Virtual Tour: Spring Planting at Lakeside

May 7, 2021

Take a virtual walk through LeFrak Center at Lakeside with Turnstile Tours and Corbin Laedlein, the Lakeside Lead EcoZone Gardener for Prospect Park Alliance. Learn how Corbin and his fellow Lakeside gardeners curate Lakeside’s plant mix for ecological, aesthetic, and habitat purposes, and visit the green roof atop the Lakeside skating rink.

Learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance is sustaining the environment.

 

Paul Martinka

Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Prospect Park

January 3, 2020

As we enter a new decade, Prospect Park Alliance invites you to join us for special Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities in Prospect Park. This holiday is a great opportunity to take stock of the world we live in and reflect on what we can do to make it a better place for all. It’s also an ideal time to fit in those special winter activities you didn’t quite get to in December.

Freedom Songs and Stories with Tammy Hall
2 + 3 pm
Lefferts Historic House, $3 suggested donation, Registration Required

While Martin Luther King Jr. Day is specific to the United States, the struggle for freedom and self-determination is a universal experience across the world. This holiday, join Prospect Park Alliance at Lefferts Historic House for Freedom Songs and Stories with Tammy Hall. A masterful storyteller, Tammy Hall weaves together diverse tales from around the world to create a rich experience for all. Space at this event is limited, so please make sure to register for the event and bring your ticket confirmation on the day of the event.

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Nature Exploration
12–4 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center, Free

We hear you: it’s hard to get outside in the dead of winter! If you need a reason to get out there, consider joining Prospect Park Alliance at the Audubon Center. Designed to encourage children’s curiosity while teaching them about the plants and animals native to Brooklyn, these activities are fun for kids and caretakers alike.

  • Discovery Pack, 12–3 pm: Want to create your own Prospect Park adventure? Stop by the Audubon Center to pick up a Discovery Pack, a ready-to-go kit filled with nature activities for families, and explore the diverse habitats of Brooklyn’s backyard in whichever way you please!
  • Animal Encounter, 2–3 pm: Watch and ask questions as Alliance Naturalists tell you about the animals that live inside the Audubon Center. Found near and far, learn the animals’ favorite foods and the habitats they call home. This program starts promptly at 3 pm. Animal Encounters is made possible with generous support from Macy’s, Inc.
  • Winter Wilderness Walk, 3-4 pm: Curious about animal tracks in the snow, how trees survive without leaves, or how bugs stay warm? Join an Alliance Naturalist for a tour of Prospect Park to learn how plants and animals survive the winter. This program leaves from the Audubon Center promptly at 3 pm.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Tennis Program
Monday, January 20, 1–4 pm 
Prospect Park Tennis Center, $80, Registration Required

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a longtime tennis player or just learning the basics of the game. Geared toward both adults and juniors, the Martin Luther King Day tennis clinic features fast-paced drill stations that focus on specific skills, including serve & volley, ground strokes, approach shots and offense/defense strategies. Advance registration required.

Ice Skating at Lakeside
Monday, January 20, 9 am–5 pm
LeFrak Center at Lakeside, Admission: $11 on holidays, Skate rental: $8

An extra day to skate at LeFrak Center at Lakeside? Yes, please! Make sure to stop by on MLK Jr. Day for gliding, swirling and dancing on the ice to great tunes. When it comes time to refuel and warm up, grab a seat at Bluestone Café for lunch, snacks, and warm drinks. And for those that would like to brush up on their skating skills, make sure to check out Lakeside’s Skate School with instructors and Olympians (yes, Olympians!) Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov. See you on the ice!

Martin Seck

Winter Recess Festivities at Prospect Park

November 19, 2019

Prospect Park Alliance interrupts your regular device-filled schedule for some hands-on holiday activities at Prospect Park! Getting outside during short winter days is a great mood booster and a welcome break from the winter grind. And what better time to shake it up than the holiday season? During Winter Recess, December 26-30, Prospect Park has something for everyone, whether you’re hoping to spend quality time with your kids, commune with nature, or spend a day at the tennis courts. Whatever it is, grab a loved one, bundle up and head over to Prospect Park to make lasting memories during the most wonderful time of the year.

