Guided Nature Programs

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jones hammock hike2 

St. Lucie County’ Environmental Resources Department (ERD) is proud to offer educational hike programs on its publicly owned lands. These programs are FREE, unless otherwise specified and open to the public.  Hike programs are usually limited to 20 people to allow participants to immerse themselves into the County’s beautiful wild areas, and reservations are required. Hikes target ages 12 and older, unless otherwise noted.  All minors must be accompanied by an adult.  We hope you’ll join us!

New this year, ERD is excited to offer four summer paddles that will immerse participants in the beauty of the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, the peacefulness of Ten Mile Creek, and along the biological rich waters of the Indian River Lagoon. Kayaks, U.S. Coastguard approved flotation devices, and paddles are provided (unless you would like to bring your own equipment).  Paddles programs are for ages 12 & up and all minors must be accompanied by an adult.  The cost is $15 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP is a must!


October 2019 Hike Programs

Click HERE to sign up for October's Guided Hike Programs

 

Saturday, October 19th – 8:30 am to 10:00 am

Hurricane Disaster Relief for Birds Hike at Ocean Bay Preserve

Learn about the post-Dorian conditions at this beach preserve, what is expected after a major storm, and how to help birds facing future Florida hurricanes. We relate beach and coastal hammock conditions to other peninsula habitats, preparing hikers to observe and assist local birdlife before, during, and after a habitat-altering storm.

 

Sunday, October 20th – 9:00 am to 11:30 am

The 2 for 1 Fitness Hike at Indrio Scrub & D.J. Wilcox Preserves  

We'll start by hiking a short loop around Indrio Scrub with an option to also walk the inner loop at D.J. Wilcox Preserve. Participants can participate in one or both portions of this adventure. The total length of this hike will be less than 3 miles.

 

Saturday, October 26th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

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

 Humans have excellent eyesight, but other animals can see things we cannot. Learn about light waves perceived by animal eyes and 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.

 

Monday, October 28th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Adventure into the Hidden Oxbows Kayak Tour at White City Park to Oxbow Preserve

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. 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 $15 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Thursday, October 31st – 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Spook-tacular Shapeshifters Night Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve

Nighttime sounds have both fascinated and scared humans over the ages. Animals rustling in the bushes and calling in the darkness will be our Halloween treat as we watch and listen for nocturnal wildlife activity at this fabulous preserve with an active pond. Calling birds, amphibians, insects, and mammals will greet us, revealing the site’s tricks and treats!

 

November 2019 Hike Programs

Click HERE to sign up for November's Guided Hike Programs

 

Saturday, November 2nd – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

L.N.T. Leave No Trace Ethics Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve

The combined effects of different outdoor recreation can cause damage to protected lands if visitors do not practice the proper etiquette. Learn principles nature good neighbors and enthusiasts should know. Leave a preserve better than when you found it by using the "one in, two out" philosophy.

 

Saturday, November 2nd – 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Hidden Waters Kayak Tour at Ten Mile Creek Preserve

Discover the tributaries of the St. Lucie River by kayak on this guided adventure along the upper reaches of Ten Mile Creek. Learn to identify numerous birds, trees, and flowers along the way.  Appropriate for ages 14 & up. Kayaks, US Coast Guard- approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired).  The cost is $15 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Friday, November 8th – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Crepuscular Critters Night Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

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

 

Saturday, November 9th – 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Life after Fire Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve

Last year two prescribed burns and one wildfire occurred at this large western preserve.  Experience the recovery process of the plants and animals that thrive in this post-fire ecosystem.

 

Sunday, November 10th – 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

In Search of the Gopher Tortoise at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

Explore the unique and imperiled Florida scrub as we go in search of the humble gopher tortoise.  Learn about the threats to this protected species and why conservation efforts are so vital.

