It's Your Tern Festival 2016!

at City of Water Day

[b]Common Tern and Chick[/b] © David SpeiserCommon Tern and Chick © David Speiser

Saturday, July 16, 10am-4pm (rain date Sunday, July 17, noon-4pm)
South Battery Triangle, Governors Island
With Governors Island National Monument, Governors Island Alliance, Waterfront Alliance, 
     New York Harbor School, Earth Matter, National Park Service
Free. No Registration Necessary

Come celebrate Governors Island’s treasures: Common terns and oysters! 
Common terns have recently colonized several decommissioned piers on Governors Island’s waterfront; in 2013, we counted 181 nests and banded 100 chicks. Festival activities will include:

  • Expert bird walks and talks by NYC Audubon's Susan Elbin and Gabriel Willow, and Governors Island Park volunteer Annie Barry
  • Hands-on activities for the whole family including a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts with artist Deborah Jones, and 'Birds on a Wire' with Children's Museum of the Arts Island Outpost
  • Refreshments for sale by Little Eva's 
  • Music by "Backyard Chicken Broadcast"'s Robert McMinn

The Tern Festival is free. No registration necessary. 


Getting to Governors Island: Click here to see Governors Island and East River Ferry schedules as well as directions to the ferry terminals in Manhattan and Brooklyn. (Note that the Governors Island Ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn is free until 11:30am - after 11:30am, these ferries are $2 per round trip for the rest of the day. The East River Ferry is $6.)

Getting to the Festival from the Ferry Terminals

Click here to see a Google map showing the location of the festival. There are two ferry landings on Governors Island, one for the ferry from Manhattan and one for the ferry from Brooklyn and the East River Ferry:

From the Manhattan ferry landing (Soissons Landing): walk up the hill and make your first left. Continue along that road as it curves around Fort Jay. Directly in front of you, will be Nolan Park, a series of yellow houses. Follow the straight brick path through Nolan Park, past all the yellow houses. The festival will be located at the end of Nolan Park, just beyond St. Cornelius' Church.

From the Brooklyn and East River Ferry landing (Yankee Pier): Take a right off of the pier to walk along the waterfront Promenade. Take the first left, then an immediate right. It will feel like you are making a U-turn. Follow the road up a small hill, then make a right at the St. Cornelius Church. The festival will be on your left.

Get to know the birds of Governors Island before visiting!

Click here to check out some of the island's avian hotspots. (Our thanks to Susan Voelker and Annie Barry for creating the map.)

For any questions related to directions and/or ferries, please see the directions and links above. No pre-registration is required (or available) for any Tern Festival events. More questions? Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Schedule of Events

10 – 4, main site - Activities and Information Booths including games, crafts, activities, and information provided by New York City Audubon, Wild Bird Fund, and Earth Matter

10 - 3:30, main site - Island-wide scavenger hunt. Enter for a chance to win a pair of binoculars (prize drawing at 3:30)

10 – 4, Building 14 (near main site) - Birds on a Wire family art activity with the Children’s Museum of Art

12:30, main site - Opening remarks and a bit about the Terns of Governors Island

1:30-2:15 - Bird and history tour of Governors Island led by NPS Volunteer Annie Barry. Meet at the main event site

2:30-3:30 - Bird and nature tour of Governors Island led by naturalist Gabriel Willow. Meet at the main event site

10 – 3:30, near Yankee Pier - Common tern viewing - See the nesting terns through a spotting scope and learn more about the colony

Music provided by Robert McMinn and his ukulele

Food is available from Little Eva’s

 Tern Festival Final Poster 2016Tern Festival Final Poster 2016

DMC Firewall is a Joomla Security extension!