Guided Nature Programs

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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!


 

February 2020 Hike Programs

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

 

Saturday, February 22nd – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Phone Photography Hike at Indrio Scrub Preserve

Smartphones have made us the most photographed generations in history.  Get the most out of the camera you carry every day by trying all of its features on this hike.

Sunday, February 23rd – 9:30 am to 11:30 am

Wrack-line and Shell Hike at Herman’s Bay Beachside

Walk the wrack-line in search of strange and wonderful things that the changing tides have washed ashore! The beach is a wonderful place to experience some of Nature's most beautiful and fascinating masterpieces. Discover how shells are made, what creatures utilize them, and much more on this fun beachcombing excursion.

 

Wednesday, February 26th – 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Twilight Kayaking at George LeStrange Preserve

Glide gently through the water as we enjoy a flatwater paddle during Florida’s infamous “golden hour.” Take a moment to watch as the sky blends a series of red, yellow, and pink hues. As the sun sets, listen for the chorus of the frogs to come alive that will be our cue to paddle back. No experience necessary.  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!

 

Friday, February 28th – 8:00 am to 9:30 am

Welcome to Florida Hike at Ten Mile Creek Preserve

Whether you’re new to the area or just visiting, this hike is for you.  This small preserve shows just how different Florida can be from everywhere else.  Learn about habitats, restoration, archaeology, plants, and wildlife found along the headwaters of the St. Lucie River.

 

Saturday, February 29th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Leave No Trace Leap Year Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve

Ring in the “Leap Year” on a fun hike learning how to master the art of leaving no trace.  By looking at the intentional and unintentional changes human beings have made to the preserve, we truly learn how to leave nothing but footprints.

 

March 2020 Hike Programs

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

 

Monday, March 2nd – 10:00 am to 1:30 pm

The IRL- An Invaluable Resource - Kayak Tour at D.J. Wilcox to Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve

Enjoy a rigorous paddle along the banks of the Indian River Lagoon and across to one of SLC's many Spoil Islands. Learn about the special species that make this place home and why it's worth the effort to save! Bring plenty of water & a picnic lunch for the island. 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; $10 if you bring your own kayak. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Wednesday, March 4th – 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Take a Break Kayak Tour at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Take a break mid-week with a relaxing paddle on the North Fork of the St Lucie River. Enjoy the peace of our local aquatic preserve while learning to identify wildlife, 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; $10 if you bring your own kayak. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

  

Saturday, March 7th – 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Florida’s Ancient Dunes Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve

Explore Florida’s geologic past and gain a better understanding of our imperiled and ancient scrub ecosystem. Experience the flora and fauna that are uniquely adapted and living along Florida’s remnant ridges.

 

Saturday, March 7th – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Fireflies & Bioluminescence Night Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve

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.

 

Wednesday, March 11th- 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Shifting Sands Kayak Tour at Queen’s Island Riverside Preserve

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.  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; $10 if you bring your own kayak. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Saturday, March 14th – 7:30 am to 10:30 am

In Search of the "Red Head" Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve

The Red-headed Woodpecker and other birds thriving in expansive pine prairies and woodlands are getting harder to find. This "red-head" stronghold in St. Lucie County offers a chance to spy the almost metallic, crimson head of this woodpecker plus other woodland birds and seasonal wildflowers inhabiting this unique habitat.

 

Saturday, March 14th – 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Resolutions Fitness Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve

Remember those resolutions about getting in shape this year?  Keep up all your great fitness goals on this two-mile scenic hike--a great way to wrap up your day.

 

Sunday, March 15th – 8:00 am to 9:30 am

Fitness Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve

Enjoy the outdoors and get in shape at the same time by joining us on this moderately-paced fitness hike along the north and south trails of this hidden preserve. Participants should anticipate hiking approximately 2.75 miles.

  

Tuesday, March 17th – 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Sunset Coastal Discovery Walk at Ocean Bay Beachside 

Secluded beaches, golden sunsets, and a cool ocean breeze are the perfect way to end the day! 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 water’s edge watching as the coastal environment transforms into night. Take a deep breath as you enjoy the last rays of light and celebrate the completion of another day.    

 

Wednesday, March 18th – 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Spring Break Family Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve

Hiking with your family can be a wonderful bonding experience. Start hiking with some basic knowledge of how to hike safely and ethically in Florida’s ever-changing weather and what to do if or when you encounter the Preserve’s many interesting critters. Along the way, we will learn about some of the native plants on site including which ones to avoid. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up. An adult must accompany all minors.

