The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center debuted its digital programming with a special meet-and-greet animal tour held on Zoom on April 1. It is one of several initiatives Executive Director Frank Quevedo is implementing in the coming weeks.
SOFO is designed, as an organization, to bring people together through education in a natural environment. The Bridgehampton property houses a Native Butterfly Garden, Native Wildflower Garden, Educational Pond, Purple Martin nesting ground site, 40-acre Vineyard Field Preserve, and a six-mile trail system part of the Long Pond Greenbelt. In a time of social distancing, hands-on experiences are on hold. Now, virtual programming allows SOFO to carry out its mission as viewers explore the natural world from the comfort of their home.
“The South Fork’s natural world is bursting with life and lots of nature activity,” Quevedo said. “Ospreys are returning to their nests, spring peepers are calling in wetlands, trees are budding, plants are blooming, and migratory birds are returning. We just had tree swallows return and pine warblers are calling in pine forests here on the East End. And it only gets better as the season progresses.”
The initial launch of the program begins with Quevedo’s guided meetings during the next two Wednesdays, on Zoom, the video conferencing service, from 4 to 4:30 PM. On April 8, the focus will be Birds of the South Fork: Spring Migration, and on April 15, Vernal Ponds and Their Ecosystems. On Earth Day, April 22, SOFO environmental educators will present nature programs, and new initiatives will be announced every week online.
The video gallery and resources pages are also constantly expanding online. Viewers can watch nature videos offering different perspectives, along with community uploads. Links to other like-minded nonprofit organizations will be available in the resources section as well, with access to topics like botany, invasive species, Long Island ecosystems, sky and space, weather conditions, and more.
“With the diversity of habitats within the preserve, it allows nature-lovers to explore many different ecosystems including grasslands, woodlands, coastal plain ponds, and vernal ponds,” Quevedo said. “Exploring each ecosystem brings specific wildlife that lives in each habitat, creating a new and changing experience throughout the walk. The SOFO board of trustees, our advisory council, our staff, and supporters have a positive outlook for the future and continue to work hard in anticipation for things to get back to normal.”
To sign up for upcoming Zoom meetings, email firstname.lastname@example.org and a link will be sent. One to two questions are encouraged to be sent in the email so that Quevedo can answer them during his talks. The community is also encouraged to send in nature videos and recommended nonprofits for additional content. Visit www.sofo.org for programming or to donate.