Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour
$10 – $90
Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

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Great Kills Park

Hylan Boulevard

Staten Island, NY 10306

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Click HERE for the FULL SCHEDULE of Adventures

Great Kills Park is another gem in the necklace of the Gateway National Recreation Area. After a brief woodland walk from the Staten Island Railroad (SIR), upon crossing Hylan Boulevard we are immediately in the wide open space of a coastal environment. Phragmites dominate the land while the broad expanse of sky provides a perfect backdrop for soaring raptors. Our first destination is Oakwood Beach—where we’ll mosey along watching for winter ducks, loons and grebes (maybe even some gannets!), all the time looking for Horned Larks and bouncing Snow Buntings along the wind fences, then enter the uplands of the Crookes Point peninsula. Rounding its hook, we return along the harbor. We should be entertained by geese, ducks, cormorants, and gulls. A Snowy Owl would be a real bonus! Bring your lunch for a picnic along the way (if it’s not too cold).

THE MEET UP: Meet at 8:30 am at the Manhattan Staten Island Ferry Terminal at South Ferry for the 9:00 am boat. (#1 Train to South Ferry or R Train to Whitehall Street/South Ferry.) Meet at the top of the escalators inside the “turnstiles” in the main waiting room of the Terminal. (Ferries leave every 1/2 hour so don't be late!) Staten Island Railway (SIR) to Oakwood Heights. Approximately 5 mile walk. Return on the SIR to the St. George Ferry Terminal, and Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan. Plan on a full day outingwe will try to be back to Manhattan by 4:00 pm, but depending on train and ferry connections, it may be later!

[2 SIR MetroCard fares. The Staten Island Ferry is FREE.]



An “urban wilderness” walk is not an oxymoron. Keith Michael has been exploring the remotest corners of New York City for decades, gaining a collective eclectic knowledge that cannot be found in any guidebooks. These walking tours will bring you to his favorite destinations around this vast metropolis, taking the guesswork out of the legwork! With carefully researched information about where to go, what to see, how to get there, AND the camaraderie of fascinating people to enjoy the "there" with, each excursion provides a unique off-the-grid out-of-the-tour-bus immersive experience in the natural wonders available within one of the largest cities in the world. Once you do, you’ll be inspired to do even more and take advantage of the myriad other FREE tours offered by many parks and organizations throughout NYC—there is always more to see and learn!


Follow instructions on the Eventbrite site.

See the full schedule and descriptions of the 2016 NYC Wild! Walking Tours by clicking HERE!

To see the short list of dates and destinations, scroll down to the bottom of this section - with LINKS to each New York City WILD! Walking Tour to reserve your spot NOW!


There are various ticket prices for New York City WILD! Walks (ticket price includes all Eventbrite/Credit Card fees, and taxes). Buy an "Early Bird" Discount ($10) or Become a NYC Wilder! ($50 Pass gives you access to ALL upcoming NYC Wild! Walks during 2016 - 4 or more walks will be available every month) for the best deal. If you BUY the NYC Wilder! Pass in December you will have access to ALL walks through the 2017 season as well! Great HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA as well!

PLEASE NOTE: Participants cover their own public transportation costs (NYC Metrocard and PATH train fares) as well as lunch/dinner and beverageseither a bring-your-own-picnic or conviviality at a local eatery depending on the individual walk itinerary.


BAD WEATHER: Trips will only be cancelled under extreme weather conditions. New York City weather is fickle! Rarely does the same kind of weather last all day, and the weather forecast for Central Park may be vastly different from what actually occurs on a far outer-borough beach. Most walks will go on rain or shine under the optimism that an inclement forecast will change. However, primarily beach walks WILL BE cancelled or rerouted if there is any threat of thunderstorms.

  • CANCELLATIONS: Participants will be notified by e-mail 24 hours in advance if a forecast of extreme weather is imminent. You will recieve a FULL REFUND of your ticket OR you can transfer your order to another New York City WILD! outing by contacting (A REFUND can take 7-10 business days for your refund to be processed.)

  • "No Shows" WILL NOT be refunded.


  • Please carefully note meeting places and times. Trips will leave promptly from designated meeting sites. For meet-ups on a subway platform, we will generally leave on the FIRST TRAIN after the designated departure time. Return times are approximate.

  • NYC Wild! Walking Tours are GREEN in more ways than one! Walks frequently meet on a subway platform to take a train (average 45 minutes to an hour+) to and from the starting point of the walk. Please carefully note whether the meet-up location is on the UPTOWN or DOWNTOWN platform AND whether it is at the FIRST or LAST car of the train! Please arrive with a filled MetroCard so that trains or buses are not missed while you wait in line to put more money on your card.

  • Alternate meeting locations can be arranged en route to the destination if this is more convenient for individual travelers.

  • ALWAYS check the MTA Weekender online before you leave home for planned service changes on your subway lines! Leave additional travel time for delays in weekend service. Some Walk meet-up locations or destinations may be changed if subway service is unusually cumbersome to our starting point.


