Marine Park nature conservancy celebrates fall with harvest event

Nature dance: Two women danced as Roman Redhalk Perez said a blessing for the four cardinal directions at the Salt Marsh Nature Center.
Photo by Derrick Watterson

Jitterbugs, native performers, and local fun seekers rang in the fall with an annual harvest festival at the Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park on Sept. 8, in a event featuring song, dance, and good times, according to one organizer.

“It was great,” said Gail Kroog, who helped organize the event with her dance company, the Brooklyn Dance Center. “Over 80 people came.”

Attendees celebrated the new season by taking a stroll down the center’s nature trail, which snakes through the park along Jamaica Bay, before watching Brooklyn Dance Center’s troupe perform a modern, environmentally-inspired dance.

Roman “Redhawk” Perez told Native American stories about the earth’s creation at the harvest celebration.
Photo by Derrick Watterson

“It’s a beautiful thing to dance outside,” Kroog said.

And back at the center, Roman Redhawk Perez accompanied by drummers and two dancers recited stories about the earth’s creation, sharing the myths developed by the Taino people indigenous to Carribean. After the story, Perez conducted an age-old blessing of the four cardinal directions.

According to Kroog, the event helped celebrate the natural revival of the salt marshes, which, up until the early 2000s, were dumping grounds for abandoned cars and garbage.

Dancers from the Brooklyn Dance Center performed a modern, earth-inspired dance for attendees.
Photo by Derrick Watterson

“Now it’s all cleaned up and it’s a beautiful reserve,” she said. “It’s a pure example of what humans can do to turn around the environment.”

Reach reporter Rose Adams at or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Event-goers participated the in celebration, forming a conga line with two of the dancers.
Photo by Derrick Watterson

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