Just a few steps from the bustling traffic of Northern Boulevard, the Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) is a gem of the natural world in the middle of northeastern Queens. APEC is situated within Alley Pond Park, where over 635 acres of forests, meadows, ponds, and fresh and salt water marshes are home to more than 300 species of birds and other wildlife. Our Center hugs the shore of Little Neck Bay. Visitors young and old can walk our wetland and forest trails, observe the animals and plants, listen to the quiet, enjoy the changing seasons, and understand our essential connection to wild nature, even in this busiest of cities.
The combination of plant communities, animal populations and ecological systems create a biodiversity that must be protected for all future generations. The concept of biodiversity has been compared to ‘ecological richness’ or ‘natural capital’. At APEC we work to protect and even increase nature’s wealth within our Queens community.
When you visit Alley Pond Environmental Center, you will surely enjoy our Animal Room. The animals in this room are here to help us in our many educational programs. If you or your child have attended any event at APEC, you have seen our bunnies, doves, snakes and many other friends. Each of these animals has a lesson to teach – the lizards enlighten us about being cold-blooded and all the clever ways to live, eat and mate. The doves are patient teachers about flight and feather construction.
When you are in the Center, you will see many art projects about Cardinals, Herons, etc. Did you know that these and many more magnifient birds live in Alley Pond Park? APEC is partnering with four local organizations to attract a new breeding population of Bluebirds to the park. (The Bluebird is the NY State Bird). Take a walk with us to see the variety of animals along the paths. Different seasons bring and showcase different animals, so visit regularly.
Some animals at APEC live here year round, others migrate and stop here for part of the year only. In Winter, the paths are quiet, but certaily not still. Many animals are hibernating, others brumating and others are busy with the chores of winter living in an estuary. Once Spring has sprung, the Center bubbles with activity. All sorts of nests and cocoons are visible. Animals of all species levels are hatching and foraging for food. During the summer, the paths and ponds hum with life. The birds, reptiles and insects exemplify biodiversity and eco-systems. As autumn approaches, nesting and migrations are very relevant when visiting APEC.
We host numerous nature walks with different themes throughout the year. Please check our calendar for one that interests you. You are welcome to come by the Center anytime for a pleasant hike along our trails. You may want to stop in the front desk for a field guide before heading out.There is also no charge to visit the Center and see the ‘inside animals’ while they wait for the next class.