|The Salt Marsh Nature Center serves several vital roles in our neighborhood. It is one of ten Urban
Park Ranger Nature Centers. Each serves as an in-park community center for public education,
recreational activities and environmental studies. The centers serve as starting points for walking
tours and workshop sites for educational programs for the whole family. Other reasons to check
out the SMNC: exhibits highlighting the diversity of out landscape; an abundance of informational
written material such as trail maps, nature center brochures, and Outdoors in NYC, a newsletter
that lists our walks, tours, and special events. Come visit!
|Close Encounters with Nature: The Salt Marsh is a birdwatcher's paradise. Ducks, geese,
cormorants, sandpipers, herons, egrets, red-winged blackbirds, and marsh hawks are just a few of
the birds that can be seen here.
But Brooklyn's salt marsh isn't just important for birdwatchers. Did you know that several
important species of sport fish, as well as shrimp and crabs, use the marsh as a nursery before
venturing into open waters as adults? That means that the fishing industry is partly dependent
upon a healthy salt marsh.
The role of our salt marsh is even more crucial because more than 75 % of the original salt marsh
in Jamaica Bay has been destroyed, much of it between 1950 and the mid-1970's. Most of that
destruction was due to filling of marshes to create more land area for homes and industry. Marine
Park's salt marsh, formerly a wasteland filled with trash and abandoned cars, has been restored to
its natural condition-- proof that a rare and fragile ecosystem can safely exist even when it borders
a heavily urban area like Brooklyn.
|Educational Programs: The Natural Classroom, launched in 2001 by New York City's Parks
Department, transforms Marine Park and the Salt Marsh into outdoor classrooms. Urban Park
Rangers use the plants and animals of the salt marsh as object lessons in a variety of subjects,
including ecology, botany, and ornithology. Children also learn about the city's cultural hisotry
through lessons highlighting the development and expansion of parks. When the outdoor lessons
end, Urban Park Rangers offer supplemental educational materials that allow teachers to bring the
day's experience back to their classrooms. The Natural Classroom including activities and
lessons learned in the field will prepare the students to meet federal, state and city learning
Nine distinct programs are available for students in grades K-8, and programs can be customized
to fit specific needs of other age groups. If you ar a teacher who is interested in bringing a class
group to the SMNC, call 866-NYC-HAWK for more information.
|Culture and Community: In addition to introducing visitors and residents to a rare ecosystem, and
providing a quiet oasis in urban Brooklyn, the Salt Marsh Nature Center also hosts cultural and
community-oriented events. Every month, the Saturday Nights Live! Program brings live
entertainment to the SMNC -- from musical groups to storytellers to open-mike poetry readings.
Weekends usually feature children's programs, including magic shows, arts and crafts, and
storytime. Some of our most popular events are the weekly yoga classes and monthly drawing
classes. Important community functions like civic group meetings, and blood drives are also held
at the Center. Visit the SMA Events Page for a list of upcoming events, or call 718-421-2021 to
Public Transit: Take the N, F, B or Q train to the Avenue U stop and transfer to the eastbound B#
bus to Burnett Street and Avenue U
By Bus: Take the B4, B9, B41, B46, or B47 to Kings Plaza and transfer to the westbound B3 bus
to Burnett Street and Avenue U.
By Car: Take the Belt Parkway to Kings Plaza exit (11N) the go north on Flatbush Ave. Turn left
on Ave U and continue west for 10 blocks. Pass East 33rd Street and look for a parking lot on the
right. The Salt Marsh nature center is located on the left side of the street.
Hours of Operation: The Nature Center building is open from 11 am to 5 pm every day except
Wednesdays. The grounds, including the nature trail, are open from dawn to dusk