Go maple sugaring at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve in Commack...

Go maple sugaring at Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve in Commack this winter.  Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

As the least snowy winter on record winds down, Long Island’s parks and preserves are offering their own blizzard — of indoor and outdoor fun.

Here are four ways to fill a late winter weekend with wildlife encounters, environmental good deeds, winter farm traditions and activities.

Wildlife walk: Hempstead Lake State Park

An e-bike rider pedals along the shore of McDonald Pond in...

An e-bike rider pedals along the shore of McDonald Pond in Hempstead Lake State Park. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Celebrate United Nations World Wildlife Day (March 3) — albeit a day late — with a guided walk around Hempstead Lake, which is not only Nassau County’s largest body of fresh water but also home to abundant flora and fauna.

The 3-mile loop on a bridle path around the lake is led by Samantha White-Murillo, an environmental educator assistant. The route goes over flat ground or flat gravel pathways, park manager Kate Gross says.

Naturally, wildlife sightings aren’t guaranteed — “that’s part of the adventure,” Gross says — but keep an eye out for migrating songbirds, wintering ducks, osprey, eagles, great blue heron, egrets and the occasional muskrat.

Admission: $4; register at eventbrite.com

INFO: 1 to 2:30 p.m., March 4; Eagle Avenue, West Hempstead, 516-766-1029

Maple sugaring at Hoyt Farm in Commack: Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve

Spend a day at Hoyt Farm Park Nature Preserve in...

Spend a day at Hoyt Farm Park Nature Preserve in Commack.  Credit: Tom Lambui

Tap into a traditional winter craft at this annual event, which answers the sticky question of where maple syrup comes from.

The two-part presentation begins with some syrupy lore. “We talk about the story of maple sugaring and pay tribute to American Indians and settlers, and how they would tap into trees and collect sap” to make syrup,  says Kathryn Murphy, animal preserve caretaker.

Outdoors, a wooden straw, or spile, will be used to tap a maple tree and collect the sap used to make syrup. Participants can try their hand at tapping a tree, sample farmhouse-made maple and walnut syrup and buy maple sugar candy on-site.

Admission: $5

INFO: 1:30 to 3 p.m., March 5; 200 New Hwy., Commack; 631-543-7804, smithtownny.gov

Beach monitoring and cleanup walk: Hallock State Park Preserve

Join a beach cleanup this season at Hallock State Park...

Join a beach cleanup this season at Hallock State Park Preserve in Riverhead. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Help save the environment — and leave only footprints in the sand — on this 1.5-mile hike/shore cleanup/science expedition led by scientists from the Hampton Bays-based Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).

“Along the way, we pick up marine debris and discuss current local issues of marine biology,”  says Kevin Kelly, parks and recreation specialist.

Keep an eye out for local wildlife such as the two stranded sea turtles recently found on the park beach and transported to a rehabilitation facility.

Admission: Free; bring gloves; trash pickers and buckets provided. Meet at the visitor center.

INFO: 10 a.m., March 4 and ongoing Saturdays; 6062 Sound Ave., Riverhead; 631-315-5475, amseas.org

Jones Beach seal walks: Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center

Spot seals playing and swimming at Jones Beach this winter. 

Spot seals playing and swimming at Jones Beach this winter.  Credit: Corey Sipkin

“Watching seals swim and play in the waters off of Jones Beach is a magical experience,” says Jeanne Haffner, director and chief curator at the park’s Energy & Nature Center.

The program starts inside the center, where wildlife educators discuss the types of seals that visit Long Island’s coastline. The walk heads out from Field 10 to a beach where harbor seals frolic.

About 10 seals are typically seen — mostly in the water but occasionally on land, Haffner says. It’s an experience that “reminds us of the beauty and wonder of ocean environments, and why they deserve our protection.”

Admission: $4

INFO: March 3 (10:30 a.m.), 4 (2:30 p.m.) and 5 (2:30 p.m.) and weekends throughout the month (times vary); West End 2, 150 Bay Parkway, Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh; 516-809-8222, jonesbeachenc.org

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