 

Friday, March 20th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Ethnobotany Hike at Ten Mile Creek Preserve

Journey through this preserve filled with botanical wonders to discover how people throughout the area’s early history up until modern times have used various plants for their survival. Learn how different herbs, roots, flowering plants, grasses, and trees helped to create shelter, tools, food, and medicine for all.

 

Saturday, March 21st – 8:00 am to 11:00 am

Turkey Love Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve

Love is in the air...if you're a turkey, that is. Spring is mating season for Florida turkeys, and that provides an excellent opportunity for us to see and hear them as they look for love on the prairies of Hackberry Hammock.

 

Sunday, March 22nd – 8:30 am to 10:00 am

Air Plants & Epiphytes Hike at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve

Florida is home to a myriad of ferns, bromeliads, and orchids that live attached to tree branches, sometimes high in the canopy.  No soil required.  Enjoy a short walk and get to know a few of these botanical wonders.

 

Thursday, March 26th – 7:30 am to 10:30 am

Morning Hike for Birders at Jones Hammock/Platt’s Creek Preserves

It's an all-avian hike along a secluded wetland and river. Birders be sure to bring binoculars, scopes, field guides, and checklists. 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.

 

Saturday, March 28th – 8:00 am to 10:00 am

Leave Nothing but Footprints Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve

The combined effects of different outdoor recreationists can cause damage to protected lands if the proper etiquette is not followed. On this hike we’ll practice the principles of Leave No Trace that all nature enthusiasts should know.

 

Sunday, March 29th – 6:30 am to 8:00 am

Relaxing Sunrise Hike at D.J. Wilcox Preserve

Experience a leisurely walk along the lagoon as the sun rises and diurnal critters wake up around us. There is no better way to start the day than to watch a peaceful sunrise along a beautiful lagoon vista.

 

Sunday, March 29th – 8:30 am to 10:30 am

Exploring Nature Safely Hike at Donald B. Moore Preserve

Greet the warming weather with some good basic knowledge of how to hike safely and ethically in Florida’s ever-changing weather and what to do if or when you encounter the Preserve’s many interesting critters. Along the way, we will learn about some of the native plants on site including which ones to avoid.

 

Monday, March 30th – 8:30 am to 11:00 am

Learning to Bird Family Program & Hike at George LeStrange Preserve

Do you or your little ones like watching birds? Ever wanted to learn more about their incredibly cool adaptations? Here is your chance to study the birds during the hike and do some fun hands-on activities. Be sure to bring your binoculars if you have them. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up. An adult must accompany all minors.

 

April 2020 Hike Programs

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

 

Saturday, April 4th – 8:00 am to 10:30 am

North Fork Riverbank Hike at Oxbow Eco-Center

This preserve’s sprawling pine flatwoods gives way to the rugged trail of spoil hills and bridges nestled alongside the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. This adventure to the northern edge of the preserve provides participants with opportunities to see a wide variety of wildlife and ecosystems.

 

Saturday, April 4th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Fireflies & Bioluminescence Night Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

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.

 

Monday, April 6th – 9:30 am to 12:00 pm

Pre- Earth Day Kayak Clean Up at Ten Mile Creek Preserve

We will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this year by hopping aboard a kayak and helping out with a river clean up because everyday is Earth Day! Expect to get dirty on this adventure up Ten Mile Creek. Refuse grabbers & mesh bags will be provided. 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; $10 if you bring your own kayak. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

Thursday, April 9th – 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Full Moon Coastal & Coral Reef Walk at Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve

Explore the coastal environments by moonlight as we discuss the influence of the full moon on marine critters such as sea turtles, fish, and corals. Expect a leisurely stroll through the dunes before settling down on the beach for a relaxing discussion as we enjoy the moonlit ocean.

 

Friday, April 10th – 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm

In Search of the Gopher Tortoise Hike at George LeStrange Preserve

The “Landlord of the Uplands,” the Gopher Tortoise, grazes away in the late afternoons to avoid the heat of the day at noon. Our “peeping” journey explores evidence of tortoise movement through the preserve by looking for scat, tracks, and signs of burrow maintenance. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about what vegetation this beloved terrestrial reptile favors, what makes a good burrow location, and what makes these tortoises the “hosts with the most.”

 

Monday, April 13th – 8:00 am to 10:30 am

Off the Beaten Path Hike at Gordy Road Recreation Area

Start your week exploring the wild and beautiful nature trail hidden within this preserve. We’ll follow the trail as far as we can, taking advantage of the elevation changes as we follow the banks of  Ten Mile Creek.  Who says Florida is completely flat?

