Hope For Youth

Black History Month Celebrations in our State Parks

Governor Kathy Hochul invites New Yorkers to help celebrate African American contributions to state history during Black History Month through events and visits to State Parks and historic sites. Below are a few local events:

“Art by Basquiat,” Connetquot River State Park Preserve, 1:30 to 3 p.m. Feb. 19 – The late Jean-Michel Basquiat was an African American artist whose work painted tributes to African American historical figures, jazz musicians, sports personalities and writers, as well as a series of self-portraits and other works using social commentary as a tool for introspection. Attendees will be encouraged to use that inspiration to paint their own self-portrait. Reservations are available two weeks prior to the event through Eventbrite.com and then by searching for #NatureEdventure.

“Planet Explorers,” Connetquot River State Park Preserve, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 25 – Learn about the contributions of Black astronomers and astronauts while stargazing, weather permitting. Registration is required through Eventbrite.com, and then searching for #NatureEdventure.

In the Long Island Region, the Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center will hold a screening at 2 p.m. Feb. 26 of a film entitled “The Falconer,” a documentary on African American falconer Rodney Stotts who used the ancient sport to help turn around his life, and then to help inner city youngsters find a better path. He has a non-profit group, Wings Over America, that promotes visits to schools in the Washington, D.C. area.The film will also be available online at the center’s website, https://www.jonesbeachenc.org/, from Feb. 24 to Feb. 28.

Several State Parks in the Long Island region will feature displays on notable African Americans, including Hempstead Lake State Park Environmental Education and Resiliency Center, West Hempstead; Jones Beach State Park Energy & Nature Center-West End, Wantagh; Jones Beach State Park, Field 4, Central Mall, Wantagh; Long Island State Parks Regional Headquarters Lobby, Babylon; Nissequogue River State Park, Kings Park – Administrative Building; and Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park Visitor Center, Oyster Bay. Contact each facility for hours.