See the front page for news from Mike about upcoming courses and events.

Here's what previous students had to say about Mike's nature classes:

"You have no idea what you've been missing all around you until Mike explains it," says an amateur birder. "It's like he turned the light on in a dark room."

"Mike is really good at communicating his knowledge--and his understanding of how everything's connected to everything else," offers a computer technician.

"Mike's course will turn you into a nature nut," observes a local hiker. "I never understood the richness of our environment before."




This winter's course is very different from any others I've taught in that we are spending all three classes at one site. This will allow us to take an in depth look at one of Long Island's most fascinating and beautiful ecological areas, and my personal favorite, the Walking Dunes of Napeague. We will learn about the origin of the dunes, how to interpret and identify tracks, visit all three parabolic dunes, examine artifacts relating to the human history of the area, and study all of the area's different plant communities (salt marsh, beach, dune, pepperidge swamp, cranberry bog, shrub swamp, oak-holly forest, and pitch pine forest) to discuss what key factors determine their composition and structure. We will have time to visit the far corners of this incredible spot. For those interested in photography, don't forget your camera. This course is suitable for the novice as well as the advanced naturalist. Fridays, Feb. 10, 17, and 24, 9am-noon BRING: warm, comfortable clothes and footwear. Camera and binoculars optional. MEET: at the end of Napeague Harbor Road COST: $50 for the course ($20/class). Bring a friend for free. Or, better yet, don't tell them about that deal and have them pay. You get a freebie!

Fall Foliage Nature Hikes

Enjoy the East End's fall foliage with naturalist Mike Bottini, author of the Trail Guide to the South Fork. Learn how plants and animals are getting ready for the coming winter on visits to three beautiful nature preserves.

Peconic River Trip

Saturday, September 24
1pm - 5pm (Baykeeper Party with food and drink at the Peconic Paddler store at 5:30pm) [sponsored by Group for the South Fork]

Join naturalist Mike Bottini on a leisurely paddle down Long Island's longest river to enjoy the start of the fall foliage. We will meet in the parking area in downtown Riverhead across from the Peconic Paddler store (east of Peconic Avenue and on the north side of the river) to shuttle boats and people to the Connecticut Avenue launch site and paddle the 6 mile-long freshwater section downstream to Grangebel Park and the Peconic Paddler store. The Peconic Baykeeper Party will be held at the store. The party fee is $15 (food, beer and wine) and is hosted by Jim Dreeben of Peconic Paddler (proceeds to the Baykeeper Program).Contact Mike at 631-267-5228 or to reserve a spot.

Sagg Pond Full Moon Paddle, BBQ and Book Signing Event

Thursday August 18 6pm – 10pm
Sponsored by Group for the South Fork

A one mile paddle down Sagg Pond to the ocean beach, where we will gather to enjoy a fish BBQ, sunset, and moon rise. Local naturalist and writer Mike Bottini will be on hand to sign copies of his new book, EXPLORING EAST END WATERS: A NATURAL HISTORY AND PADDLING GUIDE which will be available at the event. Weather permitting, the return paddle will be by the light of the full moon.
BBQ FEE: $20 for GSF Members / $30 for Non-members (children $10)
BOAT RENTALS: single kayak $35; double kayak or canoe; $45.


Discover some of the flora and fauna of our local marshes, ponds, and estuaries as we explore three unique and scenic waterways on the east end of Long Island by kayak. All trips are led by naturalist Mike Bottini and are suitable for novice paddlers, although participants should have some paddling experience.

The 3 two-hour-long sessions in August will meet from 6pm-8pm at the following locations and dates.

Accabonac Harbor, Springs
Thursday, August 4, 6-8pm

A tour of the salt marsh and estuary, one of the most productive ecosystems in the world.

Georgica Pond, Wainscott
Thursday, August 11, 6-8pm

A paddle through a unique coastal lagoon which is periodically open to the ocean and subject to tidal flow.

Long Pond, Bridgehampton
Thursday August 25, 6-8pm

A tour of a secluded freshwater pond and its marshes and swamps.

COST: $50/person for all 3 sessions ($20/session)

Kayak rentals available ($30/boat/session)

June Field Naturalist Course

Wednesdays 9 am – noon
June 8, 15 and 22.

Visit three different nature preserves with Mike Bottini, author of “Trail Guide to the South Fork,” to learn about the variety of habitats found here, the flora and fauna that reside in each, and interesting ecological interrelationships and adaptations in this diverse area. Fee: $50

Sagg Pond Full Moon Paddle & BBQ

Wednesday June 22 6pm – 10 pm

A one-mile paddle down Sagg Pond to the ocean beach where we will gather to enjoy a fish BBQ, bonfire, and sunset. Weather permitting, the return paddle will be by the light of the full moon.


Tuesday, July 26 at 7pm
Hither Hills State Park campground on Old Montauk Highway, Montauk

Turtle biologist Mike Bottini will present a program about turtles, their biology and conservation, as well as his current research on Spotted Turtles on the south fork of Long Island. Participants will be able to view several live turtles to learn identification features, and try radio telemetry equipment to experience how that important piece of research equipment is used and why it is a valuable wildlife research tool. The program is free, open to the general public, and suitable for all ages.

If you have any comments or updates on the trails please let Mike know: email Mike at MikeBottini dot com