Gilded Frame Making
December 26–29, 1–3 pm
Lefferts Historic House, $3 suggested donation

Looking to get crafty this winter recess? Join Prospect Park Alliance at Lefferts Historic House for “gilded frame” making! Gilding refers to the practice of applying a thin layer of gold leaf over a given object. In days past, wealthy citizens often had a collection of gilded items, from candle holders and mirrors to frames for works of art. The gilded frames made at Lefferts Historic House are perfect for holding holiday photos and pictures of other special memories.

Nature Exploration
December 26–29, 12–4 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center, Free

When’s the last time you watched a snake eat dinner? Have you ever held a hissing cockroach? Or spotted an Indian walking stick hiding among leaves and branches? Join Prospect Park Alliance at Prospect Park Audubon Center for Winter Recess, where you can do all that and more during Nature Exploration.

  • Discovery Pack, 12–3 pm: The Prospect Park Alliance invites you to get inspired by nature with our Discovery Packs, ready-to-go kits filled with nature activities for families.
  • Bird Nerd Game Hour, 1–2 pm: Learn about birds and nature in this fun, mildly competitive hour of trivia, bingo, card games, and more! Prizes will be available for all participants. 
  • Animal Encounter, 2–3 pm: Join Alliance Naturalists in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection. This program starts promptly at 2 pm.
  • Winter Wilderness Walk, 3–4 pm: Curious about animal tracks in the snow, how trees survive without leaves, or how bugs stay warm? Join an Alliance Naturalist for a tour of how plants and animals live in the winter months. This program leaves from the Audubon Center promptly at 3 pm.

Tennis Holiday Adult & Junior Programming
December 26, 27 + 30, 1–4 pm
Prospect Park Tennis Center, $80/day, Registration Required

If you’ve been looking forward to a few days off so you can improve your tennis game, we have just the thing for you! On December 26, 27 and 30, Prospect Park Tennis Center will offer intensive, 3-hour group classes for adults and children of all levels of experience. Our accomplished staff of tennis professionals will give players personal attention while they acquire game fundamentals and increase their skill level. Don’t worry about snow, rain or sleet, because all Tennis Holiday Programming will take place inside the Tennis Center’s seasonal bubble.

c. Steve Nanz

Where Do The Animals Go In Winter?

November 13, 2019

Like Holden Caulfield before us, we’re asking, “where do the ducks go in the winter?” In fact, we want to know how all of Prospect Park’s year-round animal residents survive the season when temperatures dip below freezing. Read on below, and make sure to join Prospect Park Alliance at the Audubon Center to learn more about the park’s animal inhabitants.

Chipmunks
Prospect Park is home to one of the only populations of chipmunks in Brooklyn. As days get shorter and temperatures begin to fall, chipmunks shore up their underground burrows, cache  enough food to get them through winter, and hibernate. Their body temperature drops as low as 40 degrees, and their heart rate slows as low as 4 beats a minute! Chipmunks don’t spend the whole winter asleep. Every few days they awaken, eat some of their stored food, go to the bathroom and curl back up to wait for spring.

Turtles
Visitors to Prospect Park’s Lake are used to seeing turtles—often red-eared sliders—basking on sunny rocks and logs in summertime. When winter comes these creatures do not hibernate,  but “brumate” at the bottom of the Lake: remaining active while adjusting their bodies to the freezing conditions. As the temperature drops their blood thins, and they require less energy to move blood around their body. Consequently, they only need to eat, drink and breathe enough to barely keep the body going. It is not an uncommon sight to see a red-eared slider ambling around a pond floor under inches of ice!

Birds
Birds can be seen enjoying Prospect Park’s 585 acres year round, but not all birds enjoy the winter weather. Many species of birds make themselves scarce when the colder weather arrives, heading for southern latitudes. However, plenty of birds  have adapted to make the most of the cooler temperatures. During these months, they spend their days searching for food and staying warm. Their uninsulated feet are largely freeze-resistant, and by fluffing out their feathers—often appearing to double in size—the birds stay warm. Keeping their body temperature consistent requires lots of fuel, and they  are usually on the hunt for their next meal.

