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Forever Wild

Staten Island Greenbelt

William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge

Borough: Staten Island

Acres: 428

Habitat Type: Forest, Salt Marsh, Freshwater Wetland

Map: PDF | Trail Map

The William T. Davis Wildlife refuge was the first designated wildlife preserve in New York. In 1928, William T. Davis (a renowned naturalist and entomologist) and the Audubon Society successfully secured 52 acres as a wildlife and bird sanctuary which has grown through various acquisitions to the almost 430 acres it is today. The refuge is remarkably diverse, containing broad expanses of salt meadow fringed by low marsh, forested uplands, rock outcrops, a swamp forest, and small, spring-fed ponds. The variety of habitat is reflected by abundant birdlife.

More than 117 bird species have been recorded at the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, including sharp-tailed sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus), wood duck (Aix sponsa), and several species of herons, egrets, ibis, and cormorants. Hawks and owls can also be seen here, especially in winter. Barn (Tyto alba), great horned (Bubo virginianus), and short-eared (Asio flammeus) owls hunt in the refuge by night. Red-tailed (Buteo jamaicensis), red-shouldered (Buteo lineatus), and rough-legged (Buteo lagopus) hawks hunt by day. Marsh hawks (Circus cyaneus) patrol at dawn and dusk. On the ground and in the water, snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina), fiddler crabs (Uca), and muskrats (Ondatra zibethica) can be seen throughout the site.

Photographs

Directions

The Greenbelt Nature Center and High Rock Park are two ideal places to begin a tour of the Staten Island Greenbelt Preserve.
Greenbelt Nature Center
Public Transit: From the Staten Island Ferry terminal, take the S57 bus to the Brielle and Rockland Ave stop and then cross the street at the light to get to the center.
By Car:From the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge, take 278 West to the Bradley Ave exit. From the service road, turn left onto Bradley Ave. Continue until the intersection of Bradley and Brielle Ave. Turn right and go to the end of the road which leads right to the Nature Center parking lot.
From the Outerbridge crossing, take the Richmond Parkway to the Richmond Ave North exit. Turn left onto Richmond Ave and pass the mall. Then turn right onto Rockland and proceed about 2 miles to the intersection of Richmond and Brielle Ave. The parking lot for the nature center is on the right.
High Rock Park
Public Transit:The S57 runs from the Port Richmond Terminal along Rockland Ave. Get off at the intersection of Rockland Avenue and Nevada and walk north toward the conservation center. The S54 also runs along Rockland Ave from Livingston to Hylan Boulevard.
By Car:From the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, take 278 to the Todt Hill Road/Slosson Ave exit. Make a left turn onto Slosson Ave and go up the hill (Todt Hill Road) to Ocean Terrace. Make a right onto Ocean Terrace and follow it to Manor Road. Make a left onto Manor Road and then a left onto Rockland Ave and left onto Nevada Ave. The parking lot for the nature center is at the end of Nevada Ave.
Local directions: Take Richmond Road to Rockland Avenue. Take Rockland Avenue to Nevada Avenue (right turn) and follow it to the parking lot. Or take Richmond Avenue to Rockland Avenue. Take Rockland Avenue to Nevada Avenue (about 2 miles). Make a left turn on Nevada Avenue and follow it to the parking lot.

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