  • Each walk is 3-5 miles and approximately 6 hours in length (including travel time to and from the starting point of the actual walking tour). Generally covering a variety of urban and natural habitats, we are frequently more than a mile from the nearest public transportation, store, restrooms, and occasionally, cell-phone service! Take these factors into consideration when agreeing to these outings.

  • It is difficult or impossible to catch up with the group if you are late, and as most of the walks are a loop it is usually not possible to leave early before the walk is completed.

  • These walks are usually not suitable for participants younger than 10 years of age.

  • Most excursions follow primarily level established trails though the walking surface can vary from city sidewalks to woodland path, boardwalks, grass, minor rock scrambling or sandy beach. Some stairs or a rise and descent in terrain are part of individual walks.

  • Poison Ivy may be prevalent along some trails, but it is easily identified and avoided by staying on the trails.

  • Insects should be a minimal concern for most trips, though some walks have posted tick habitat.

  • Restrooms are not always conveniently located or available. Take this into consideration.


  • BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH. We will stop, mid-trip, for a picnic—outside. Usually we will not be near a store to pick up your lunch “on the way.”

  • Water

  • Dress appropriately for the forecasted weather—hat, jacket, layers to take off or put on if temperatures change. In general, it can be windier and cooler (or hotter) at these locations than in Manhattan. Bring an umbrella for surprise changes in weather.

  • Sturdy closed-toed walking shoes that you aren’t too concerned about getting muddy or wet. No sandals or flip-flops.

  • Binoculars if you have them. If not, we will share.

  • A camera. Each walk offers endless photo opportunities.

  • Sun screen and insect repellent. Insects should be a minimal concern for most trips.

  • PLEASE use your cell phone sparingly for emergencies only (and generously for taking memorable photos of the walk!)

  • Enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.


YES. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver statement, agreeing to release and hold harmless Keith Michael and New York City WILD! from any and all liability arising out of or resulting from your participation. Your participation in these walks is on a completely voluntary basis and you are responsible for your own personal safety and well-being. Read the complete statement included with this event listing.


Write to for any additional information or to arrange special group walking tours or other events. When making inquiries, please indicate the date and destination of the walking tour for which you have questions. More detailed information about each walk will be sent by e-mail to participants a few days before each scheduled outing.


Keith Michael

KEITH MICHAEL is a self-styled urban naturalist, avid birder, photographer, and a dedicated explorer of New York City's five boroughs. Watching birds drives his focus, but the breadth of NYC history, and the wealth of vistas, trees, wildflowers, grasses, mushrooms, butterflies, dragonflies, as well as scaled, slithery and furred fauna that can be observed within the city is truly remarkable. Mr. Michael has published four books of writing and photographs: Let’s Go Out!: A Birder's Year in the West Village (2015); Take Me to the River (2014); Once Around the Block (2013), and 1000 Days: World Trade Center Rising (2013); leads New York City WILD! nature walking tours, co-leads Hudson River Park WILD! walks, and is a monthly contributor to WestView News: The Voice of the West Village.

When not adventuring in the city and taking photographs, Mr. Michael is a ballet choreographer, having created The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies, Mother GOOSE! and The Nutcracker for New York Theatre Ballet, and is the Dance Production Coordinator at The Juilliard School. For more information about walks, books or photographs visit

Photo of Keith Michael by Valerie S.

New York City WILD!

Waiver/Release/Assumption of Risk Agreement

New York City WILD! is a nature walking tour series organized by freelance urban naturalist Keith Michael.

As used in this agreement, "The Coordinator" means collectively New York City WILD! and Keith Michael, its employees, representatives, independent contractors and/or affiliate organizations involved in the selected program/activity, members, leaders, organizers, co-participants and all others involved in the selected activity/program.

As used in this agreement, "you" means the person who signs this agreement or on whose behalf this agreement has been executed. It is anticipated that you are accepting this agreement as a prerequisite to your participation in a New York City WILD! activity/program. If a person under 18 years of age participates, that person's parent or legal guardian must also accept this agreement.

In consideration of the services provided by The Coordinator and the opportunity for you to participate in the selected activity/program, you AGREE TO AND ACKNOWLEDGE the following:

1.) New York City WILD! nature walks are entirely volunteer activities led and organized by non-professionals. Other participants are not outdoor recreational or educational professionals.

2.) New York City WILD! activities have inherent RISKS, HAZARDS AND DANGERS. Such risks, hazards and dangers may include, though not limited to: adverse weather, crossing streams, falls from heights, travel, exposure to insects and animals; remoteness from shelter, restroom facilities, food, water, medical care and emergency rescue services; graded trails, uneven terrain, mechanical or equipment failures, and misjudgments by leaders, volunteers and/or co-participants. You acknowledge these and other risks, and you ASSUME THE RISKS of participating in the New York City WILD! activity and travel to and from the activity/program.

3.) The Coordinator cannot guarantee your health or safety. You are responsible for your own health and safety. You warrant that you have skills and overall health and physical conditioning adequate for the program/activity you have selected. If required, you will provide your own appropriate and adequate clothing, equipment and supplies. You will cooperate with the leader(s) and organizers to achieve a meaningful and safe experience for the group.

