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 15 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.
If you are interested in attending a hike and would like join our contact list, click HERE. You will be notified by when Guided Nature Programs registration opens or when new programs are added.
To sign up for one of our Guided Nature Programs just click on the month below containing the programs your are interested in attending and the link will redirect you to the Sign-up Genius website for free and easy registration. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (772) 462-2526 for more information.
February 2017 Programs: Click to register for February programs.
A Riparian Ecosystem Hike at Richard E. Becker Preserve
Friday, February 17th -- 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Journey through one of the county’s newest preserves to explore plants and animals that are found living on this unique site adjacent to the river. Enjoy new paths created for hiking enjoyment, a view of the headwaters of the St. Lucie River, and stop to enjoy flowering plants in the hammock and by the water’s edge.
Landlord of the Uplands Hike at Walton Preserve
Sunday, February 19th -- 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Explore the unique and imperiled Florida Scrub as we go in search of the humble gopher tortoise and why they are considered the “Landlord of the Uplands”. Learn about the threats to this legally protected species and why conservation efforts are so vital. Appropriate for all ages. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Old and New Ten Mile Creek Exploration Hike at George LeStrange Preserve
Tuesday, February 21st -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Discover how people have changed the course of Ten Mile Creek by looking at the old and new flow of this vital waterway. Walk through the historic remnant oxbows and creek beds where the creek once meandered and see the succession of this preserve’s natural areas.
Black-light Night Hike Part 2 at Gordy Road Recreation Area
Friday, February 24th -- 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
It’s a night-time stroll through the preserve! We’ll watch and listen for owls, nighthawks, smaller critters and all manner of plants and with interesting night-time colors under a naturalist’s black-light. Learn about how wavelengths of light have the power to render a plant or animal’s exterior different colors, and how nature can “change clothing” between day and night.
Fitness Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve
Sunday, February 26th -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Enjoy the outdoors and get in shape at the same time by joining us on this moderately paced fitness hike. Participants should anticipate hiking approximately 3 miles. Recommended for physically active adults only.
March 2017 Programs: click to register for MARCH programs
Scrub Stroll Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve
Friday, March 3rd -- 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Start your weekend in a remarkable place – a coastal upland environment just yards from the Indian River Lagoon. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon stroll in the sandy ecosystem, learning about its native plants and animals, as well as exotics which have moved into the park as from surrounding locales. We will explore scrub oak species, seasonal wildflowers and animal life inhabiting this dry, otherworldly environment so near the life-giving waters of the lagoon.
Floodplain Forest Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve
Saturday, March 4th -- 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Explore Citrus Hammock Preserve is one of the newest preserves in St. Lucie County. Participants will meander along the half-mile trail through the floodplain forest winding their way past moss covered large oaks and ancient slash pines trees to get a glimpse of a historic floodplain that runs alongside the North Fork of the St. Lucie River.
Take a Lichen to This Place Hike at Ten Mile Creek Preserve
Thursday, March 9th -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Hidden in the forest lies some very interesting organisms that are found in abundance amongst the trees throughout this preserve. Participants will hike the “hilly” trail along the creek, learn how to identify different air plants and lichens while discovering some of their amazing adaptations for survival.
Spring Full Moon Night Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve
Friday, March 10th -- 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
With spring just around the corner, this is a great time to look, listen and feel the changes in the air during this nighttime adventure. We will be looking for the animals and birds who dare and are adapted wonder in the cover of night. This is rare opportunity to use the moonlight illuminate who is out and about after dark.
Bird Prowl Hike at Oxbow Eco-Center Preserve
Saturday, March 11th -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am
This preserve has a little of everything: uplands, canal marshes, and riparian bottomlands. We’ll be heading to the aquatic areas to spy on bird populations inhabiting these areas. Why do birds stay near water? Which birds live along the canal, and which birds live on the riverbank? We’ll look for clues to understand where and why animals live within the preserve.
Nocturnal Neighbors Night Hike Part 4 at the Steven J. Fousek Preserve
Saturday, March 11th -- 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Fireflies have enchanted humans since the beginning of time, and this is the season to enjoy their flashes of light in the fading light of evening and into the night. Enjoy a nocturnal romp to discover fireflies, night-flying birds, and all manner of night-time creature and critter.
Sunset Nature Photography Hike at George LeStrange Preserve
Sunday, March 12th -- 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Bring your camera or smartphone to take part in this 1.25-mile guided nature photography hike. We'll start by hiking the trails and finish by overlooking the lake at sunset. As we explore this upland habitat, we’ll discuss composition and technical aspects of photography as well as species we encounter along our way.
