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St. Lucie County offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 21 in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.  

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. 

 


 

December 2018 Programs

Click HERE to sign up for December Guided Nature Programs.

 

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!

 

Saturday, January 5th – 8:00 am to 9:30 am

Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: Air Plants & Epiphytes Hike

Florida is home to a myriad of ferns, bromeliads, and orchids that live attached to tree branches. No soil is required for their survival which means they sometimes can be found residing high up in the canopy.   Enjoy a short walk and get to know a few of these botanical wonders.  

 

Sunday, January 6th – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve: Intro to Geocaching Family Hike

Do your kids dream of treasure hunting or are you a big kid at heart?  Join us and learn about present-day treasure hunting using GPS units – geocaching! It's a great outdoor bonding activity for the whole family with an opportunity to combine technology and nature.  Appropriate for all ages, however, minors must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Tuesday, January 8th – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

George LeStrange Preserve: Sweet Freedom Zen Hike

As the kiddos head back to school, enjoy a few moments of blissful silence enrobed in the beauty of nature. This relaxing walk will allow participants a peaceful chance to reflect upon the joys of their past holiday season. 

  

Thursday, January 10th – 9:30 am to 11:30 am

Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Stress Free Serenity Hike

For those of us who like the peace and serenity that only nature can provide or just love to view wildlife in their natural habitat, this “silent hike” is for you! We’ll have both as we walk silently through Teague Hammock. This restoration in progress wetland is known for its incredible wildlife and promises not to disappoint. This will be a great way to shrug off stress and refresh your spirit.

 

Saturday, January 12th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Coastal Greenway Hike

This historic area was once a part of the early land boom in Florida and an important part of a town called Indrio.  Explore the mangrove swamp and coastal hammock to discover the hidden history locked within this site and learn how it is now utilized as a greenway for wildlife and hikers.

 

Saturday, January 12th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Steven J. Fousek Preserve: It’s All About the Owls Night Hike

Learn about which owl species call Florida, and specifically St. Lucie County, home.  On the trail we’ll listen for the most commonly heard owls and discuss their special adaptations that make them so unique. We’ll experience the habitats in which they thrive in, as we journey into the exciting nocturnal world of these silent hunters. This hike is appropriate for ages 12 & up, and includes uneven terrain and long-distance walking.

 

Sunday, January 13th – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Afternoon River Paddle

Explore the upper reaches of the St. Lucie River on this relaxing afternoon paddling excursion and watch how natural world changes as dusk falls.  Kayaks, paddles, and US Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are 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!

 

Wednesday, January 16th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Ancient Oaks Preserve: Engaging Ecology Hike

Discover the fragile balance in nature as we walk between two different ecosystems and experience the differences between the plants and animals that utilize both.

 

Thursday, January 17th – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Kayaking Excursion to White City Park

Come with us as we paddle even further down beautiful Ten Mile Creek towards the North Fork of the St Lucie River. During this 4-hour paddle we'll travel past numerous parks and preserves, including Miller Tract, Sweetwater Hammock, and Platt's Creek, as we head to White City Park. This trip is appropriate for ages 14 & up. Kayaks, paddles, and US Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are 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, January 19th – 9:30 am to 11:00 am

Gordy Road Recreation Area: Florida Formation Hike

Start from the bottom up! The natural history of Florida begins with its formation. Discover how this State was born underwater. We’ll look for rocks and examine the soil as we discover the natural past in one of Florida’s earliest ecosystems.  Participants will traverse a steep slope into the floodplain.   

 

Saturday, January 19th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve: Full Moon Night Hike

Moonlight, critters, and woods, oh my!  We're looking for and listening to wildlife at dusk as day transitions to night.  The "changing of the guard" from daytime to nighttime brings a host of changes to the preserves, in terms of which creatures are active, and gives us extraordinary moonlit viewing opportunities.

 

Sunday, January 20th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Walton Scrub Preserve: Smartphone Photography Hike

Like to travel light but still want photos of your hikes?  Push your smartphone's capabilities as you hike through this site’s endangered scrub habitats, and see what memories you can capture.

 

Thursday, January 24th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Indrio Savannahs Preserve: In Search of the Eagle Fitness Hike

Join us for a brisk walk through Indrio Savannas with a stop at our favorite eagle nest.  We’ll walk about 3 miles and end at the nest just before noon.  This outing will be a quiet walk with minimal stops.  Please bring water and your compact binoculars.  This walk is appropriate for ages 14 & up.

 

Friday, January 25th – 8:00 am to 10:30 am

Gordy Road Recreation Area: What’s in an Ecotone 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.”

 

Saturday, January 26th – 9:00 am to 10:30 am

Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve: Morning Fitness Hike

Enjoy the outdoors and get in shape at the same time by joining us on this moderately paced fitness hike that will take you through a canopy of Live Oak and Cabbage Palm.  Participants should anticipate hiking up to 2 miles at a brisk pace.

 

Wednesday, January 30th – 8:30 am to 11:30 am

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Paddling the Lagoon

Enjoy a leisurely paddle along the brackish water of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). The IRL is one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America, with an incredible abundance of plants and animals in excess of over 2,000 species of each. See how many you can spot! Kayaks, paddles, and US Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are 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!

 

February 2019 Programs

Click HERE to sign up for February's Guided Nature Programs.

  

Friday, February 1st – 7:30 am to 10:00 am

Indrio Savannahs Preserve: Upland & Marshland Fitness Hike

Marsh and grid trails provide scenic views of upland and wetland habitats during this 3-mile hike through this unique preserve.  Participants will have an excellent opportunity to view bird life such as the Florida Scrub Jay and breath-taking seasonal wildflowers while taking a brisk walk.

