J.D. & Annie S. Hays Nature Preserve
“This place is awesome!” That is what we hear on a regular basis from visitors, new and returning! It remains THE spot for birthday parties, family reunions and other celebrations. With areas to engage creativity and to experience exploring the forest all while being in a playground setting, the Nature Explore Classroom showcases the beauty of nature in every season.
Our popular Play Days at Hays sessions continue to attract thousands of children with their families to the Preserve to enjoy nature together. These 1-2 hour free sessions provide a theme-based learning/exploring time.
We have added pop-in learning days during the year to complement the Nature Explorers and Play Days at Hays ongoing programs. The most popular by far was “Art in the Preserve” Fall Break program which more than 750 children enjoyed.
Each year Operation Green Team holds an Earth Day festival at the Preserve. The 4-hour festival welcomes more than 12,000 with huge crowds observing mass butterfly releases. Festival-goers enjoyed visiting exhibits and demonstrations by more than 80 organizations/businesses and fishing in the nearby Bar Lake.
Our Native Plant Pollinator Garden, a partnership with the Huntsville Native Plant Society, continues to attract pollinators and interest from students learning about the many types of pollinators and the importance of native plants.
Walk around Bar Lake and read a book at the same time on the Storybook Trail. Eagle Scout candidate Raymond Dexter designed the trail using In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming. Boy Scout volunteers from Troop 343 built and installed 17 reading stations. Each station is like turning a page in the book.
We partnered with OurBluebirdTrails.org to reestablish a Bluebird House Trail in the Preserve. Boy Scouts learned about proper birdhouse construction and installed several new houses which have already attracted Bluebirds.
The Animal Track ID Trail, developed by Girl Scout Troop 455, continues to intrigue those testing their knowledge as well as making sketches of the tracks to make their own field guide during hikes around the Preserve.