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.

The Snowy Day
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 10–10:30 a.m.
"The Snowy Day," by Ezra Jack Keats, is the simple tale of a boy waking up to discover that snow has fallen during the night. Just as a little boy experiences adventures with snow, we’ll explore some fun snow crafts, too!

Can You Growl Like a Bear?
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 10–10:30 a.m.
From trumpeting like an elephant to howling like a wolf, kids will love discovering different animals and the noises they make in "Can You Growl Like a Bear?" by John Butler.

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.

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.

Our Yard is Full of Birds
Wednesday, Dec. 28, 1–2 p.m.
Learn about backyard winter birds and make a bird “treat” to take home to your yard.

Welcome Winter
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 1–2 p.m.
Brrrrr! When it’s cold, you put on a coat. What do you suppose critters do? Learn how different animal groups deal with the winter cold. Bring your coat, too, for this all-outside adventure.

Silly about Salamanders
Thursday, Feb. 16, 1–2 p.m.
Do salamanders really smile? Meet a real, live salamander and find out! Explore the world of salamanders before making a cool salamander craft to take home.

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

Have a 4–5-year-old who's really interested in nature? Check out our upcoming Eco Kids: Bird Buddies mini-camp in February for more information and preregistration.

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.

Winter Wonders
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2–3 p.m.
While we bundle up and hunker down somewhere cozy for winter, animals have to survive in much harsher conditions. Play an active game and learn what strategies animals use to survive the winter. Create your own animal-themed snowflake to take home!

Family Bird Hike – This program will be at Green Hills County Park.
Friday, Jan. 27, 10–11 a.m.
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...wait, no, it's definitely a bird. Join us as to learn how to identify birds via sight and sound and any other interesting nature that crosses our path on an easy hike at Green Hills County Park. Bring your own binoculars or borrow some we have to scope out nature from a distance on this traditional school teacher workday. All ages.

Nature at Night
Saturday, Feb. 11, 5:30–6:30 p.m.
Put on your best “sneaking feet” for a nighttime hike down to the lake. Learn what animals are active at night and how we know! Family program for ages 5 & up!

Bird Olympics
Monday, Feb. 20, 2–3 p.m.
We’ve decided that “counting is for the birds” this year and want to celebrate the Great Backyard Bird Count by playing fun and active outdoor games to learn about bird behavior. Many games and activities will be the most meaningful for ages 5 and up, though we will have some fun things especially for the wee ones. Part of ecoEXPLORE Ornithology month. Traditional School Holiday

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!

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.

NC Bird Atlas
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2–3:30 p.m.
The NC Bird Atlas is a statewide community science project to map birds during the breeding and wintering seasons. Join one of Blue Jay’s educators and CC King, Science Support Specialist for the NCWRC, to learn about birding, observing breeding behaviors, and how you can contribute to this exciting project! Binoculars will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. This program will include up to two miles of hiking on mulched, paved, grassy and/or gravel terrain.

For ages 16 & up. This workshop will count for Criteria II or III credit for the NC EE Certification program.

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.

Project Learning Tree - Early Childhood Workshop 
Saturday, Jan. 28, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Join other K–8 classroom and non-formal educators as we explore activities in the newly released Project Learning Tree Trees and Me Early Childhood activity guide and the Explore Your Environment K–8 Activity Guide.

PLT workshops are open for any educators, and many of the activities can easily be modified for any age group. PLT workshops and the materials are also great for those involved with youth groups, scouting, homeschool educators and parents!

Workshops are designed to provide professional development for formal and non-formal educators, and others working inside and outside of the classroom. Provides 6 hours of CEUs for teachers. Provides 6 hours of Criteria I for NC EE Certification. This program is run by NC State Extension and does have a fee, please check their website for registration information.

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!

Nature Play Days 2022 are finished for the season, but check back in late Spring 2023!

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.

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.