4.) You hereby RELEASE AND AGREE TO HOLD HARMLESS The Coordinator from any and all liability arising out of or resulting from your participating in a New York City WILD! program or activity. You and your agents, heirs and assigns HEREBY WAIVE ANY AND ALL CLAIMS against The Coordinator in any court, forum, tribunal or jurisdiction, whether for personal injury, wrongful death, property damage or loss, breach of contract, economic loss or consequential damages from delays, cancellation or changes in program or schedules.

5.) You are solely responsible for all transportation fares for and food or beverages consumed during this activity.

6.) You acknowledge that The Coordinator or co-participants may produce photographic or video recordings ("images") of programs. The Coordinator or co-participants may use such images to promote The Coordinator and their programs. You hereby consent to such images made while you are engaged in the activity/program and grant to The Coordinator or co-participants all of your rights to use such images and any copies or derivative works therefrom in any manner for promotional and other commercial purposes, in any medium. You release and assign to any right or interest that you may have in those images including rights in your appearance and or your voice recorded by employees, other participants, agents or contractors, whether or not on behalf of The Coordinator or co-participants, and you waive any right of any kind in or over such images including rights of (A) compensation, (B) publicity, privacy or copyright, or (C) review, inspection or approval.

7.) This Waiver/Release and Assumption of Risk Agreement is the entire agreement between you and The Coordinator, and cannot be orally changed or modified.

8.) This agreement entered into in the State of New York, is to be governed by the laws of New York and any suits, claims or actions concerning it are to be brought only in the courts of the State of New York.

9.) If a court with proper jurisdiction determines that any part of this document is invalid, illegal or against public policy, the remaining portions thereof shall remain in full force and effect.

I have read this agreement and I understand its terms and, in particular, that I am giving up substantial legal rights. Knowing this, I am voluntarily agreeing to this Waiver, Release, and Assumption of Risk Agreement.

Fields to be completed on hard copy at the start of the Walking Tour:

Print Name: __________________________________________

Signature: ___________________________________________

Date: ________________________________________________

Mobile phone #: _______________________________________

e-mail: _______________________________________________

Emergency Contact Name:_______________________________

Emergency Contact Phone Number: _______________________

New York City WILD!
2016 Walking Tour Schedule

For FULL SCHEDULE of Adventures Information

Click on the DATE LINK BELOW to Make Your Eventbrite Reservation NOW!

Saturday, October 1 - Staten Island Greenbelt: High Rock Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, October 2 - Brooklyn: Prospect Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Saturday, October 8 - The Bronx: Bronx River Greenway Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, October 9 - Manhattan: George Washington Bridge & Fort Lee Historical Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Saturday, October 15 - Open House New York Weekend - Go to and INDULGE!

Sunday, October 16 - Open House New York Weekend - Go to and INDULGE!

Sunday, October 16 - Brooklyn Bridge: Sunset & Rising Full Harvest Moon Walking Tour ($)

Saturday, October 22 - The Bronx: Pelham Bay Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, October 23 - Manhattan: Inwood Hill Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Saturday, October 29 - The Bronx: Woodlawn Cemetery Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)

Sunday, October 30 - Manhattan: Central Park - "The North End" Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

WATCH FOR MORE New York City WILD! Walks to be scheduled in November and December!

Sunday, November 6 - New York City Marathon! Photography Walk ($)

Sunday, November 13 - Brooklyn: Green-Wood Cemetery Photography & Nature Walking Tour (FREE)

Sunday, November 27 - Queens: Fort Tilden Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, December 4 - Flushing Meadows/World's Fair Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Sunday, December 18 - Staten Island: Great Kills Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Wednesday, December 21 - Winter Solstice: "Celebrate the Night" Downtown Manhattan Photography Walking Tour ($)

Tuesday, December 27 - Winter Owls: The Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Wednesday, December 28 - Winter Owls: Brooklyn: Dead Horse Bay Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Thursday, December 29 - Winter Owls: The Bronx: Pelham Bay Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Friday, December 30 - Winter Owls: Manhattan: Central Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)

Saturday, December 31 - Winter Owls: The Bronx: Pelham Bay Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour ($)


Sunday, January 1 - Winter Wonders: New Year's Day: Queens: Fort Tilden Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, January 7 - Winter Wonders: Staten Island: Mount Loretto Unique Area Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Friday, January 13 - Winter Wonders: Manhattan Bridge: Sunset/Full Moon Rise Photography Walking Tour

Saturday, January 14 - Winter Wonders: The Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, January 15 - Winter Wonders: Manhattan: Central Park South End to Reservoir Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, January 21 - Winter Wonders: Staten Island: Wolfes Pond Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, January 22 - Winter Wonders: Brooklyn: Coney Island and Coney Island Creek Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Saturday, January 28 - Winter Wonders: Bald Eagles: Croton Point Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

Sunday, January 29 - Winter Wonders: Brooklyn: Prospect Park Photography & Nature Walking Tour

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Great Kills Park

Hylan Boulevard

Staten Island, NY 10306

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