Guided Nature Programs

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jones hammock hike2 

St. Lucie County’ Environmental Resources Department is proud to offer educational programming on its publicly owned lands. These programs are FREE, unless otherwise specified and open to the public.  Programs are usually limited to 20 people to allow participants to immerse themselves into the County’s beautiful wild areas, and reservations are required. Programs target ages 12 and up unless  otherwise noted.  All minors must be accompanied by an adult.  We hope you’ll join us!

Guided Nature Programs are offered week days, weekends and some evenings, it is a fun and safe opportunity to explore the local preserves.  Each program presents a new topic from critters like owls, local history, native plants, tracking and scat ID to how to become an environmental steward and almost everything in-between. 


November 2017 Programs

Click HERE to sign up for November Guided Nature Programs.


Hog Wild Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve
Saturday, November 18th -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Pig species were introduced to Florida by Spanish explorers and early settlers, over time these species escaped captivity becoming the feral hogs we see today.  Throughout the State of Florida these feral hogs are considered a nuisance species, causing major issues in imperiled habitats and other FL ecosystems.  During this hike we will survey the damage done to local ecosystems by feral hogs and learn about their behavior, adaptations and possible methods of control.


“Wise Owl” Night Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve

Saturday, November 18th -- 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Owls rule the night at this preserve! The calls of resident Screech and Barred Owls will greet you from overhead while the frog and cicada choruses serenade you as we walk along the preserve’s marshes.  This site, replete with a rich human and natural history, changes into an ethereal night-time world for us to explore and to help us gain a better understanding of the ecosystem and inhabitants.


The Life Around a Pond Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve

Sunday, November 19th -- 8:00 am to 10:00 am

This preserve's retention pond is a hub of activity for wildlife, boasting all manner of critters swimming, flying, and walking!  We'll hike through the wooded trail along the tributaries of the St. Lucie River and around the pond taking in the antics of our feathered, scaly, slimy and possibly furry neighbors as well as the beauty of seasonal wildflowers. 


Changing Beaches Family Hike & Beach Clean-up at Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve

Monday, November 20th -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Discover this beach’s sandy dunes and intricate beach ecology.  Participants will get a chance to see the plant and wildlife that need these dune systems to survive.  Along the way we’ll explore the exciting wrack line and find lots of treasures offered up by the sea. At the end of this adventure, you’ll get a chance to become an environmental steward by removing the man-made trash and restoring the beach’s pristine beauty. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up.  All minors must be accompanied by an adult.

Ancient Clues Family Hike at Sheraton Scrub Preserve

Wednesday, November 22nd -- 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Bring the whole family for a fun-filled hike through a rare scrub habitat and use the powers of investigation to unlock the secrets of this ancient place, answer the who, what, why, and where questions that help give participants a whole new understanding of this small preserve. Bring binoculars or magnifying glasses to help spot these sneaky clues. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up.  All minors must be accompanied by an adult.


Thanksgiving Weekend Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

Sunday, November 26th -- 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

After the family gathering, join us to visit wild neighbors in an extended thanksgiving celebration!  An opportunity to look for a very special avian resident, the Florida Scrub Jay.  We’ll be exploring trails to look and listen for the presence of birds, Eastern Gopher Tortoise, bobcat, alligator and other wildlife while enjoying the seasonal flowers adapted to an upland environment.

December 2017

Click HERE to sign up for December Guided Nature Programs.


Saturday December 2nd, 2017;  8:00am-10:00am

George LeStrange PreserveChristmas Bird Count

This program is modeled after the Audubon Society’s yearly event and helps participants to learn basic count techniques. We’ll use our new found skills to assess the morning’s bird species present at this preserve.  Members of St. Lucie Audubon Society will be on hand to answer questions about bird identification and birding in general.  Hikers will complete an official bird checklist which will be submitted to the National Audubon Society! This is great citizen science opportunity.


Sunday, December 3rd, 2017;  9:00am-11:00am

Gordy Road Recreation AreaFlorida’s Geological Foundation Hike

The natural history of Florida begins with its formation and unique geology; this preserve offers a rare glimpse of an ancient scrub habitat. Participants will traverse through one of Florida’s earliest ecosystems. Along the way we will also explore the lesser traveled floodplain hammock trail to discuss how water has impacted the state’s geology.


Tuesday, December 5th, 2017;  9:00am-11:00am

Jones Hammock PreserveStress-free Serenity Hike

For those of you who like the peace and serenity that only nature can provide or you love to view wildlife in its natural habitat then this “silent hike” is for you! We’ll have both as we walk silently from Jones Hammock Preserve and up to Platt’s Creek Preserve. This restored wetland is known for its incredible wildlife and promises not to disappoint. This will be a great way to relieve stress and refresh your spirit.


