Events at Sterling Nature Center

Friends of Sterling Events



Inspiration 2022: A Festival of Art & Nature – this year’s theme is: Celebrate Our Friends, Old and New Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5, 10am to 4pm

2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of the Friends of Sterling Nature Center, and our annual Festival of Nature and the Arts will be a celebration looking at our roots and branching out into the Sterling Nature Center’s future.  Live musical entertainment, local artist’s exhibits, a craft fair and local authors as well as hands-on-activities for children and the young at heart will be offered.  The Friends food booth will be service hotdogs, vegan-chili and other food.

Friends Annual Pork Roast 

Sunday August 21

Noon- ‘til-gone

Mark your calendar and bring your appetite for our annual summer fundraiser!!! The Friends of Sterling Nature Center’s annual Pork Roast at the Sterling Nature Center will take place on Sunday, August 21 Noon- ‘til gone. Menu: Roast Pork, salt potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw, applesauce, beverage and dessert!!! Take-out available. Pre-sale tickets go on sale August 1th, $11 Adult & $5 child; day of event $12 adult & $6 child.




Cayuga Naturally 2022 Photo Contest

Cayuga County is a diverse and wonderful place filled with nature’s best from the shore of Lake Ontario to the heart of the Finger Lakes.  Capture your favorite place for hiking, canoeing, fishing, hunting or other outdoor activity as well as the beauty of the streams, lakes, trees, wildflowers, birds, animals and other aspects of nature.  All photos must be taken within Cayuga County and be of nature related subjects.  The photo should be: taken between 10-01-21 and 09-30-22; unframed and mounted on a firm backing, such as foam board or matting board; no smaller than 3x5 inches and no larger than 8x10 inches; all entries must be at the Sterling Nature Center by 10-07-22.  For official entry form send a stamped self-addressed envelope to: SNC Photo, PO Box 216 Sterling NY, 13156 or email The contest is free and open to everyone, no photos will be returned and SNC reserves the right to refuse any photo deemed inappropriate.


First Day Hike

Saturday January 1 at 1pm

What better way to put 2021 behind you and start 2022 out on the right path. Join us for a hike along the trails of the Sterling Nature Center to seek out what nature has to offer us in the New Year. Dress for the weather by Lake Ontario, snowshoes will be available if needed.


Owl Prowl 

Friday January 14 at 4pm

Saturday January 15 at 4pm

Nesting season is about to begin for the great horned owls. Join Naturalist Jim D'Angelo for an indoor introduction to the great-horned owl and other New York State owls. Then venture out on an owl prowl looking and listening for the nocturnal king of the sky. Please pre-register for the program by emailing, the program is free and open to the public. Remember to dress for the weather; snowshoes will be available if needed.


Winter Birding and Bird Nests

Friday January 28 at 1pm

Saturday January 29 at 1pm

Do you want to learn how to ID birds? The openness of the winter landscape allows us a clear view of the birds that are flitting about making it a good time to tune your birding skills. Winter also allows us a peak into last year’s nesting season with the leaves off the trees we can find and maybe identify which birds were nesting.  An indoor presentation will help you learn how to identify birds through the winter birds. For the adventurous after the indoor program we will take a winter hike in search of bird nests, chickadees, cardinals and the waterfowl that over winter on Lake Ontario.


Winter Wildlife

Friday Feb, 11 at 1pm

Saturday Feb. 12, 1pm

What wildlife is moving about the Sterling Nature Center or your back yard?  Winter is the perfect season to answer this question using the tracks and traces that wildlife has left behind to identify them.  Join interpretive naturalist Jim D’Angelo for an indoor presentation followed by a hike in search of wildlife tracks and traces. The programs are free and open to the public; please remember to dress for the weather; snowshoes will be available if needed.


Let’s Go Exploring - Winter Recess Event

Wed. Feb, 23 at 1pm

Thurs, Feb. 24, 1pm

Explore the February landscape on snowshoes and venture out into the wintery world to observe signs of wildlife. If there isn't enough snow for snowshoes we will go for a non-snowshoe hike to explore the fields and forests of the nature center. The programs are free and open to the public; please remember to dress for the weather by Lake Ontario.


Winter Botany

Friday February 25 at 1pm

Saturday February 26 at 1pm

We tend to go searching for wildlife all the time but what about the Plant Life that keeps the food chain running. Join us for a winter botanical exploration and discover the winter plant life in fields, forests and wetlands at the Sterling Nature Center. Please remember to dress for the weather by Lake Ontario.


In Search of Owls

Friday March 11, 1pm 

Saturday March 12, 1pm

There are at least three species of owls that nest at the Sterling Nature Center. We will take a long hike in search of owls nesting and roosting at the nature center. We will check the Beaver Wetland to see if the great horned owls are nesting there this year and then take a long hike to search for screech & barred owls along the trails.


Signs of Spring

Friday March 25, 1pm

Saturday March 26, 1pm

The Spring Equinox has arrived but does it feel like spring yet at the Sterling Nature Center? Join us for an exploration of early spring wildlife, is the great horned owl nesting, what about courting great blue herons, migrating blackbirds, river otter activity or other surprises to discover. Join us for a walk to seek out signs that spring is upon us regardless of today’s weather.



Wandering Naturalist

Sunday April 3, 10am

Meander the trails to observe and connect with the flora and fauna of the Sterling Nature Center. We will walk along the trails in search of the wonders that may be found if we only take the time to slow down and observe nature. Photography, journaling or just being intentionally curious about the natural world around us is encouraged. There may be time we just stop to wait, look and listen for the wildlife around or to observe patterns in their behavior. We never know what we might encounter.



Sunset and Full Moon Walk

Friday April 15, 7:30pm

We will start with the sun setting at 7:47pm then take a walk under the full moon.  The April full moon is called the Pink Moon after wildflowers in the pink family, (Caryophyllaceae). What wildflowers will be in bloom and what wildlife may be active. You never know what you might see or hear during a moon walk; owls, fox, deer or other creatures of an early spring night. No matter what we observe it will be an interesting way to observe the wetlands, woodlands and fields by the light of the Moon.


Spring Beach Clean-up

Saturday April 30, 1pm

The Sterling Nature Center's annual spring beach cleanup is your opportunity to THINK about the GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT and ACT LOCALLY to help make a difference. Join other volunteers to help clean up the Lake Ontario shoreline; bags and gloves will be available but you are welcome to bring your own. Remember to dress for the weather and that the lakeshore can be cooler and windier than inland this time of year. Some light snacks may be available after the work is done.