St. Johns County Naturalist Programs

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

Living With Snakes & Gators
When: Thursday, August 15
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Anastasia Island Library, 124 Sea Grove Main St., St. Augustine
Details: Join Park Naturalist Kelly Ussia for a family-friendly presentation about the snakes and alligators found throughout the State of Florida and maybe even in your backyard. Learn about the various species of snakes in our area as well as how to live with the amazing crocodillian neighbors. This program is open to all ages and is FREE. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Not In Your Backyard
When: Tuesday, August 20
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: St. Johns Golf Club, 4900 Cypress Lakes Blvd., Elkton
Details: Ever wonder how to identify and remove the plants that are “bad” for your yard and the environment? Join Park Naturalist Kelly Ussia and learn about invasive plant species within Northeast Florida. This program is FREE, but you must RSVP to attend. For more info and to register, contact Kara Pound at kpound@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0383.

Turtles of Florida
When: Wednesday, August 21
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Ponte Vedra Library, 101 Library Blvd., Ponte Vedra
Details: Join Park Naturalist Kelly Ussia for Turtles of Florida, a family-friendly presentation about the different turtles found throughout the State of Florida. Ever wonder about the turtles in the pond behind your house? Or the tortoise you saw walking around the park? Now is your chance to learn about these unique reptiles that live in many different habitats. This program is FREE. No reservations required. Seating is first-come, first-served. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Palmo Sunset Kayak Trips
When: Thursday, August 22 through Sunday, August 25
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Palmo Boat Ramp, 8600 Palmo Fish Camp Road, St. Augustine
Details: Come explore Palmo Cove with St. Johns County Naturalists. Participants will paddle the creek out to the St. Johns River and learn about the unique history and diverse wildlife of the area. At the end of the tour, we will get to experience a beautiful sunset on the water.

Fees:

  • SJC Resident Providing Own Boat $20 per person
  • Non SJC Resident Providing Own Boat $30 per person
  • SJC Resident Using a County Boat $40 per person
  • Non SJC 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, 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. There is a 12-foot boat length minimum for participants bringing their own boat.

Not In Your Backyard
When: Friday, August 23
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Where: GTM Research Reserve, 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach
Details: Ever wonder how to identify and remove the plants that are “bad” for your yard and the environment? Join Park Naturalist Kelly Ussia and learn about invasive plant species within Northeast Florida. Not In Your Backyard Details. This program is FREE, but you must RSVP to attend. For more info and to register, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Cycles of Nature
When:

  • Tuesday, September 3 from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday, September 4 from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
  • Friday, September 20 from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Where: Butler Park East, 5860 A1A South, St. Augustine
Details: We have partnered with Marineland for a beautiful and educational sunrise walk on the beach. Just like the sun rises and sets every day, there are lots of things in nature that occur on a cyclical basis. This walk will focus on how nature tends to repeat itself and how humans can help protect these delicate cycles. This program is FREE and open to all ages, but registration is required. Cycles of Nature Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-033.

Marine Debris
When: Wednesday, September 4 from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Where: Anastasia Island Library, 124 Sea Grove Main St., St. Augustine
Details: Did you know that there is projected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050? Join Parks Naturalist Kelly Ussia for a talk about the marine debris problem in the ocean and steps you can take to be a part of the solution. Marine Debris Details. This program is FREE and open to all ages. No reservations required. Seating is first-come, first-served. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us

Helen Mellon Schmidt Waterway Cleanup
When: Thursday, September 5 at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Helen Mellon Schmidt Park, 9200 Summer Island Dr., St. Augustine
Details: Join us for a kayak waterway cleanup of the Matanzas River Intracoastal Waterway. Participants will be provided with all of the supplies needed plus a county kayak. Grab a friend and help give back to our environment. This program is FREE, but reservations are required. Helen Mellon Schmidt Waterway Cleanup Registration. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Pollinators
When: Wednesday, September 11 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Ponte Vedra Library, 101 Library Blvd., Ponte Vedra
Details: Pollinators play a vital role in our ecosystem, but did you know that bees are not the only pollinators out there? Learn why your butterfly garden should really be called a pollinator garden. Pollinators details. This program is FREE and open to all ages. No reservations required. Seating is first-come, first-served. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335.

Moses Creek Kayak Trips

When:

  • Thursday, September 12 from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
  • Friday, September 13 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, September 14 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 15 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: Matanzas River Access Point (east side of 206 Bridge), near 315 Coastal Drive, St. Augustine
Details: We've partnered with the Matanzas Riverkeeper for a guided trip of the Matanzas River and Moses Creek. Participants will learn about the history of the area, ecology of the local ecosystems, and what you can do to help keep this area pristine.
The cost of this program is as follows:

  • SJC Resident Providing Own Boat: $20 per person
  • Non SJC Resident Providing Own Boat: $30 per person
  • SJC Resident Using a County Boat: $40 per person
  • Non SJC Resident Using a County Boat: $50 per person

Registration: Contact Kelly Ussia at 904-209-0335 or kussia@sjcfl.us. When setting up a reservation, 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. There is a 12-foot boat minimum for those bringing their own boats.

ACA Quickstart Kayak Course
When: Saturday, September 21 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Trout Creek Park, 6795 Collier Rd., St. Augustine
Details: This course will focus on the fundamentals of kayaking including kayak designs, trip planning, and water safety. In addition, participants will get the opportunity to learn and practice basic paddle strokes and rescue techniques. The course will be led by two Level 2 Certified ACA instructors. The program is $80 per person. ACA Quickstart Kayak Course Details. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at kussia@sjcfl.us or 904-209-0335. When setting up a reservation, include a phone number, email, and if you will be using a county kayak.



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.