 

Friday, February 1st – 10:30 am to 12:00 pm

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Simply Symbiotic Family Hike

Explore the world of symbiosis during this short hike though a beautiful hydric hammock.  Discover how some of Florida’s plants and animals have intricately woven relationships whether good, bad, or just neutral.  Appropriate for all ages; minors must be accompanied by an adult.  

 

Saturday, February 2nd – 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Indrio Savannahs Preserve: A Bit of Everything Hike

From ancient coastal ridges, mining history, and diverse habitats to coming back from the brink of urbanization and preservation, this site has a varied history of land uses and natural history to offer visitors.  Discover how human intervention has impacted this site over the ages during this 1.5-mile hike.

 

Saturday, February 2nd – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Citrus Hammock Preserve: Black-light Night Hike: Invertebrates, Flowers, 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 upland bordered by riparian hammock, which is as magical at night as it is during the day.  Insects, spiders, and lichens will be highlighted as we look with "new eyes" that the black-light provides.  The black-light helps us to understand how organisms fully use the light spectrum to communicate.

 

Monday, February 4th – 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Oxbow Eco-Center Preserve: Flatwoods Fitness Hike

Kick-off the work week with an adventure through the Pine Flatwoods of the Oxbow Eco-Center preserve area.  Participants will enjoy a brisk-paced walk through the stunning vistas of this 225-acre site.

 

Saturday, February 9th – 8:00 am to 11:00 am

George LeStrange Preserve: “Back 40” Scrub Endurance Hike

Just yards from the St. Lucie River lies a cool ecosystem that hosts specialized native plants and animals, but this area is also threatened by invasive and exotic species.  As we explore, we’ll discuss the impacts of invasive species and look for several native scrub oaks, seasonal wildflowers, and animals found within this dry and sandy land that is so near the life-giving waters of the river.  

 

Sunday, February 10th – 9:00 am to 10:30 am

Spruce Bluff Preserve: For the Love of Fire Hike

Many tree and plant species need fire to survive, and some even encourage it! Discover why ecosystems need fire and how it affects the plant and animal species that live there as we explore a little-known treasure trove carpeted with lichens and filled with the aroma of Florida Rosemary.

 

Sunday, February 10th – 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: North of the NFSLR Paddle Excursion

Join us as we kayak 10 Mile Creek, the historic headwaters of the St Lucie River.   We'll see native and exotic plants, local birds, and fish jumping.  Enjoy a quiet paddle as we enjoy nature's serenity on our adventure.  US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices and paddles are provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired).  This trip is for ages 14 and up.  An adult must accompany all minors. The cost is $10 per person. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Friday, February 15th – 8:00 am to 10:30 am

Ancient Oaks Preserve: Great Backyard Bird Count/ Birding Walk for Families

Ever wondered what birders do during the National Backyard Bird Count?  Join us to learn basic birding and counting techniques as we hike to identify, count bird species, and record our sightings on field cards – this is an exciting citizen science event! The Treasure Coast is a hot destination for birders of all ages and knowledge levels. We'll explore one of the county’s avian hotspots by learning the basics about birding from an experienced naturalist.  Please bring your binoculars if you have them. Appropriate for all ages, minors must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Saturday, February 16th – 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Dusk Wildlife Hike

Dusk is one of the best times to view wildlife.  During this hike, we will actively search the preserve for the crepuscular and nocturnal animals that start their day at sunset.

 

Sunday, February 17th – 8:30 am to 10:30 am

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Riverside Hammock Exploration Hike

Explore paths along the river to find out which plants and animals have adapted to live in a typical riverine hammock habitat: one that is both swampy and wooded. Learn about some the adaptations of unique species that call these hammocks home.

 

Monday, February 18th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Ten Mile Creek Preserve: Headwaters of the St. Lucie Paddle Excursion

Explore the upper reaches of the North Fork as we watch the world wake up along the banks of the beautiful St. Lucie River.  Enjoy a scenic paddle along the St. Lucie River, and travel back in time to Old Florida as we explore green riverbanks, birds, insects, and listen for Nature’s sounds. Kayaks, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and paddles are provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired).  This trip is for ages 12 and up.  All minors must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $10 per person. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Friday, February 22nd – 7:00 am to 10:00 am

Bluefield Ranch Preserve: Walking the Wilds Hike

The piney Flatwoods offers up a magical combination at sunrise:  The Dawn Chorus of birds, crepuscular critters out and about, and dew on the seasonal wildflowers and grasses.  This distance hike is for the hardy hiker with the endurance to traverse a wilder landscape. 

 

Saturday, February 23rd – 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Indrio Savannahs Preserve: Crepuscular Creatures Dusk Hike

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 that are adapted to wander in the cover of night.  This is a rare opportunity to use the moonlight to illuminate who is out and about after dark. 

 

Thursday, February 28th – 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 that is just a stone's throw away from A1A.  We'll venture south of the Jack Island foot bridge and back as we search for the original Indian River Lagoon inlet. Kayaks, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and paddles are provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired).  Appropriate for ages 14 and up.  The cost is $10 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Stay tuned for March's Guided Nature Programs

Fire and Rain Hike

Free Guided Nature Program

Fire and rain are both necessary to have a healthy ecosystem, and Bluefield Ranch Preserve has had plenty of both this year.  Explore recently burned and flooded areas as new growth begins.

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