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 older, 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 2018 Programs

Click HERE to sign up for November Guided Nature Programs.

 

 

Scrub Specialists Hike at Indrio Scrub Preserve

Friday, November 30th – 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Have you ever wondered how some animals could survive in some of the harshest environments? The scrub is much like a desert, and the creatures here have many adaptations for survival. Let us introduce you to a small and mighty preserve full of life on this short afternoon walk.

 

December 2018 Programs

Click HERE to sign up for December Guided Nature Programs.

 

Saturday, December 1st – 8:00 am to 10:30 am

George LeStrange Preserve: 4th Annual SLC Christmas 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 a great citizen science opportunity.

 

Wednesday, December 5th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Exploring Nature Safely Hike

Start your own hike season with some good basic knowledge of how to hike safely and ethically in Florida’s ever-changing weather and what to do if or when you encounter the preserve’s many interesting critters.  Along the way, we’ll learn about some the native plants on site including which ones to avoid.  

 

Friday, December 7th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Walton Scrub Preserve: Ultra-violet Vision: Colors Through Animal Eyes Night Hike

Humans have great eyesight, but other animals can see things we cannot.  Find out more about how light waves are perceived by animal eyes, and learn about the importance of color in nature.  During this night hike, we will be using ultraviolet lights to see a "new side" of plants, insects, and more.

 

Saturday, December 8th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Kayaking the St. Lucie River

Discover one of the wild tributaries of the St. Lucie River by kayak on this guided adventure along Ten Mile Creek. Learn to identify numerous birds, trees, and flowers along the way. Kayaks, US Coastguard approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your 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 8th – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Queen’s Island Riverside Preserve:  Plant ID & Beach Walk

Plants near the beach are tough and able to survive difficult and ever-changing conditions.  Come to see these unique plants on a short plant identification hike on the riverside of the park.  Afterwards, we’ll head to the beach in search of some of the mysterious marine treasures that have been washed ashore by the tides.

 

 

Saturday, December 8th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Bluefield Ranch Preserve: Nature’s Holiday Light Display Night Hike

Away from the light pollution of the city, one can see the extravagant beauty of the stars and the natural holiday lights they provide.  Go west to Bluefield Ranch Preserve for this naked eye astronomy adventure where participants can hike under starlight of the open sky.

 

Sunday, December 9th – 7:30 am to 9:30 am

Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve: Beach Tracks Morning Hike

Though sea turtles returned to the ocean for the season, many shore-dwelling animals are still very active.  We’ll hunt for their biofacts and footprints as well as look to discover their secret hideaways.  Along the way participants will investigate the wrack-line and see how different shells can be found scattered on the site’s beautiful beach.

 

Thursday, December 13th – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Queen’s Island Riverside Preserve: Shifting Sands Kayak Excursion

Discover the hidden 'inside passage' paddling trail in the Indian River Lagoon.  We'll paddle a serene, quiet, little-used waterway a stone's throw from A1A.  We'll venture south of the Jack Island foot bridge and back as we search for the original Indian River Lagoon inlet. Appropriate for ages 14 & up. Kayaks, US Coastguard approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring 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 15th – 8:30 am to 10:30 am

Ancient Oaks Preserve: Native Vs. Invasive Species Hike

Over the years this site has gone through many environmental changes from a commercial mine to a nature preserve.  Learn about St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department’s restoration efforts and how invasive species can severly impact these restored areas. 

 

Sunday, December 16th – 11:00 am to 12:30 pm

Sheraton Scrub Preserve: O Florida Christmas Tree Family Hike

Welcome to Florida – but where are the Christmas trees? Unlike habitats further north, there are not very many “traditional” Christmas trees around here. Come see and learn about how Florida's pioneer inhabitants used the Sand Pine to deck the halls.  This hike will also include other scrub plant identification and is a great way to get in the festive spirit! All ages welcome! An adult must accompany all minors.

 

Wednesday, December 19th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Ten Mile Creek Preserve: Mysterious Mushrooms & Lichens Hike

A stroll through this shady and surprisingly hilly hydric hammock and floodplain forest will reveal many of nature's secrets.  Keen observers will enjoy looking at a variety of lichens and fungi as well as the opportunity to learn about their interactions with the natural world that surrounds them.  Bring along your hand lens to a get an up close and personal look.

Friday, December 21st – 10:00 am to 11:30 am

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Family Day Hike

This lagoon-side preserve boasts butterflies, anoles, birds, bobcats 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 hydric hammock habitat in the shade of trees to experience a little slice of the “Old Florida.” All ages welcome!  An adult must accompany all minors.

 

Saturday, December 22nd – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Indian Hills Recreation Area: Family Nature Walk

Bring the whole family for a leisurely stroll around the scenic pond located on the north end of Indian Hills.  Connect with nature and decompress before heading into your busy holiday week.  View our feathered friends and other critters living along the trail.  All ages welcome! An adult must accompany all minors.  This trail is suitable for all-terrain and jogging strollers.

 

Wednesday, December 26th – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Post Holiday Kayak Excursion

Discover the natural holiday beauty of Ten Mile Creek while enjoying this Boxing Day kayak adventure. Kayaks, US Coastguard approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your equipment if desired). The cost is $10 per person. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Friday, December 28th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Ten Mile Creek Preserve: After the Holiday Hike

Are you feeling the stress from all the holiday planning, dinners, parties, and hosting endless visitors? Join our "decompression" hike to enjoy birdsongs, wildflowers, and a view of the serene river. Stay for the fresh air and peace that are sure to recharge your internal holiday batteries.

 

Saturday, December 29th – 9:00 am to 10:30 am

Spruce Bluff Preserve: Walk It Off Fitness Hike

Pants feeling a little snug after all those holiday treats and feasts?  Planning a new year’s fitness resolution? If your answer is yes to either question, then kick your healthy habits into gear at this beautiful preserve by walking off any of those extra indulgences.  This 1.5-mile fitness hike will maintain a brisk pace.

 

Monday, December 31st – 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

George LeStrange Preserve: The Last Sunset of 2018 Hike

Reign in the New Year by saying goodbye to yesteryear.  Finish your day enveloped in warm golden rays and a sense of Zen as the sun sets over the lake. This preserve is one of the top spots in St. Lucie County to enjoy sunsets and watch as the wilderness around you changes. Bring your camera, binoculars, or just enjoy the moment free of technology.  

 

January 2019 Programs

Click HERE to sign up for January Guided Nature Programs.

 

Tuesday, January 1st – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

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

This year, our annual celebration is twice as nice with two times the fun opportunities to hike. Welcome in the New Year, explore this unique intra-coastal habitat with mighty pines, scrub oaks, and wildflowers. We’ll be watching for our resident winter migrant birds, enjoying blooming upland wildflowers, and looking for anoles sunning on trees!

 

Stay tuned for more January Guided Nature Programs

Changing Beaches Family Hike & Beach Clean-up

St. Lucie County's Guided Nature Programs

Sunday, March 4th, 2018;  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.

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