St. Johns County Naturalist Programs

COVID-19 UPDATES: For Information regarding St. Johns County's response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including closures, cancellations, and access to facilities please visit our St. Johns County Corona Virus (COVID-19) Response site.

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

COVID-19 Closures & Cancellations: For the safety of our community and staff during the Covid-19 emergency, St. Johns County has cancelled programs and closed or limited access to facilities. For the current status of the activities & facilities listed below, please contact Kelly at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904.669.6109.

Fort Matanzas Kayak Trips
Saturday March 14 from 12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Friday March 27 from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Saturday March 28 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday March 29 from 12 – 3 p.m.
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
Thursday, March 19 from 7:15 – 9:45 p.m.   March 19 Canopy Shores Owl Prowl Registration
Friday, March 20 from 7:15 – 9:45 p.m.   March 20 Canopy Shores Owl Prowl Registration
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: Saturday, March 21 from 7:15 – 9:45 p.m.
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.

Florida Master Naturalist – Environmental Interpretation
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 31 at Fort Mose Historic State Park, 15 Fort Mose Trail, St. Augustine
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 1 at Marineland, 9600 Oceanshore Blvd., St. Augustine
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday, April 2 at Trout Creek Community Center, 6795 Collier Rd., St. Augustine
Details: Adults of all knowledge and skill levels are invited to join us to learn about environmental interpretation. Participants of this course will gain deeper insight into how exhibits are made, effective presentation crafting, and the components of a successful guided program. The course is comprised of classroom presentations, guest speakers, hands on activities, and field trips. The class includes a guided kayak trip. For more information, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0335. Register for the Florida Master Naturalist program.

Deep Creek Kayak Trips
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 4
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 5
Where: Deep Creek Soft Launch, 7975 SR 207, Hastings
Details: Join County Naturalists for a beautiful guided trip of Deep Creek.
Fees: SJC resident providing own boat: $20 per person, non-resident providing own boat: $30 per person,  SJC resident using a County boat: $40 per person, non-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, email, date of the trip you would like to attend, residency status, and if you will be using a county kayak.

Jaws of the Sea
 4 – 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8
10 – 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14
10 – 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 16
Where: Nease Beachfront Park, 3171 Coastal Highway, Vilano
Details: St. Johns County and Marineland have partnered for an interactive, guided beach walk all about sharks. Enjoy a stroll on the beach and learn about shark biology, common sharks of our area, local shark research, and human and shark encounters. This program is free and registration is required. For more information, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0335. Register for Jaws of the Sea.

Saltwater Fishing 101
When: Wednesdays, 9 – 11 a.m.
April 8 – Knot Tying
April 15 – Fishing Attire and Gadgets
April 22 – Local Fishing Spots
April 29 – How to Clean Your Catch
May 6 – How to Cook Your Catch
May 13 – Surf Fishing (at Nease Beachfront Park)
Where: Usina Boat Ramp, 603 Euclid Ave., St. Augustine
May 13 – Nease Beachfront Park, 3171 Coastal Highway, Vilano
Details: Free program! Learn the ins and outs of saltwater fishing in Florida. Please note that all participants must have a Saltwater Shoreline License. This is a free license from FWC. Register for one or all of the Saltwater Fishing 101 classes here. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0335.

Seed Bombs
When: 2 – 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8
Where: Main Library, 1960 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd., St. Augustine
Details: Seed bombs are a creative way to distribute plant seeds to areas that need some love. Come learn how to make a seed bomb out of clay, seeds, and other materials. Naturalist AyoLane Halusky will teach you not only how to make the seeds bombs, but also share how plants spread their own seeds and how they travel. Seeds and materials are provided by the Friends of the Main Library, St. Augustine. The class is limited to 25 participants. Register for Seed Bombs. For more information, call the Main Library at 904.827.6940.

Pollinators
2 – 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 at Bartram Trail Library, 60 Davis Pond Blvd. Fruit Cove
3 – 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15 at Ponte Vedra Beach Library, 101 Library Blvd, Ponte Vedra
1 – 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28 at Anastasia Island Library, 124 Sea Grove Main St., St. Augustine
Details: Pollinators play a vital role in our ecosystem, but did you know butterflies are not the only pollinators out there? Learn why your butterfly garden should really be called a pollinator garden. No reservations required and seating is first-come, first-serve. For more information, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0335.

Wild Edibles and Medicinal Plants
10 – 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 10 at Vaill Point Park
6 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 at Vaill Point Park
6 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 23 at Canopy Shores Park
Where: Vaill Point Park, 630 Vaill Point Rd., St. Augustine
Canopy Shores Park, 804 Christina Dr., St. Augustine
Details: Join Park Naturalist AyoLane Halusky and learn about wild edibles and medicinal plants found in our parks. Bring your questions and journals to record your findings. This program is free and open to all ages. Register for Wild Edibles and Medicinal Plants. For more info, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0348.

904 Naturalist Series – Exploring the Life of Plants and Trees
When: 3 – 6 p.m. on April 15, 17, 22 and May 4 (Classes)
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on April 18 and May 2 (Field trips)
Where: Classes at Main Library, 1960 N. Ponce De Leon Blvd., St. Augustine
Details: In Exploring the Life of Plants and Trees, we will study and research 10 native plants in their habitat. This event is free, but you must register for the entire program to attend. Register for 904 Naturalist Series – Exploring the Life of Plants and Trees. For more information, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0348.

Porch Talks at Alpine Groves Park
When: 6 – 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 18
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 in our porch talk series focused on 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, "Vision of a Healthy River." The program is free and open to everyone. For more information, contact AyoLane Halusky at ahalusky@sjcfl.us or 904.209.0348.


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.