 

Monday, November 11th – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Veteran’s Day Hike at Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve

Whether you’re new to the area or just visiting, this hike is for you. Hiking a riparian preserve showcases how different Florida can be from everywhere else. Learn about habitats, spoil berms, plants, and wildlife found along the headwaters of the St. Lucie River as a way to commemorate this historic day in American history.

 

Thursday, November 14th – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Mysterious Mushrooms & Lichens Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve

A stroll through this sandy high and dry preserve will reveal many of nature's tiny 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 get an up close and personal look.

 

Saturday, November 16th – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Tracking Turkeys Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve

Thanksgiving is near and wild turkeys are on the run! Explore the western reaches of Stephen J. Fousek Preserve/Hackberry Hammock in search of the strikingly beautiful Florida Osceola Turkeys that are protected within this site.

 

Friday, November 22nd – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Feathers, Beaks and Feet: Seminar & Hike at Donald B. Moore Preserve

Why do birds look so different from one another?  Are there environmental reasons, or are they just “pretty?”  We’ll explore variations in bird physiology and then venture outside to hike listening for Florida birds in hopes of identifying as many as possible.   This is a “2-for-1” experience!

 

Sunday, November 24th – 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Mysteries of the Manatee Paddle at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Cooler weather and lots of wildlife are the order of the day as water temperatures are cooling to spur the Florida Manatee’s migration inland toward warmer waters.  Join us as we try to catch a glimpse of Florida’s gentle giants and learn more about their plight.  Appropriate for ages 14 & up. Kayaks, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired). The cost is $15 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2526 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Saturday, November 30th – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Urban Green Space Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve

Wild spaces in urban areas are important for humans, wildlife, the environment, and maintaining the area’s history.  Amidst all the development, Spruce Bluff provides a haven that preserves all those things.

 

December 2019 Hike Programs

Click HERE to sign up for December's Guided Hike Programs

 

Friday, December 6th – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Intro to Backpacking Program & Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

Are you looking to meet new friends, like being immersed in nature and learning a new skill? Then this program is for you! Join us to learn how to pack for an overnight backpacking trip as well as tips and tricks to plan your own adventure. Afterward, enjoy a short hike to discuss Leave No Trace principles and navigation techniques. No experience is necessary; however, participants are encouraged to bring a backpack and any gear they may have. 

 

Saturday, December 7th – 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

St. Lucie County’s Annual Christmas Bird Count & Hike at George LeStrange Preserve

Ever wondered what citizen scientists do during the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count?  Join members of the St. Lucie County chapter of the National Audubon Society to learn basic birding and counting techniques!  We’ll hike to identify and count bird species and record our sightings on field cards for submission to St. Lucie County and the National Audubon Society – this is a great citizen science event! 

 

Sunday, December 8th – 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Early Morning Wildlife Hike at Stephen J. Fousek Preserve

Animals are active in the early morning.  Join this slow, quiet hike in search of deer, bobcat, and other animals as they begin the day or end their night.

 

Monday, December 9th – 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Monday Morning Paddle at Ten Mile Creek Preserve

Start your week off right and escape the hectic daily life and paddle your cares away on this leisurely guided tour of the St. Lucie River.  Paddlers of all levels are welcome. Wildlife sightings along Ten Mile Creek include barred owls, wood ducks, night herons, anhingas, and alligators. Appropriate for ages 14 & up. Kayaks, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired).  The cost is $15 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Tuesday, December 10th – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Biologicals Behaving Badly Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve

We will discover and discuss sneaky invaders on this very exotic hike. See what “bad guys” are now in Florida’s natural areas and how they can significantly impact the health of an ecosystem.  Find out what you can do to protect our environmentally sensitive lands from these invasive species.

 

Tuesday, December 10th – 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Moving Meditation Series (Trail Run) at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

Who says meditation has to be done while sitting! Our moving meditation trail run allows you to disconnect from the worries of everyday life while leading an active lifestyle in the outdoors. This activity is perfect for anyone capable of running at least one mile. And don’t worry, this is not a race! Decompress before the holidays on this 1 mile run and cool down hike! Everyone is welcome!