Spring Break Leisurely Stroll at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve
Thursday, March 16th -- 10:00 am to 11:30 am
This river-side preserve boasts butterflies, anoles, birds, rabbits and all manner of seasonal wildflowers and native plants. A flat, wide trail affords an “easy-does-it” excursion suitable for elders and families with young children to enjoy the outdoors and explore a riparian habitat in the shade of trees in a remnant hammock to experience a little slice of the “Old Florida.” Appropriate for all ages and all minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Early Bird Hike at Pinelands Preserve
Saturday, March 18th -- 6:45 am to 9:00 am
Spring is mating season for the Florida Wild Turkey (also called Osceola) and early morning is the best time to find them. Wake up early for a morning hike in the pine flatwoods and a chance to use various calls to locate turkeys.
Soaring Kites Hike at Jones Hammock Preserve
Tuesday, March 21st -- 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Watch as the endangered Snail Kite soars above this preserve in search for its favorite food, apple snails! Participants will learn about the unique adaptions of both the Snail Kite and the Florida apple snail, as well the conservation issues facing both species as you hike through the peaceful wetland restoration. Be sure to bring your binoculars for some great bird watching opportunities.
Adventure into the Hidden Oxbows Kayak Excursion at Richard E. Becker Preserve
Wednesday, March 22nd -- 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Explore the history and beauty of the North Fork of the St. Lucie River through the hidden oxbows that were once part of the River’s historical flow-ways. Be sure to bring your lunch for a scenic picnic along the water’s edge. Details will be provided to registered participants prior to the scheduled date. 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!
Black-light Night Hike Part 3 at St. Lucie Village Heritage Park
Saturday, March 25th -- 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Every preserve has a myriad of critters that are affected differently by light, join us to see which ones stand out at St. Lucie Village Heritage Park. We’ll watch and listen for owls, nighthawks, and all manner of plants and smaller critters with interesting night-time colors under a naturalist’s black-light. Learn about how wavelengths of light have the power to render a plant or animal’s exterior different colors, and how nature can “change clothing” between day and night.
Native Landscaping Hike at Indian Hills Preserve
Sunday, March 26th -- 8:30 am to 9:30 am
Take part in this short, half mile walk as we discuss the benefits of native landscaping at one of the County's newest preserves. We'll also discuss building backyard habitats. Expect to see a bountiful aquatic habitat surrounded by native plants, and wildlife sightings such as birds and even alligators! This cool preserve is managed in partnership between the City of Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County.
April 2017 Programs: click to register for APRIL programs
How Nature Can Fool Us- Hike for Families at Citrus Hammock Preserve
Saturday, April 1st -- 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
What better way to have fun on April Fool’s Day but to get outside and learn how nature tricks us every day! We'll investigate with binoculars and magnifiers to see camouflage, nests, patterns and more. This short hike is perfect for the whole family. Appropriate for all ages and all minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Discovering Ethnobotany Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve
Thursday, April 6th -- 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Learn how the earliest peoples of Florida utilized the abundant plant species around them to build shelter, feed their families, and clothe themselves as we hike through this urban oasis.
Historical Hammocks Hike at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve
Saturday, April 8th -- 8:00 am to 10:00 am
Enjoy a leisurely morning hike through this site’s shady hammock. Discover why these special elevated tree islands are so important to the plants and animals that live around the river and why they are called a hammock as the trail weaves you through the majestic live oaks and old cabbage palms.
Nocturnal Neighbors Night Hike Part 5 at the Steven J. Fousek Preserve
Saturday, April 8th – 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Which of Florida’s nocturnal raptors might be prowling about at this natural area? Join us for a nocturnal adventure through ranchlands and citrus grove-turned natural areas in search of resident owl species, our “neighbors of the night.” We will be on the lookout for several silent flyers that rule the night world!
Sunrise Hike at Ocean Bay Preserve
Sunday, April 9th -- 6:30 am to 8:00 am
Start your day off right! Rise and shine by viewing a beach sunrise followed by short, 1-mile walk along the beach and through a mature beach dune system. We'll learn about coastal systems and adaptations needed to survive these difficult and ever changing environments.
Plant ID Hike at DJ Wilcox Preserve
Sunday, April 16th -- 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
The unique history of this preserve translates into an interesting mix of plants and animals living in preserve which has both freshwater and lagoon habitat. Learn about the organisms living at this preserve and some natural history, too! We’ll explore plants, animals, and take a tour through one of the county’s more diverse preserves to investigate which plant and animal neighbors call this preserve home.
Wrack-line Investigation Hike and Beach Clean-up at Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve
Thursday, April 20th -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Walk the line- that wrack-line, that is, and see how all the strange and wonderful things that the changing tides wash up on the sandy beach! This short hike will have participants investigating all the cool treasures hidden in the sands and in honor of Earth Day, helping to clean-up some of the refuse littering the beach.
River Clean-up Kayak Excursion at Richard E. Becker Preserve
Saturday, April 22nd -- 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Make a difference this Earth Day by participating in a clean-up by kayak! Bring your own or reserve one of ours. Groups are welcome. Pack your lunch for a picnic to celebrate afterwards. There will be NO fees for this participant clean-up event..
