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. 

 


 

March 2019 Programs

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

 

Tuesday, March 12th – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

George LeStrange Preserve: Twice as Nice Fitness Hike

This beautiful lake-view hike is so nice; we’ll do it twice. Each trip around the lake is a mile in length and this fitness hike will ensure you get your steps in for the day. Along the way, we’ll spot the wildlife and wildflowers that call this preserve home.

 

Wednesday, March 13th – 7:30 am to 10:00 am

Jones Hammock Preserve: Morning Hike for Birders

It's an all-avian hike along a secluded wetland and river. Birders be sure to bring your binoculars, scopes, field guides, and checklists! This preserve, adjacent to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, boasts a rich variety of resident and migratory birdlife attracted to the water’s bountiful food supply. This hike is sure to impress any avid birder.

 

Saturday, March 16th – 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Sheraton Scrub Preserve: Ancient Clues Family Hike

Bring the whole family for a fun-filled hike through a rare scrub habitat. We’ll use the powers of investigation to unlock the secrets of this ancient place to answer the who, what, why, and where questions that help participants gain 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.

 

Sunday, March 17th – 7:00 am to 8:30 am

Walton Scrub Preserve: Sunrise in the Scrub Hike

Start St. Patrick's Day by hiking along the ancient and scenic coastal ridge. Participants will discover all things green hidden in this scrubby oasis that lies nestled between the Indian River and Savannas’ basin marsh. Walk as the suns golden rays bring the preserve to life.

 

Saturday, March 23rd – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Indrio Savannahs Preserve: The Art of Tracking Hike

Each step taken by wildlife leaves a distinct impression and learning how to “read” these signs like a tracker of old will help you get a sneak peek into the day-to-day lives of each animal. We’ll look for tracks, scat, bones, fur, sheds, feathers, and whatever else we can find to determine what animals might be living at this wondrous preserve.

 

Saturday, March 23rd – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Firefly Bioluminescence Night Hike

Fireflies have enchanted humans since the beginning of time, and this is the season to enjoy their flashes of luminosity in the fading light of evening and into the night. Enjoy a nocturnal adventure to discover fireflies, night-flying birds, and all manner of creatures of the dark.

 

Sunday, March 24th – 7:00 am to 9:30 am

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Early Bird Sunrise Fitness Hike

There’s no better way to start the day than to watch as the world wakes up around you. Watch a peaceful sunrise along a beautiful lagoon vista as we make our way through the shaded hammocks. Feel free to bring your camera, binoculars, or just enjoy the moment without extra technology on this 3-mile hike.

 

Sunday, March 24th – 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm

Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve: Becoming a Preserve Pal Program & Hike

Get involved in one of St. Lucie County’s newest citizen engagement opportunities! During this interactive hike, participants will learn about the Environmental Resources Department’s “Preserve Pal Program” and how it invites local residents, neighborhoods, schools and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to take stewardship of the natural areas that surround them. This is appropriate for ages 8 & up.

 

Saturday, March 30th – 7:30 am to 11:00 am

Steven J. Fousek Preserve: In Search of the Osceola Turkey Hike

Spring is mating season for the Florida Wild Turkey or Osceola Turkey and early morning is the best time to find them. Enjoy a morning hike through the pine Flatwoods for a chance see and to discuss how various calls locate this infamous avian.

 

Saturday, March 30th – 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Guided Kayak Tour Along Ten Mile Creek

Escape from hectic daily life and paddle your cares away on this leisurely guided tour of the St. Lucie River. Wildlife sightings along Ten Mile Creek include barred owls, wood ducks, night herons, anhinga, alligators, turtles, and much more. Paddlers of all levels are welcome. Kayaks, U.S. 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) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

April 2019 Programs

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

 

Wednesday, April 3rd – 7:30 am to 10:00 am

Jones Hammock Preserve: Morning Hike for Birders

It's an all-avian hike along a secluded wetland and river.  Birders be sure to bring your binoculars, scopes, field guides, and checklists! This preserve, adjacent to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, boasts a rich variety of resident and migratory birdlife attracted to the water’s bountiful food supply. This hike is sure to impress any avid birder.

 

Friday, April 5th – 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Guided Kayak Tour Along Ten Mile Creek

It's Earth Month! Let's celebrate by doing a little sprucing up along our riverway. Often we find bottles and fishing gear along our route. These are more than eyesores and environmental hazards, but you can help. We'll provide the kayaks, paddles, life jackets, grabbers, and mesh bags (you may also bring your own equipment if desired). Please bring your own gloves; we have a small and limited supply for those who cannot provide their own. 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) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Saturday, April 6th – 8:00 am to 10:00 am

George LeStrange Preserve: Beautiful Morning Fitness Hike

Enjoy beautiful vistas while getting back on track with your New Year’s fitness resolutions. This early hike will tour participants around George LeStrange Preserve’s scenic lake.