 

Friday, December 13th – 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Morning Hike for Birders at Jones Hammock Preserve

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

 

Friday, December 13th – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sunset Coastal Discovery Walk at Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve

Secluded beaches, golden sunsets, and a cool ocean breeze are the perfect way to end the day! Take a deep breath as you enjoy the sunset and the start of another evening. Before the sun sets, walk with us as we discover how these beaches protect us from major storm events and what wildlife exists just offshore. Finish the evening sitting along the waters edge watching as the coastal environment transforms.

 

Saturday, December 14th – 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

North Fork Riverbank Hike at Oxbow Eco-Center Preserve

Hike through pine flatwoods on the way to an adventure along a rugged trail of spoil hills and bridges.  This trip to the northern edge of the preserve provides participants with opportunities to see a wide variety of wildlife and ecosystems.

 

Sunday, December 15th – 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Managing Florida's Natural Resources Hike at Sheraton Scrub Preserve

Florida’s “paradise-like” climate supports exceptionally diverse plant life, wildlife, and ecosystems.  Land managers have to take a variety of approaches and use different techniques to help restore the wild areas back to their former glory which supports the abundance of species that call Florida home.  While we hike, we will discuss some of the natural resource management being conducted in St. Lucie County and why it is vital to maintain high biodiversity on our sites.

 

Wednesday, December 18th – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Holiday Air Plants Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve

Discover how the forest “decorates” the old growth oaks, pines, and cabbage palms for the holidays! Hikers will spot many of the air plant species that are found in St. Lucie County, as well as learn about their essential role in this peaceful "Old Florida" preserve and their unique adaptations that allow them to thrive airborne.

 

Saturday, December 21st – 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Prairie Hammock Wildlife Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve

Many birds and animals call the prairie tree islands of Teague Hammock home. From wetland birds to large mammals, many share these hammock island habitats and often leave behind evidence of their residence. We're on the search for various signs of life and seeing what creatures we can spot along the way.

 

Sunday, December 22nd – 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

What’s in a Hammock Hike at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve

Hint: it’s not what sailors sleep in! Experience a Florida hammock on the banks of the North Fork of the St. Lucie River as the early Spanish explorers or Ais and Seminole communities might have seen it. Along the way, we’ll see Florida’s state tree, the Sabal palm, as well as other hammock plant and animal life.

 

Friday, December 27th – 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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

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 the starlight of the open sky.

 

Saturday, December 28th – 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Natural Beauty Kayak Excursion at Richard E. Becker Preserve

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.  Appropriate for ages 14 & up. Kayaks, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired).  The cost is $15 per person.  No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Saturday, December 28th – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Ultra-Violet Adventure Night Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve

Frogs trill, owls lurk, and bats fly overhead! These night-time wonders await us in this piney wetland, which is as magical at night as it is during the day. Insects, spiders, and lichens will be highlighted with "new eyes" a UV-filtered light provides. The black-light helps us to understand how organisms fully use the light spectrum to communicate.

 

January 2020 Hike Programs

Click HERE to sign up for January's Guided Hike Programs

 

Wednesday, January 1st – 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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

Ring in 2020 with a hike to immerse yourself in the relaxing benefits of nature! Whether you are an early bird or need to rest after some of the festivities, we have a fun hike for you.  Join us for a leisurely stroll through a preserve featuring towering pine trees, live oaks, seasonal scrub wildflowers, and an excellent opportunity to view various bird species.

Lazy Afternoon River Paddle

St. Lucie County's Guided Nature Paddle Program

Sunday, July 21st – 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Richard E. Becker Preserve: Lazy Afternoon River Paddle

Explore the upper reaches of the St. Lucie River on this relaxing afternoon paddling excursion and watch the wonders of nature as dusk falls.  

This trip is appropriate for ages 12 & 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 $15 per person. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 or email slchikes@stlucieco.org to reserve your space. RSVP a must!
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