Moonshine Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve
Saturday, April 22nd -- 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
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.
What’s Blooming Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve
Sunday, April 23rd -- 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Join us for a 1.25-mile hike on the AIS Trail in search of native wildflowers and see for yourself why Florida was named "the land of flowers." This site offers mixed upland and wetland plant communities.
Historic Tree Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve
Friday, April 28th -- 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM
Majestic giants among us, Florida’s mature trees give us historic perspective when it comes to both natural and human history. The “Three Sisters,” Slash Pines standing firm and tall through change around them, will be our focus as we stroll through one of the county’s newer preserves featuring a small pond, a nature trail, and small meadow area.
Black-light Night Part 4 at Ancient Oaks Preserve
Friday, April 28th -- 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
It’s a night-time stroll through the preserve! We’ll watch and listen for owls, nighthawks, and all manner of plants and smaller critters with interesting night-time colors under a naturalist’s black-light. Learn about how wavelengths of light have the power to render a plant or animal’s exterior different colors, and how nature can “change clothing” during the day and night as result.
May 2017 Programs: click to register for MAY programs.
The Special Birds of Sheridan Scrub Hike at Sheraton Scrub Preserve
Friday, May 5th -- 8:00 am to 10:00 am
Enjoy an opportunity to look for a very special avian resident, the Florida Scrub-jay. This site features uplands adjacent to a small lake, affording visitors to see a wide variety of resident and migratory bird species which utilize this unique ecosystem. We’ll be exploring trails to look and listen for the presence of birds and other wildlife while enjoying the seasonal flowers adapted to an upland environment.
Crepuscular Critters Family Hike at Indrio Scrub Preserve
Saturday, May 6th -- 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
As the scrub cools off in the evening activity picks up. Hike the sandy trails and find out what’s going on before dark. Appropriate for all ages and all minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Exploration Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve
Sunday, May 7th -- 8:30 am-10:30 am
The county’s newest preserve is ready to “meet the public!” This property boasts a retention pond aquatic habitat, a hammock trail featuring towering Slash Pines preserved during the acquisition and restoration process, and includes a canoe and kayak launch accessing the St. Lucie River. This is an opportunity for visitors to visit the property to explore it by land and learn some of its natural and human histories.
Nocturnal Neighbors Night Hike Part 6 at George LeStrange Preserve
Saturday, May 13th-- 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
This preserve features both upland and bottomland replete with resident owls, Nighthawks, and Marsh Hares. Adventure through this woodland to listen for nocturnal creatures as the breeze rustles through the leaves of Live Oaks, Slash Pines, and Saw Palmetto.
Discovering Indian Hills Preserve Hike at Indian Hills Recreation Area & Preserve
Sunday, May 14th-- 8:00 am to 10:00 am
This is one newest preserves in St. Lucie County and it boasts a retention pond aquatic habitat and a Slash Pine savannah near the Indian River Lagoon. This is an opportunity for visitors to visit the property to explore it by land, learn some of its natural and human history and how the site is managed in partnership between the City of Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County.
Bugs ‘n Blooms Family Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve
Saturday, May 20th-- 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Find the hidden beauty of the preserve as you hike and learn the key to identifying the different species of the wildflowers and invertebrates that found within. We’ll find out which flowers bloom this time of years, spot as many colors as possible and then discover the precious pollinators that ensure the flowers survival.
Natural Connections & Plant ID Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve
Tuesday, May 23rd—8:30 am to 10:30 am
In some way or another, every organism is connected to each other and to the abiotic features found around them. Walking along the winding trail, participants will get to make the similar connections with the plants and animals that may have once been made by the site’s earliest peoples. Discover how to ID plant species and learn about their adaptations along the way.
Turtle Tracks Beach Hike at Preserve TBD
Thursday, May 25th-- 6:15 am to 7:15 am
Enjoy an early morning stroll along the beach with us to learn about the tracks in the sand made by different sea turtle species as they dragged their heavy bodies out of the ocean to nest.
Black-light Night Hike Part 5 at Walton Scrub Preserve
Friday, May 26th -- 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
It’s a night-time stroll through the preserve! We’ll watch and listen for owls, nighthawks, and all manner of plants and smaller critters with interesting night-time colors under a naturalist’s black-light. Learn about how wavelengths of light have the power to render a plant or animal’s exterior different colors, and how nature can “change clothing” between day and night.
Hike Leader phone numbers are private and may only be used to contact that individual during the hike/ paddle time-frame. Thank you for your consideration.
7:00 PMFull Moon Hike
9:00 AMNatural History Hike
3:00 PMLove’s Complicated Hike
8:30 AMA Riparian Ecosystem Hike
10:00 AM Landlord of the Uplands Hike
6:00 PMBlack-light Night Hike