East End Eco-Ventures

Join us to explore the east end of Long Island through nature-based outdoor adventures and educational activities.

Montauk Natural History Weekend

Snowy Owl, Walking Dunes, winter 2013 weekend (Joe Costa photo).

           Snowy Owl, Walking Dunes, winter 2013 weekend (Joe Costa photo).

Montauk Winter Weekend

January 13 – 15, 2017

Winter is a quiet time but also peak birding and seal-watching time. Hike the bluffs, “Walking Dunes”, beaches, Hither Woods, Napeague Dunes, and visit the Montauk seal haulout site. Weekend accommodations (Friday and Saturday nights) are at the Montauk Manor House with an indoor heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna, exercise room, and a spacious lobby where we meet. Suites are large with kitchen, living room, bedroom; some are duplex and many have 2 baths, 2 separate entrances.


Field Trips: Montauk Bluffs and Lighthouse (ocean beach); Seal Haulout / Oyster Pond; Walking Dunes at Hither Hills; Camp Hero Woods & Bluffs; Napeague Dunes and Beach; Big Reed Pond State Park; Point Woods streams and bluffs; Mickey’s Great Geology Walk; Birding by Car (on very cold days).

All hikes are fairly easy and we stop to talk about flora, fauna, history, etc.

Cost: $395 includes 2 nights (double occupancy; additional $140 for single room), 5 meals, 5 guided hikes, 2 evening programs and star watch, plus free pickup at LIRR station.

If you’d like to just join us for the nature walks, meet in the lobby of the Montauk Manor (8:30 am for the morning walk; 1:30 pm for the afternoon walk); $10 per person fee.

Trip Leaders: Mickey Cohen, Don Riepe and Mike Bottini

To register, send check to:

American Littoral Society

28 West 9th Road

Broad Channel, NY 11693

For more info & reservations call (718) 474-0896 or e-mail ALS chapter Director Don Riepe at: don@littoralsociety.org.

This is a partnership program with American Littoral Society and NYC Audubon.

Wildlife Track and Sign Workshop – May 14, 2016


Trackers investigate the small trail of a diamondback terrapin hatchling. 


Larger turtle track lacking a drag mark of the plastron – likely a snapping turtle.

terrapin hatchling.JPG

A diamond back terrapin hatchling made an appearance. 


Shorebird tracks of a willet, showing partial webbing between toes 3 and 4.


Measuring the willet track length – not including the 1st toe.


Long Island Nature Organization will offer one-day and two-day Reading Wildlife Track and Sign certification courses, and a History and Ecology of the Walking Dunes of Napeague course this fall. All courses are designed to increase participants’ knowledge of Long Island’s natural history as well as improve nature observation skills.

ONLINE REGISTRATION IS AT www.longislandnature.org

Details on each are listed below.

The History and Ecology of the Walking Dunes of Napeague

Walking Dunes

Walking Dunes

Saturday & Sunday, October 25-26  9 am–4 pm

Instructor: Mike Bottini           www.mikebottini.com

Location: Hither Hills State Park

This two-day course taught by Mike Bottini, author of The Walking Dunes: East Hampton’s Hidden Treasure, will cover the formation, history, plant communities and fauna of the spectacular 300-acre Walking Dunes landscape. Mike has been leading guided walks in this area since 1988, and designed the two trails systems found there. We will visit and study all three parabolic dunes, pitch pine and oak-hickory forests, the dune heath and freshwater swamp communities, and cranberry bog. Topics covered include ecological succession, adaptation, symbiosis, and an introduction to animal tracks.

Fee: $190 ($171 for LINO members)

NOTE: contact Mike if you need accommodations for the weekend (see below).

Reading Wildlife Track and Sign

Who made this track?

Who’s made this track?

Friday November 7 8:30 am–4:30 pm

Saturday & Sunday  November 8-9 8:30 am–4:30 pm

Instructor: George Leoniak   www.leoniaktracking.com

Location: The Oyster Bay–Cold Spring Harbor area.

These courses are taught by George Leoniak, one of the six CyberTracker evaluators in North America, and provide participants the opportunity to pursue Track and Sign Certification from CyberTracker Conservation, a globally recognized non-profit that established the international standard for assessing wildlife tracking and sign skills. Participants in the one-day course will have the opportunity to test for Level I certification; those in the two-day can test for Level I through Level IV.

In wildlife research and monitoring, natural sign surveys are an effective means of collecting data on the presence, range, and distribution of animal species. However, there are concerns about the integrity of the data from these types of surveys. In response to these concerns, the CyberTracker Conservation Evaluation System was designed to establish reliable, standardized tracking skills.

These workshops are open to naturalists, environmental and outdoor educators, amateur trackers and citizen scientists, professional biologists, and students (minimum age of 16) seeking to increase their wildlife tracking and observation skills, and sign knowledge. Over 50 naturalists took this popular program on Long Island last spring.

Fee: $120 for Friday; $220 for Saturday & Sunday ($108 and $198 for LINO members).

For more information or questions contact Mike Bottini at mike@mikebottini.com or 631-267-5228.

Field Naturalist Course



Weekend Session:  Saturday & Sunday  June 21 – 22  (9 am – 3 pm)

Evening Session:  Monday – Thursday  June 23 – 26  (6 pm – 9 pm)

Location: Amagansett – East Hampton area


INSTRUCTOR: Mike Bottini

Mike Bottini has taught this acclaimed course for twenty years. Participants have included planning board members, teachers, local trail hike leaders, environmentalists, landscapers, college students, and those with a general interest in natural history. We visit some of the most beautiful nature preserves on Long Island.