Many ducks stay in the park all winter long, enjoying the Lake’s freezing waters. These ducks are extremely hardy, due to a thick layer of fat and down under their waterproof feathers.

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A Northern Shoveler on Prospect Park Lake, c. Joseph O. Holmes

Fish
Prospect Park’s Lake is filled with fish, and as cold-blooded creatures, their metabolism dips when temperatures take a dive. In this resting state, fishes’ hearts slow down, their needs for food and oxygen decrease, and they move about very little. As ice forms on top of a lake, warm water sinks, and fish gather in groups near the bottom to stay warm. Some species burrow into the mud and go dormant, while other fish school together in “wintering holes” in deep pockets of the Lake.

Squirrels
Used to seeing squirrels in the park year round? That’s because squirrels are “homeotherms,” their body temperature does not fluctuate so they do not hibernate. Before winter arrives, squirrels can be seen hiding stashes of food in shallow holes and covering it up. When food becomes scarce, they will return to these locations and dig up  a meal. To minimize exposure, squirrels spend less time outside their dens during the colder months, and it’s common for several squirrels to share a den, allowing them to take shelter and keep each other warm.

Frogs
Frogs live in a variety of environments in the park, and likewise have a variety of ways of coping with the cold temperatures. Some aquatic frogs spend the winter at the bottom of the Lake, with a slowed-down pace and metabolism like  fish and turtles. Others burrow into the ground and hibernate the winter away. And some frogs, like spring peepers—loud tree frogs—can freeze solid! They stop breathing and their hearts stop beating, but high concentrations of glucose in their blood acts as a natural antifreeze, allowing their bodies to stay safe until they thaw in warmer weather.

Learn much more about park nature and meet turtles, fish and other park critters with Prospect Park Alliance at the Audubon Center.

c. Jordan Rathkopf

2019 Earth Day Preview

April 22, 2019

Join Prospect Park Alliance and community partners for our annual Earth Day Celebration at the Prospect Park Audubon Center! This environmental extravaganza, which focuses this year on protecting Prospect Park’s beloved animal species, takes place from 1–4 pm on Sunday, April 28.

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Among the free activities at this afternoon of environmental fun:

Catch-and-Release Fishing: Did you know that Prospect Park’s waterways are filled with many species of fish including largemouth bass? Learn all there is to know about fishing in the city, and try your hand at the sport, catch-and-release style with the DEC Bureau of Fisheries. This event is geared towards all ages and participants can borrow equipment on site. 

Insect Discovery Hike: Discover Prospect Park’s not-so-creepy crawlies on an Insect Discovery Hike with the Urban Park Rangers. Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty as we search high and low for amazing insects to discover their connection to us, and the importance of parks to provide habitats for them.

Bird Encounter + Spring Migration Bird Walk: Prospect Park has been designated one of New York’s Important Bird Areas (IBA), which are critical for bird conservation. During spring migration season, hundreds of species of birds visit Prospect Park to rest, recuperate from their long journey and fill their bellies. At the Audubon Center, Wildlife In Need Of Rescue and Rehabilitation will have a special exhibition of live raptors rescued from all around NYC and Long Island. Then head out for a bird walk to learn the importance of city parks to their wellbeing, the issues birds face and how you can help.

Lakeside Clean-Up: Prospect Park is home to Brooklyn’s only lake, a vital resource for the fish, amphibians and waterfowl that make up this precious ecosystem. Lend you hand by helping to clean-up Brooklyn’s only lake, led by the Brooklyn Fishing Club!  

Plus, enjoy many other family fun activities, arts and crafts, and animal encounters. RSVP to let us know you’re coming!

c. Virginia Freire

Spring Migration Bird Checklist

March 15, 2019

We hope you rested up during the quiet winter season, because spring is here and the migratory birds are on their way to Prospect Park! With over 150 migratory species set to make an appearance in Brooklyn’s Backyard, Prospect Park Alliance has pulled  together a spring migration checklist to help you make the most of this spectacular season. 

