Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Blvd, Douglaston
Alley Pond Park is more than 655 acres of trees, water marshes, meadows, hills, and trails. It occupies part of a terminal moraine that was formed by a glacier roughly 15,000 years ago, and features kettle ponds formed by melting ice and natural springs. Though located near the Long Island Expressway, in the spring, pollen fills the air, and flowers bloom everywhere. In the summer, frogs and salamanders sun themselves on tree branches and rocks in the ponds. In the fall, birds of all feathers pass through. And in the winter, raccoon tracks can be found in the snow.
The Alley Pond Environment Center is a nonprofit that operates a building where visitors can learn about the local wetlands and trails as well as nature on the whole. The center is dedicated to educating individuals about the environment, protecting and preserving the park, open spaces and bodies of water, and advocating for sustainable environmental policies and practices.
Inside scoop: The Douglaston Estate Windmill is in Alley Pond Park. Built around 1870, it pumped water to nearby farms. The original windmill was converted into a two-room house in the early 1900s, when the borough’s population spiked. But in 1985, a group of local residents constructed a working replica that pumps fresh water from the ground that the park uses.
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