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. 

 


 

April 2019 Programs

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

 

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.

 

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!

 

May & June 2019 Programs

Click HERE to sign up for May & June's Guided Nature Programs

  

Friday, May 3rd – 7:30 am to 9:30 am

Gordy Road Recreation Area: “Plants of the Air” Hike

Florida is home to a myriad of plants which don't live on the ground but up in the canopy...no soil required. Which plants live in the canopy, and how do they do it? What are they called, and are they parasitic, symbiont, or just cuddly neighbors? Are air plants and epiphytes the same thing? Features hands-on with live plants.

 

Saturday, May 4th – 7:00 am to 8:30 am

Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: Morning Hike Along the River

Get an early start to the weekend by taking a hike to the banks of the St. Lucie River. Enjoy an eye-opening walk among the live oaks and cabbage palms in this beautiful preserve as the world awakens around you.

 

Monday, May 6th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

White City Park: Kayak Tour from White City

Paddle with us down the St. Lucie River towards Oxbow Eco-Center while taking in the breathtaking sights and sounds of nature! Kayaks, U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your 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, May 10th – 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: Twilight Chorus Hike

The twilight chorus of bird calls awaits us in the evening as the sun begins to set. This is the time when diurnal birds are foraging their last meals of the day, communicating, and readying for nightfall. A leisurely hike in this riparian preserve allows us to watch and listen for them.

 

Saturday, May 11th – 7:00 am to 9:30 am

Spruce Bluff Preserve: Early Bird Hike

Are you new to bird watching or just want to try some new birding techniques? This tutorial and hike are for you!  Learn about the equipment you can use, the best time of day and year for viewing, and other considerations which will help you become a more experienced birder.

                                                                          

Wednesday, May 15th – 9:30 am to 12:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Up the River Kayak Tour

Most tours take us down the river, but this tour will take us up river by George LeStrange Preserve and through a stretch of waterway with little development. Numerous bird species will be seen and if you're lucky, an alligator! Kayaks, U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your 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, May 17th – 7:30 am to 9:30 am

Citrus Hammock Preserve: Welcome to the Weekend Serenity Stroll

If you enjoy 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.

 

Sunday, May 19th – 6:15 am to 7:30 am

Ocean Bay Preserve: Part 1: Sunrise Beach Hike

This two-part hiking experience can be done together or separately! There’s no better way to start the day than to watch as the world wakes up around you. Take a tour through the sandy dune habitats as we make our way to watch a peaceful sunrise along beautiful ocean vistas. Feel free to bring your camera, binoculars, or just enjoy the moment without extra technology.

 

Sunday, May 19th – 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

George LeStrange Preserve: Part 2: Sunset Lakeview Hike

This two-part hiking experience can be done together or separately! 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 changes around you. Feel free to bring your camera, binoculars, or just enjoy the moment without extra technology.

 

Saturday, May 25th – 7:00 am to 9:00 am &

Sunday, June 2nd – 7:00 am to 9:00 am

Ocean Bay Beachside: Turtle Tracks Beach Excursion

Spend a morning at the beach looking for sea turtle tracks from visitations during the preceding hours.  Discover which species of sea turtles have been visiting St. Lucie County’s beaches, how to identify their track patterns, learn about their conservation history, and how these much-beloved reptiles can benefit from the community’s helping hands.

 

Friday, May 31st – 7:00 am to 9:00 am

George LeStrange Preserve: The Dawn Chorus Hike

Enjoy the rising sun while being serenaded by the “dawn chorus,” courtesy of the area’s resident and migrant bird species.  Seasonal flowers and pollinator activity that abounds during the early part of each new day.

 

***SPECIAL End of Season Event***

Saturday, June 1st – 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve: Hiking 101

Celebrate National Trails Day on an exceptionally beautiful St. Lucie County trail. Learn the ins and outs of hiking, proper trail etiquette, and cool tools that make your trek even more enjoyable. As we hike, we’ll be picking up refuse and learning about Leave-No-Trace principles.

 

Firefly Bioluminescence Night Hike

FREE Guided Nature Program

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.

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