Reserve Celebration: A day of fun at Bluff Point State Park

ATTENTION: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED.

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to postpone this event. The forecast is calling for rain all day and we have safety concerns about slippery trails, wind conditions, and flooding at Bluff Point State Park. We were all very excited for the event so we’re hoping that we can offer it in the spring. Please stay tuned and, if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with all of our events and programs (link).

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Sat Sept 30th, activities offered from 8:30-4:00;
Bluff Point State Park, 55 Depot Rd, Groton, CT 06340

Come celebrate the newly established Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve as we spend the day fishing, kayaking, hiking, biking, and exploring. This family-friendly day will have activities for all ages and skill level.

Contact the CT Reserve’s Education Coordinator, Larissa, at Larissa.Graham@uconn.edu with any questions or if you need accommodations to attend the event.

This event is sponsored by the Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve, Connecticut State Parks, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Northeast Mountain Bike Association, University of Connecticut, Connecticut Sea Grant, Booker Empowerment, Men of Color Hike CT, Connecticut Audubon, Audubon Connecticut, Mystic Aquarium, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, and the Groton Open Space Association.

Schedule At-A-Glance (last updated 9/29 @ 12PM)

Description of Activities:

Men of Color Hike CT
Time: 9-10:30AM (registration required)
Men of Color Hike CT is an organization that empowers men of color from various backgrounds to connect with one another through monthly hikes.  Together we promote mental health and mindfulness practices as we build brotherhood through nature. Bring water and wear comfortable shoes for hiking. Snacks and fruit will be provided to participants.

FULL – Walk: Birds of Bluff Point
Time: 9-10AM OR 10:30-11:30AM (registration required, limited to 12)
Join Connecticut Audubon Society’s Joe Attwater and search for fall migrants in one of the best birding spots in Connecticut! This easy out and back will be about a mile long on level terrain and will traverse through beautiful coastal forest. Bring a pair of binoculars and water, and get ready to search for warblers, thrushes, vireos and more!

Explore the Shore
Time: 10AM-12:30PM, stop in anytime (registration suggested; kid-approved)
Come explore the shore with staff from the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center and the Mystic Aquarium. Wade through the water to catch critters or walk along the shore looking for treasures. Learn about the wildlife of Bluff Point at the shore exploration table. Please dress to get wet if you plan to wade in the water. Bring your own net and bucket or use one of ours. Visitors are welcome to drop in any time during this session but registration is still encouraged. All children must be accompanied by an adult during this family-friendly activity.

Guided kayak paddle
Time: 10-11:30AM or 1:30-3:00PM (registration required; must bring your own kayak, paddles, and life jacket)
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Boating Division will be leading a 5-mile paddle on the Poquonnock River. This event is for paddlers who have already purchased a vessel and would like to learn more about paddling techniques, safety, regulations, and navigation. Properly fitting life jacket and sound producing device MUST be worn for this event. Participants must bring their own vessel and paddles and are encouraged to bring food and water, adequate clothing and footwear for weather conditions, sunscreen and bug spray.

Group bike ride: Experienced
Time: 10-11:30AM (registration required)
Join the Northeast Mountain Bike Association for an 8-10 mile “no drop” ride (7-8mph pace) on intermediate trails, with rocks, drops, and features. Participants must bring their own bike, helmet, and protective eyeware (required). Be sure to make sure your bike is in good working order (air, oil, tires, chains, etc.) before arriving and to bring water.

FULL – Walk: History and Geology of Bluff Point
Time: 11AM-1PM (registration required, limited to 20)
Join marine geologist, Ralph Lewis, and UConn professor, Syma Ebbin, to explore the geological features and human history of Bluff Point. This 4-mile walk will cover moderate terrain as you examine wave energy and beach types along the coast and learn more about how humans have used or planned to use the land and resources of what we now call Bluff Point. Some portions of the coast can be steep, wet and possibly slippery. Good shoes, a water bottle and dressing for the weather recommended.

Fishing with CARE
Time: 12:30-3:30PM, stop in anytime (registration required, limited to 20; kid-approved)
Long Island Sound offers excellent fishing opportunities! Try your luck at catching some of the many different sportfish that live in the Sound by fishing from shore at Bluff Point State Park. The Fish with CARE program will provide loaner rods, reels, tackle and bait – space is limited to 20 people fishing at once. Bring a comfortable chair to sit in, and a cooler and ice should you catch dinner! All children must be accompanied by an adult during this family-friendly activity.

Family Fun: Nature Exploration
Time: 1:30-3PM, stop in anytime (registration suggested; kid-approved)
Join the CT DEEP State Parks Education and Outreach Division and the No Child Left Inside® Program for some family fun exploring Bluff Point State Park.  Join us between 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm for Nature Journaling and a Photo Scavenger Hunt. We will be using all of our senses to investigate, explore, seek and find plants, animals and so many other living and non-living treasures.  All you need to bring is your family’s love of the outdoors and we’ll provide the rest! Visitors are welcome to drop in any time during this session but registration is still encouraged. All children must be accompanied by an adult during this family-friendly activity.

Group bike ride: Newbie and family (registration required)
Time: 1:30-3PM (kid-approved)
Join the Northeast Mountain Bike Association a beginner lesson on mountain biking. This short ride will be based on group ability. Participants must bring their own bike and helmet (required). Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult during this family-friendly activity.  Be sure to make sure your bike is in good working order (air, oil, tires, chains, etc.) before arriving and to bring water.

Self-guided canoeing
Time: All day, stop in anytime
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) Boating Division with have canoes and safety equipment onsite for new or beginner paddlers. Staff will provide training on basic safety, navigation, and operation techniques for canoeing prior to participants boarding. A properly fitting life jacket and sound producing device will be provided and MUST be worn for this event. Participants are encouraged to bring food and water, adequate clothing and footwear for weather conditions, sunscreen and bug spray.

Self-guided bike ride
Time: All day, stop in anytime (kid-approved)
The Northeast Mountain Bike Association will have maps available for a self-guided,4-mile long ride along Bluff Point’s fire road. Participants must bring their own bike and helmet (required). Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult during this family-friendly activity.  Be sure to make sure your bike is in good working order (air, oil, tires, chains, etc.) before arriving and to bring water.

Learn about the history of Bluff Point
Time: All day, stop in anytime
Various organizations including State Parks, the Groton Open Space Association, and the Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve will have tables set up to share fun information about the history, ecology, and fun you can have at Bluff Point State Park.

UConn complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination, equal opportunity, affirmative action, and providing reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. If you require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Larissa.Graham@uconn.edu by Friday, September 22.