 

Saturday, April 6th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Indrio Savannahs Preserve: Firefly Bioluminescence Night Hike

Fireflies have enchanted humans since the beginning of time, and this is the season to enjoy their flashes of light in the twilight hours of the early evening.  Experience nature’s own twinkling lights in the air and on the ground.

 

Sunday, April 7th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Herman’s Bay Beachside: What’s in a Shell Hike

The beach is a wonderful place to experience some of nature's most beautiful and fascinating art masterpieces…seashells.  Find out how these unique shells are made, what creatures utilize them, and much more on this beachcombing excursion.  Enjoy a 1- to 2-mile walk along the beach in sunbathed sugar sand.

 

Monday, April 8th – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Morning Kayak Excursion

What better way to start your week than on the 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 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) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Wednesday, April 10th –11:30 am to 1:30 pm

George LeStrange Preserve: Gopher Tortoise Awareness Hike

Can you “Dig it?” Well, the dynamic Gopher Tortoise definitely can! Celebrate this burrow-building mastermind on “Gopher Tortoise Awareness Day” with a beautiful hike around their home turf.  Along the way, we’ll learn about their keystone status in the environment, human/tortoise interactions, and what we can do to help conserve this species. 

 

Saturday, April 13th – 7:30 am to 9:30 am

Sheraton Scrub Preserve: Special Birds of the Scrub Hike

Enjoy the chance to look for a very special avian resident, the Florida Scrub Jay.  This site features uplands adjacent to a small lake allowing visitors to see a wide variety of resident and migratory bird species that utilize this unique ecosystem.  We’ll be exploring the trails to look and listen for the presence of birds and other wildlife while enjoying the seasonal flowers that are adapted to an upland environment.

 

Tuesday, April 16th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Spruce Bluff Preserve: Ethnobotany Hike

Indigenous people of Florida had many uses for plant resources. This beautiful preserve exhibits some of the essential plants early Native Americans utilized for food, shelter, medicine, clothing, and cooking utensils.

 

Friday, April 19th – 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Ancient Oaks Preserve: Becoming a Preserve Pal Program & Hike

Get involved in one of St. Lucie County’s newest citizen engagement opportunities! During this interactive hike, participants will learn about the Environmental Resources Department’s “Preserve Pal Program” and how it invites local residents, neighborhoods, schools, and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to take stewardship of the natural areas that surround them. This program is appropriate for ages 13 & up.

 

Sunday, April 21st – 8:30 am to 10:30 am

Oxbow Eco-Center Preserve: Honoring Earth Day Hike

Be a part of the action this Earth Day by taking a "care" hike the day before! Creatures big and small make this preserve their whole world, so we'll show them some love by removing any refuse we encounter as we hike together to look for seasonal wildflowers, tracks, scat, and birdsong. Gloves and trash bags provided.

 

Tuesday, April 23rd – 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Ancient Oaks Preserve: Symbiotic Relationships Hike

Most, if not all, organisms have a symbiotic relationship with another. We will explore these interesting relationships as we hike through the forest, looking to see how many symbionts we can discover.

 

Wednesday, April 24th – 9:30 am to 12:00 pm

Ten Mile Creek Preserve: Local History Kayak Excursion

Join us on an adventure to learn more about the early way of life here on what we now know as the Treasure Coast. From plant uses to food sources, this kayak tour will surprise you around every bend of Ten Mile Creek.  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) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Friday, April 26th – 7:00 am to 8:30 am

Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: Dawn Chorus Birdsong Stroll

Why do "songbirds" sing?  There are lots of reasons for their special vocalizations. Be a part of the "Dawn Chorus” while enjoying the beautiful hues of the sun’s morning light.  It's an opportunity to hear the melodic songs of resident and migratory bird species along the banks of the St. Lucie River.

 

Saturday, April 27th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve: Homesteads, Citrus, and Seminole Wars Hike

Legend has it that the Third Seminole War started here, but did it?  Find out this site’s historic tale on a peaceful hike along the Indian River Lagoon through the remnants of a settler’s old homestead.

 

Sunday, April 28th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Spotting Butterflies Hike

Immerse yourself in the world of the world’s most beloved pollinator, the butterfly. As we hike through the shady tropical hammocks of Paleo Hammock, we’ll see butterflies which are not only beautiful but have one of the most important jobs in Florida’s ecosystem! Zebra Longwing butterflies, Long-tailed skippers, and many other pollinator species await your visit.

 

Tuesday, April 30th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Uplands near the Lagoon Hike

Explore this unique intracoastal habitat with mighty towering pines, dwarfed scrub oaks, and picture-perfect 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 May's Guided Nature Programs

Engaging Ecology Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve

Free Guided Nature Program

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.

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