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.

  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!


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!


Stay tuned for February's Guided Nature Programs

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December 2018

Dec 2018

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