Friday, December 8th, 2017;  3:00pm-5:00pm

St. Lucie Village Heritage ParkWelcome to the Weekend Hike

After a long workweek, why not join us on a refreshing hike in Nature to recharge and rejuvenate?  This is a "fresh air & scenic views" active hike, with the emphasis on enjoying some of the benefits of St. Lucie County’s greenways, clean air, and brisk walking that is a great part of a healthy lifestyle.


Saturday, December 9th, 2017;  9:00am-10:30am

Walton Scrub PreserveSecluded Scrub Hike

Found between the biodiverse habitats of the brackish Indian River Lagoon and the Savannas freshwater basin marsh, lies a 30-acre hidden scrub area that offers a refuge to some very unique “isolated” plant and animal species.  As we explore the site, we’ll see how many of these species we can find and learn they use their specialized adaptations to survive in such a harsh environment.


Saturday, December 16th, 2017;  9:30am-11:00am

Spruce Bluff PreserveFitness Hike

Enjoy the outdoors and get in shape at the same time by joining us on this moderately paced fitness hike along the north and south trails. Participants should anticipate hiking approximately 2.75 miles.


Saturday, December 16th, 2017;  5:30pm-7:30pm

Spruce Bluff PreserveUnder the Blacklight Night Hike: Invertebrates, Flower and Fungus…Oh my!

Frogs trill, owls lurk, and bats fly overhead!  These are some of the nighttime wonders waiting for us as we walk by this piney wetland which is as magical at night as it is during the day.  Insects, spiders and lichens will be highlighted as we look as with "new eyes" that the black-light provides.  The black-light helps us to understand how organisms fully use the light spectrum to communicate.


Sunday, December 17th, 2017;  8:30am-10:30am

Ancient Oaks PreserveEngaging Ecotones Hike

Explore the world in-between!  Participants will hike through this site’s ecotones and discover how these transitional areas between two distinct habitats are some of the richest in terms of biodiversity. We’ll discuss the plants and animal species that utilize ecotones and the impacts of an “edge effect”.


Monday, December 18th, 2017;  9:00 am to 11:00 am

Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve: Changing Beaches Family Hike & Beach Clean-up

Join us to see how the beach and life around it has changed month to month.  As we walk the sandy shore we’ll explore the exciting wrack line and find the treasures offered up by the sea. At the end of this monthly adventure, you’ll get a chance to become an environmental steward by removing the man-made trash and restoring the beach’s pristine beauty.  All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up.  All minors must be accompanied by an adult.


Tuesday, December 19th, 2017;  9:00am-12:00pm

Indrio Savannahs PreserveManaging Florida’s Natural Resources Hike

Florida’s “paradise-like” climate supports extremely diverse plant life, wildlife and ecosystems.  Land managers have to take a variety of approaches, and use different techniques to help restore the wild areas back to their former glory and support the abundance of species that call this State home.  While we hike, we will discuss some of the natural resource management being conducted in St. Lucie County and why it is so important to maintain high biodiversity.


Thursday, December 21st, 2017;  9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Winter Solstice Paddle

Join us for an enthralling paddle along the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. Reconnect with nature on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice! Kayaks, US Coastguard approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also provide your own equipment if desired).  The cost is $10 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!


Saturday, December 30th, 2017;  8:30 am to 11:30 am

Pinelands Preserve: Pine Flatwoods Long Distance Hike

Explore this preserve’s pine flatwoods communities looking for different native plant species and signs of animal life.  This long hike (4+ miles) is an opportunity to go deep into the woods and traverse the path rarely taken.  Bring binoculars for great birding opportunities and a spirit of adventure.


Saturday, December 30th, 2017;  9:30 am to 10:30­ am

Sheraton Scrub Preserve: Fire in the Ecosystem Short Hike

Nature incorporated fire into Florida’s ecosystems for a very specific purpose; many plant and animal species need it to survive and thrive! Learn why ecosystems like this need fire and how it affects the animals and plant species that live here.


Monday, January 1st, 2018;  11:00 am to 12:30 pm

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: 3rd Annual New Year’s Day Hike

Ring in 2018 with a hike to immerse yourself in the relaxing benefits of nature!  Join us for a leisurely stroll through a preserve featuring towering pine trees, live oaks, and seasonal scrub wildflowers and a great opportunity to view various bird species.


Monday, January 1st, 2017;  11:00 am to 12:30 pm

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: 3rd Annual New Year’s Day Hike

What a better way to ring in the new year than a hike in nature!  Join us for a leisurely stroll through a preserve featuring towering pine trees, live oaks, and seasonal scrub wildflowers and an opportunity to view various bird species.


Please note Hike Leader phone numbers are private and may only be used to contact that individual during the hike time-frame.  Thank you for your consideration.


Moonshine Hike

Bluefield’s open expanses, hidden hammocks and scrub habitats made it the perfect place to enjoy moonshine; not just the glowing orb in the night sky but rather other kind of illicit moonshine.Hike the trails of the preserve and learn about the history of Florida moonshiners as well as the specific history of distillation of this nefarious liquor at Bluefield Preserve


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