 

Wednesday, April 15th – 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Take a Break Kayak Tour at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Take a break mid-week with a relaxing paddle on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. Enjoy the peace of our local aquatic preserve while learning to identify wildlife, 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; $10 if you bring your own kayak. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

  

Thursday, April 16th– 6:30 am to 7:30 am

Sunrise Leave No Trace Nature Hike at DJ Wilcox Preserve

Immerse yourself in nature as we enjoy a quiet and relaxing morning hike through this beautiful preserve. Listen carefully as nearby wildlife begins to stir, signaling the start of their day. Don’t forget to take a deep breath and soak in the warmth of the sunrise. Throughout the 1-2 mile hike, we will discuss the local environment and how to minimize your impact while spending time in natural spaces.

 

Friday, April 17th – 7:00 am to 9:00 am

Discovering Indian Hills Preserve Hike at Indian Hills Recreation Area

One of the newer preserves in St. Lucie County, this site boasts a retention pond with great views and a Slash Pine savannah near the Indian River Lagoon. This is an opportunity for visitors to explore it by land, learn some of its natural and human history, and how the site is managed in partnership between the City of Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County.

 

Sunday, April 19th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Phone Photography Hike at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve

Learn to take full advantage of the powerful camera that you carry around in your pocket every day. This guided hike will focus on tips and tricks to improve your photography skills so you can capture and share all the natural beauty St. Lucie County has to offer.

 

Monday, April 20th– 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Twilight Kayak Excursion at George LeStrange Preserve

Glide gently through the water as we enjoy a flat water paddle during Florida’s infamous “golden hour.” Take a moment to watch as the sky blends a series of red, yellow, and pink hues. As the sun sets, listen for the chorus of the frogs to come alive--our cue to paddle back. No experience necessary. 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!

 

Wednesday, April 22nd – 7:30 am to 9:00 am

Coastal Cleanup & Beach Nourishment at Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve

Plastics and debris are more than just an eyesore; they actually have a detrimental impact on the environment. Celebrate Earth Day by participating in a cleanup through a coastal hammock environment while learning about some of the more practical conservation issues taking place in our backyard. If you have gloves and garbage bags, please feel free to bring them along. We will have limited supplies available for cleanup efforts.

 

Friday, April 24th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

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

Humans have great eyesight, but other animals can see things we cannot. Find out more about how light waves are perceived by animal eyes, learning about 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.

 

Saturday, April 25th – 8:00 am to 12:00 pm

Two for One Hiking Experience at Ten Mile Creek Preserve

Double the fun! Enjoy two preserves in one morning. Tucked away west of Fort Pierce, enjoy a hike from the secenic banks of Ten Mile Creek to the scrubby flatwoods of Gordy Road Recreation Area. See and experience how different these habitats can be!

 

Saturday, April 25th – 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Welcome to the Weekend Hike at Donald B. Moore Preserve

After a long workweek, why not join us on a refreshing hike in nature to recharge and rejuvenate?  This is a "fresh air & scenic views" active hike, with the emphasis on enjoying some of the benefits of St. Lucie County’s greenways, clean air, and brisk walking that is a great part of a healthy lifestyle.

 

Sunday, April 26th – 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Nature Detectives Family Hike at Indrio Scrub Preserve

Often we expect to see & hear lots of commotion when we go for a hike only to find a deafening silence. Sometimes we just need to take the time and have the right tools to see what nature has left behind as a clue. Come along as we explore this small preserve looking for all the signs of life.  All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Monday, April 27th – 6:30 am to 7:30 am

Sunrise Waterflow Walk at Oxbow Eco-Center

Water plays a critical role for life here in Florida. Meander along water-lined trails as we discuss the importance of water throughout Florida and how the different environments are all linked through these waterways. Be prepared for a 1-2 mile hike along varied terrain. After following the water on land, join us on a morning kayak excursion to finish the journey during the “Following the Water Kayak Excursion” that immediately follows this program (separate program registration required for paddle program).  

 

Monday, April 27th – 8:30 am to 10:30 am

Following the Water: Morning Kayak Excursion at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Glide gently through the water as we follow the journey of water through Florida’s waterways. Learn how these environments are interconnected and rely on one another. We suggest joining the “Sunrise Waterflow Walk” that preceeds this program (separate program registration required). No experience necessary. 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; $10 if you bring your own kayak. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!

 

 *** Please note that the Guided Nature Programs schedule is subject to change due to inclement weather, preserve management events and/or time & date modifications.  To confirm the program schedule, please visit www.slchikes.org or call (772) 462-2536. ***

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February 2020

Feb 2020

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