    ~ Introduction to Long Island’s ecological diversity of the South Fork.

    ~ Understanding of basic ecological concepts and processes.

    ~ Identification of dominant flora and fauna and keystone species.

    ~ Develop nature observation and interpretation skills.


Four distinct plant communities will be explored to determine the major physical and biological factors at work that define each community. We will identify the dominant flora and fauna in each community, examine their unique adaptations survival in that setting, and note the ecological interrelationships among the major species.


We will examine the component “parts” or layers of the forest and note physical and biological differences in each. Tree structures, their function, and growth will be reviewed. The soil as a sub-community will be examined and discussed. The concept of “niche” will be explained and niches identified in what at first might appear as a uniform community lacking diversity. We will also examine the impact of fire and logging on forest composition and structure.


We will examine this community’s plant “zones” and “micro-environments” (swash zone; beach; fore-dune; dune crest; back dune; swales; blowouts), the biotic and abiotic factors that distinguish each zones, and identify each zone and micro-environment’s dominant plants and animals and their adaptations for survival there.


We will examine the flora and fauna found in this community, which encompasses several zones of permanently flooded areas (submergent, floating, and emergent plants), the water-saturated soils in the adjacent area (woody shrubs such as red maple, tupelo, highbush blueberry), and the shoreline band where water levels fluctuate seasonally and annually (herbaceous plants). We will also visit and discuss the ecological function of vernal ponds.


As with the beach–dune community, the salt marsh and estuary community is one of a series of plant zones. These zones are largely structured around subtle differences in vertical height above mean sea level, and therefore daily tidal influences, and not-so-subtle differences in exposure to wind-driven waves, which we will explore and discuss. We will learn to identify the common plants and animals found in this community, which zones they are most commonly found in, and their ecological role in the marsh-estuary system.

Here’s what previous students had to say about Mike’s course:

“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.”

Mike Bottini received his M.Sc. at the University of British Columbia where he studied wildlife conservation and completed a radio telemetry study of elk in Banff National Park. Mike is currently studying river otters on Long Island, and has also done research, monitoring and inventory work involving spotted turtles, piping plovers, and spotted and tiger salamanders. While working at the Group for the South Fork as an environmental planner, Mike was a staunch advocate for open space preservation and designed many of the nature trails on the South Fork. The author of three natural history books about the East End (Exploring East End Waters, Trail Guide to the South Fork, and The Walking Dunes), Mike also writes a weekly nature column for the Southampton and East Hampton Press.

FEES:    $190.00 per 12-hour program. Registration limited to 14. LINO Members receive a 10% discount.  (If you can only attend one day, give Mike a call at 631-267-5228 or mike@peconic.org)

For more information or questions contact Mike Bottini at mike@mikebottini.com or 631-267-5228.

Register now at http://longislandnature.org

Spring Events!

Build Your Own Paddle Workshop:  April & May  (Dates and Times To be Arranged with Instructor)
I’ve arranged for master craftsman Barry Walz to teach this at his Springs Fireplace Road workshop. Walk away with a custom made SUP, canoe or kayak paddle and some new woodworking skills. Limited to 5 people. Contact Barry at 631-767-8338 to register or for more info. Fee: $425 for instruction, material, and a one-year Surfrider membership.
Surfrider Foundation Meeting: Thursday April 24 (6:30 pm) at Mercado, Bridgehampton
Juliana and Mike became co-chairs of the local (eastern L.I.) chapter last year to be involved with post-Sandy efforts to “restore the shore,” many of which are poorly conceived. Learn about our initiatives and check out our special guest’s presentation: local surfer Kurt Rist’s winter of big wave surfing in Ireland. Open to the public.
Peconic River Paddle:  Saturday, May 10, 10am – 2pm
May is a great time to paddle the six-mile section from Connecticut Avenue to Grangel Park and note the signs of spring on the river: alewives, migrating songbirds, riverside blossoms, and basking turtles. We will also check for signs of the otter that was seen on the river last winter and fall. Fee: $10/person. Kayak and canoe rentals available. Call or e-mail Mike for info or to reserve: mike@peconic.org  or 631-267-5228.
Napeague Horseshoe Crab Paddle:  Wednesday, May 14, 6-8pm
Timed to coincide with sunset and, more importantly, a full moon high tide. We’ll paddle along the shoreline of scenic Napeague Harbor to look for mating horseshoe crabs. Joint trip with East Hampton Trails Preservation Society. Kayak and canoe rentals available. Call or e-mail Mike for info or to reserve: mike@peconic.org  or 631-267-5228.
Montauk Natural History Weekend:  Friday-Sunday  June 6-8
A great natural history weekend at the luxurious Montauk Manor with guided field trips in the Montauk area.Trip leaders: Mike Bottini, Mickey Maxwell Cohen and Don Riepe of the American Littoral Society. Cost: $385.00 includes 2 nights at the Manor House, 4 meals plus a wine & cheese welcome reception, 5 guided hikes, 2 evening programs, an evening star watch, plus free pickup at the LIRR station in Montauk. Optional paddleboarding/kayak trip. This trip is in partnership with NYC Audubon. For questions and reservations email: NEChapter@littoralsociety.org or call (718)474-0896.