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.

In a Small, Small Pond
Tuesday, July 2, 10:30–11 a.m.
We’ll be peeking into the Blue Jay Pond after we read "In the Small, Small Pond," by Denise Fleming. We’ll look at real tadpoles and salamanders up close and handle pretend ones in a water touch tank.

The Very Quiet Cricket
Tuesday, Aug. 6, 10:30–11 a.m.
"The Very Quiet Cricket," by Eric Carle, captures our imagination while we practice counting and observing similarities and differences. A short walk to look for crickets and other insects rounds out our morning!

I Love Spiders
Tuesday, Sept. 3, 10:30–11 a.m.
Subject of nursery rhymes and tales, spiders are cool! Join staff to read "I Love Spiders," by John Parker, sing a spider song and pretend to BE a spider before taking a short walk to mist spider webs and to see who’s home.

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.

Marvelous Mud
Wednesday, June 12, 1–2 p.m.
Get down and dirty while we learn about the components of soil and what happens when you add water – mud!

Leapin’ Lizards
Wednesday, July 17, 1–2 p.m.
Are lizards really dinosaurs in miniature? Learn the answer to this, plus other interesting facts about our local lizards.

Crazy about Caterpillars
Wednesday, Aug. 14, 1–2 p.m.
Can you say “metamorphosis”? Learn about the exciting process that changes caterpillars into butterflies.  Visit Blue Jay’s butterfly garden while searching for the fluttering bright spots of summer and for munching, creeping caterpillars!

Crowing for Joy
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 1–2 p.m.
How can you tell the difference between an American Crow and a Fish Crow? Lots of Blue Jay kids can tell you that, but did you know that crows are among the smartest birds? Join us for an hour of amazing crow facts, stories and activities that will help you appreciate this large bird.

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.

Just Winging It
Saturday, June 22, 10–11 a.m.
Learn about the intricacies of bird behavior as you bird watch in a new way!

Squirmy Worms
Saturday, July 20, 10–11 a.m.
Compost is black gold!  Learn what compost is and why it’s so valuable while you get up close and personal with worms and create a mini worm composting bin to take home.

Pondering Ponds
Saturday, Aug. 17, 10–11 a.m.
Delve into the depths of the Blue Jay mini pond and discovery what aquatic wonders wait! We’ll focus on aquatic insects like water striders, dragonfly nymphs, and more that call this pond home. Part of the ecoEXPLORE Entomology field season. For ages 5 & up.

Warts & All
Saturday, Aug. 31, 10–11 a.m.
Toads are amphibians that spend the early part of their lives under water and the remainder of their lives on land eating the things that “bug your garden.”  Learn toad-ally fascinating things as we separate toad fact from fiction, and then create a toad abode to put in your yard.

Something Fishy
Saturday, Sept. 7, 10–11 a.m.
Swim on over for some fishy fun! Discover the wild world of ichthyology and what makes fish unique. Try your hand at some dry land reeling, make a fish print and learn about our common native NC fish. Part of the ecoEXPLORE Ichthyology field season.

From Landfill to Green Hill (at Green Hills County Park)
Friday, Sept. 20, 9:30–11 a.m.
Always wanted to know how a landfill becomes a park? Take a short walking tour up the “big hill” and discover the history of how Green Hills came to be. Learn about how to reduce your waste and create a fun recycled craft to take home! Join us on this Teacher Workday and have some fun on our green hill! For ages 6 & up.

Calling all Crows!
Saturday, Sept. 28, 10–11 a.m.
Blue jays, crows, ravens, magpies and more are all part of a family of extra smart birds called “corvids.” Come find out through hikes and activities how these birds cleverly use their big brains to do all kinds of amazing and unusual things.

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.

Aquatic Insects
Saturday, July 6, 2–4 p.m.
From cockroaches to butterflies, we are all familiar with insects but what about the less familiar taxa that live in freshwater? Learn about the major families, their special adaptations to freshwater, and why they are used as major indicators of water quality. Come dressed to get a bit wet and mucky. For age 16 & up. Counts towards NCEE Criteria II, III or CE credit.

Butterflies 101
Saturday, Aug. 10, 2–4 p.m.
Butterflies on the wing! From the tiniest skipper to the giant swallowtail, butterflies are a source of inspiration and pollination. Learn techniques to distinguish between different butterflies and their kin while investigating plants that will encourage caterpillars and butterflies to your home. For age 16 & up. Counts towards NCEE Criteria II, III or CE credit.

Gardening for Pollinators
Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m.–noon
Stroll through our garden and learn the keys to bringing pollinators to your own outdoor space. We’ll discuss plant selection and how to welcome butterflies, birds, and bees year-round to any yard or patio. Fall is a perfect time to prepare! For age 16 & up. Counts towards NCEE Criteria II, III or CE credit.

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 educator programs, including a number of workshops for NC Environmental Education Certification or CEU credits.

Southeastern Forests and Climate Change
Wednesday, Aug. 14, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
This workshop will cover the Southeastern Forests and Climate Change Secondary Module,  selected activities from the K–8 Explore Your Environment guide, and provide access to PLT's Carbon & Climate e-Unit.  

Project Learning Tree® (PLT) partnered with PINEMAP to develop a secondary module on climate change impacts on southern forest ecosystems, the role of forests in sequestering carbon, and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to changing climatic conditions. The module is designed for use in life science, environmental science, and agriculture courses in grades 9–12, with potential use in middle school or community college courses. The Carbon & Climate e-unit was developed for grades 6–8, and is an integrated online unit provided through PLT's online portal. Provides 6 hours of CEU’s for teachers. Provides 6 hours of Criteria I or II for NCEE Certification.

Cost of $20 and must register here

Methods of Teaching Environmental Education
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 5–9 p.m. (bring a bag dinner and drink) AND
Wednesday Aug. 21, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (bring bag lunch and drink)
Attendance for both days is required.

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.

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.