Prospect Park lies on one of the great flight paths of the natural world, the Atlantic Flyway. In fall, many species migrate south along the Atlantic coast to reach wintering grounds with abundant food. In spring, they head north to return to their breeding territories. During these months, birds of all kinds stop briefly in the park, and for some species, the park is their destination.

Spring Migration Checklist:

  • Early Migrants: Starting as early as February or March, early-migrating species of birds are making their way through Prospect Park. These species include the easily identified Red-winged Blackbird, as well as the Common Grackle, Eastern Phoebe and the well-camouflaged American Woodcock.

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Red-winged Blackbird, c. Steve Nanz

  • Birds of Prey: Many raptors begin their trip north early in the season. In addition to our year-round Red-tailed Hawk residents, look for Merlins, Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks and more soaring above the park, perched on high vantage-points and snacking on small mammals.
  • Warblers: The rock stars of spring migration, 36 species of warblers can be spotted over the course of spring migration in Prospect Park. Known for their bright colors in spring, warblers are a group of energetic songbirds that migrate at night and rest and re-fuel by day. When warblers journey over Brooklyn, they are likely to stop in Prospect Park, where they feed on insects and berries. Rested and refueled, they continue on their way after a day or two. Keep an eye out for vibrant yellows of the Common Yellowthroat and Palm Warbler, blue on the Black-throated Blue Warbler and Cerulean Warbler, and fiery orange on the handsome Blackburnian Warbler.

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Blackburnian Warbler, c. Steve Nanz

  • Brightly-colored Migrants: When peering through foliage, some of the easiest birds to spot are the brightly-colored species. Bright red might mean a Scarlet Tanager, vibrant orange could be a Baltimore Oriole, blues show up on Eastern Bluebirds and Indigo Buntings, and even our year-round American Goldfinches wear their brightest spring yellow.

Ready to grab a pair of binoculars and get out into the park? Check out our birdwatching page, with birding tips, locations and upcoming bird walks in Prospect Park. And, download the Prospect Park App to see how many birds you can spot in our Backyard Birds Challenge!

 

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Make the Most of Fall Foliage in Prospect Park

October 16, 2017

Fall in Prospect Park is a magical season as the Park lights up in a stunning display of red, orange and yellow foliage. We’ve got you covered with ideas for foliage walks, favorite foliage from Alliance arborists, free nature activities, and some gorgeous fall photography; all to inspire you to get out and enjoy this glorious season in the Park:

Fall Foliage Walks
Prospect Park Alliance has suggested some of the favorite routes through the Park to check out the stunning fall foliage, from the Peninsula up Lookout Hill, from the Nethermead, the Lullwater and beyond.

Facts about Foliage
Why does an oak tree blush red while the ginko glows gold? According to Prospect Park Alliance arborists, the answer is in the very leaves themselves. Plus, the arborists let us in on their favorite fall foliage spots in the Park.

Fall Foliage Slideshow
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite fall foliage photos from past years on Instagram! Take a look to get inspired, then head out to the Park and take your own. Make sure to hashtag your pics with #ProspectPark.

Fall Nature Events in Prospect Park
Want to learn more about the exciting changes the Park experiences during the fall? Join the Prospect Park Alliance for Nature Exploration programs at the Prospect Park Audubon Center, fun for all ages. 

Fall Foliage Walk

October 19, 2016

For a true taste of autumn in New York, there are few places more spectacular than Prospect Park. Daily visitors will notice the transformation throughout the Park as the canopies turn from lush green to brilliant amber and gold. In preparation for the changing season, we’ve suggested some of our favorite routes through Prospect Park to check out the stunning fall foliage.

Peninsula to Lookout Hill 
While it’s difficult to pinpoint when and where the leaves will begin to change, the horse chestnuts on the Peninsula are typically the first to hint at the start of the season. The woodland paths will guide you through a variety of species, providing some of the most scenic lakeside views in the Park. After winding around the Lake, cross Wellhouse Drive to Lookout Hill, the Park’s highest point, where you will find raspberry bushes with their leaves turning red as well as tulip trees changing to yellow.

