At the turn of the twenty-first century, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation acquired a parcel of land on the Great Kills shoreline made up of roughly twenty square feet. The land had been filled with debris and garbage at the time. In an effort to clean up the Great Kills shoreline, a non-profit organization known as the Turnaround Friends was formed in 1994. The Turnaround Friends teamed up with the New York City Departments of Environmental Protection, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation to perform a clean-up effort. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation soon expanded the site to five acres and created Seaside Wildlife Nature Park, a waterfront park overlooking the Great Kills Harbor.
Over the years, much has been added to Seaside Wildlife Nature Park-including land. Even with the many additions, the Turnaround Friends still help to maintain the site each year. Many others have stepped in as well, to help with the park's rehabilitation process.
In 2002, the Wildflower Garden was created at the park. This garden is maintained by the Great Kills Garden Club, one of Staten Island's six Garden Clubs. Members of the Great Kills Garden Club meet at Seaside Wildlife Nature Park every other week to water the plants and remove weeds.
Shortly after the Wildflower Garden was created, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation acquired an additional fifteen acres of land for Seaside Wildlife Nature Park. At that time, the Turnaround Friends helped to create the Grove of Healing. The grove was created as a September 11thMemorial Garden, with more than 4,000 daffodils and 38 trees being planted at the site. The Grove of Healing has grown to include many more plantings since it was first established.
In 2008, the park was given a wooden boardwalk for visitors to view the nature and wildlife within the park, along with the shore. A winding trail and new paths lined with benches were installed in the park-mainly within the Grove of Healing. A 24-foot steel gazebo was also constructed in the park. This gazebo sits near the entrance to the park, at the end of Nelson Avenue, and is adorned with egrets.
Visitors are able to spot real egrets here, which reside at Seaside Wildlife Nature Park. Many other species of birds dwell here, and many different species of fish live in the surrounding waters. These can all be seen from the raised boardwalk, which brings visitors over the natural habitats.
In 2010, another addition was made to Seaside Wildlife Nature Park.This was a more kid-friendly project, as it consisted of the installation of a play area at the northern section of the park. This play area was given a nautical theme, due to its proximity to the shore. The main attraction of the playground is the shipwreck, which is much like the normal play equipment you would see at an ordinary park, only it was designed to look like a shipwreck. The shipwreck includes such features as a slide and a net to climb on board. In between the two pieces of the ship is a shark which children can also climb on. Next to the shipwreck are a play lighthouse and a sandy area for children to play in. Spray showers are scattered around the playground, adding to the seaside atmosphere. Benches and a drinking fountain are also located in this section of the park.
Today, Seaside Wildlife Nature Park is comprised of almost twenty-one acres of land on the Great Kills waterfront. It takes up only a fraction of the open space to the east of Fitzgerald Avenue, Nelson Avenue, and Tennyson Drive. It is located just below the many marinas within the neighborhood of Great Kills. For more information on a Staten Island real estate contact our office at (718) 966-9669