recluse spider in Raleigh? Living in NC means sharing your home state with lots of interesting species, and most of them harmless to humans. Feel more at ease in the outdoors by learning to identify the more dramatic species of animals and plants that live in our area.

Hooting Around
Saturday, Nov. 11, 2–4 p.m.
Owl’s are so cool and mysterious and you want to know all about them?! You’ve come to the right place as we’ll delve into local owls, their habits and habitats, and figure out who you hear hooting at night. Find out what an owl pellet is (and dissect one) and how to encourage owls around your own home. For ages 16yrs. & up.

Winter Birding (at Green Hills County Park) 
Saturday, Dec. 16, 10–11:30 a.m. 
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...wait no, it's definitely a bird. Join us to learn how to identify birds via sight and sound and any other interesting nature that crosses our path on a walk at Green Hills County Park. Borrow or bring your own binoculars to scope out nature from a distance. For ages 16yrs. & up.

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.

Project Wet
Thursday, Sept. 14, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Join us as we dive into Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), a K–12, interdisciplinary environmental education program based on water. All participants will receive the new Project WET 2.0 Guide, which is correlated to the new NC Essential Standards and is filled with hands-on activities that make learning meaningful and relevant to students. Explore the new on-line Project WET resources available only to those with a WET 2.0 Guide. Earn six hours toward Criteria I for NCEE Certification. Bring a bag lunch and snacks, and dress in clothes and shoes that you can be active in.

Don’t Waste It! 
Friday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. 
Don’t Waste It! is an environmental education program about waste management, recycling, composting, and waste reduction, which includes 11 lessons covering five themes: municipal solid waste, recycling, plastics, composting, and landfills. Each lesson includes a group activity, independent practice, extensions, and additional activities for K–Adult ages. The workshop will provide a base of knowledge needed to teach each lesson and run through many of the lessons and each attendee will receive a Don’t Waste It! guide and some lesson materials. 

Don’t Waste It! is for both formal and non-formal educators with lessons for pre-K to 12th graders that can easily be adapted for adult audiences. This course qualifies Criteria I or Continuing Ed Credit for NCEE Certification. This program is run by the Chatham County Solid Waste & Recycling and does have a fee, please follow this link to pay.  Please make sure to register thru Wake County and then follow payment link. 

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.

Nature Play Days are done for the season, check back in spring/summer 2024!

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.