Lullwater and Nethermead
Starting at Lullwater Bridge, follow the shoreline toward the Nethermead, where you’ll find some of the earliest signs of the autumnal transition. The watercourse hosts tall maples and London Plane trees that have already begun to change color and drop their leaves.

Ravine to Long Meadow
Walk through the Nethermead Arches and up the slope to the woodland Ravine.  While it might be difficult to see the tops of the towering oak trees, the fruity shrubs, the understory trees will begin to show signs that the fall has arrived.

Grand Army Plaza to Meadowport Arch
One of the most intimate places in Prospect Park is a small oval path just inside its northernmost entrance. Enter the Park at Grand Army Plaza near Prospect Park West, and head toward the Meadowport Arch. You’ll come to a gingko, Nyssa and Japanese Maple. If you catch these trees at the right time, you’ll find them cascading with color from the top down.  From there, the trees begin to change along the Long Meadow like a chain reaction.

To learn more about autumn in Prospect Park, visit both Pop-Up Audubon locations this month, which will feature educational hikes and fun fall foliage activities.

Julie Larsen-Maher

2016: The Goats have Arrived!

May 18, 2016

On Monday, the Prospect Park Alliance welcomed a herd of goats to restore woodlands damaged by Hurricane Sandy and other severe storms (including a 2010 tornado!) in the northeast corner of Prospect Park—one of the hardest hit areas, which lost more than 50 trees.

In the absence of trees, invasive plants proliferated, damaging habitat and causing erosion. Removing these weeds is a more complex task than you’d expect. “The area’s steep hillsides present unique challenges for staff and machinery, but are easily accessible to goats,” said Christian Zimmerman, Prospect Park Alliance Vice President of Capital and Landscape Management. 

Meet the goats on Sunday, May 22, at Fun on the Farm, an afternoon of goat-related fun!

The herd of eight goats—a mix of Nubian, Angora and Pygmy breeds—are prodigious climbers and aren’t picky eaters; they have four stomachs and can consume 25 percent of their bodyweight in vegetation each day. They’ll devour the weeds down to their roots, forcing the plants to use all their energy to grow new shoots, only to be eaten by the goats once again. The goats keep eating until eventually the plants do not have enough energy to grow back at all. The goats, contained behind eight-foot-high construction fencing, are provided by Green Goats, a goat farm in Rhinebeck, NY, that specializes in landscape restoration.

“Once their work is complete, we will then plant new native trees and shrubs, including red and white oaks, spicebush and service berry, which will help bring back important habitat for birds and other wildlife,” adds Zimmerman. Prospect Park is home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest. The goats’ work is important not just to beautifying the Park, but also to fortify habitat and food sources for local fauna, including countless native and migratory bird species.

“Woodland restoration has always been an important focus for the Alliance,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President. “These goats will provide an environmentally friendly approach to our larger efforts, and help us make the Park more resilient to future storms.”

The Prospect Park Alliance received $727,970 in funding from the National Parks Service through the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Assistance Grant Program for Historic Properties, administered by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The grant not only funds woodland restoration, but historic preservation work in this landscape, known as the Vale of Cashmere. The Alliance also received an additional grant for future work on Lookout Hill, for a total of $1.2 million in funding.

c. Virginia Freire

Experience Brooklyn’s Wild Side

May 13, 2016

On May 22, join the Prospect Park Alliance and Audubon New York for the last program in the series Living Water Explorations at Prospect Park. Open to adults 18 and over, this is a hands-on workshop by the Lullwater, dipping for snails, leeches and dragon fly nymphs! Water testing kits and pond dip nets will be provided. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Register today!

This special series of environmental education programs for Brooklyn residents, which took place this spring, builds off the Alliance’s long relationship with Audubon New York—in 2000 the Alliance and Audubon partnered to establish the first urban-area Audubon Center in the nation. Funded through the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund, the program series explores the community of Greenpoint and Prospect Park (all of Brooklyn’s backyard!) to discover the variety of wildlife that flourishes in the borough.

Register Today!