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.
November 2018 Programs
***Special Event- National Take a Hike Day “1 Day; 4 Preserves to Explore” ***
Saturday, November 17th – 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Hit the trails on the American Hiking Society’s annual “Take a Hike Day”. St Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department in partnership with the Health Department’s Billion Steps Program is proud to host an event that challenges St. Lucie residents and visitors to explore four of the County’s most beautiful preserves. You can select one, two, three or embrace the full challenge and attend all four hikes. This event is FREE and appropriate for ages 8 and up. Call (772) 462-2526
1) George LeStrange Preserve: 8:30am- 10:00 am
2) Oxbow Eco-Center Preserve: 10:30 am- 12:00 pm
3) Citrus Hammock Preserve: 1:30 pm- 2:30 pm
4) Ancient Oaks Preserve: 3:00pm- 4:30 pm
Fitness Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve
Sunday, November 18th – 9:00 am to 10:30 am
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. Participants should anticipate hiking approximately 2.75 miles.
Talking Turkey Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve
Friday, November 23rd – 9:00 am to 11:00 am
What better way to celebrate a thankful spirit than a walk through the woods, enjoying the tranquility of nature and delight in seeing wildlife and flowering plants. This hike will focus on the endemic Florida Turkey! Learn all about this fascinating bird, and impress your friends and family with your knowledge of this true Florida native while enjoying Thanksgiving this year!
Black Friday Full Moon Hike at Oxbow Eco-Center Preserve
Friday, November 23rd – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Tired of the Black Friday shopping stress and crowds? If your answer is a resounding yes, then take the opportunity to spoil yourself and get away from it all on an enchanted moonlit hike through the Oxbow forest. In the beautiful glow of the moon we’ll see what other animals are also relishing a quiet and peaceful night.
Full Moon Night Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve
Saturday, November 24th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Moonlight, critters, and woods, oh my! We’re looking for and listening to wildlife at dusk as the daylight transitions to the 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.
Becoming a Preserve Pal Program & Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve
Sunday, November 25th – 9:00 am to 10:30 am
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 13 & up.
Scrub Specialists Hike at Indrio Scrub Preserve
Friday, November 30th – 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Have you ever wondered how some animals could survive in some of the harshest environments? The scrub is much like a desert, and the creatures here have many adaptations for survival. Let us introduce you to a small and mighty preserve full of life on this short afternoon walk.
December 2018 Programs
Saturday, December 1st – 8:00 am to 10:30 am
George LeStrange Preserve: 4th Annual SLC Christmas Bird Count
This program is modeled after the Audubon Society’s yearly event and helps participants to learn basic count techniques. We’ll use our new found skills to assess the morning’s bird species present at this preserve. Members of St. Lucie Audubon Society will be on hand to answer questions about bird identification and birding in general. Hikers will complete an official bird checklist which will be submitted to the National Audubon Society! This is a great citizen science opportunity.
Friday, December 7th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Walton Scrub Preserve: Ultra-violet Vision: Colors Through Animal Eyes Night Hike
Humans have great eyesight, but other animals can see things we cannot. Find out more about how light waves are perceived by animal eyes, and learn 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, December 8th – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Queen’s Island Riverside Preserve: Plant ID & Beach Walk
Plants near the beach are tough and able to survive difficult and ever-changing conditions. Come to see these unique plants on a short plant identification hike on the riverside of the park. Afterwards, we’ll head to the beach in search of some of the mysterious marine treasures that have been washed ashore by the tides.
Saturday, December 8th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Bluefield Ranch Preserve: Nature’s Holiday Light Display Night Hike
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 starlight of the open sky.
Sunday, December 9th – 7:30 am to 9:30 am
Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve: Beach Tracks Morning Hike
Though sea turtles returned to the ocean for the season, many shore-dwelling animals are still very active. We’ll hunt for their biofacts and footprints as well as look to discover their secret hideaways. Along the way participants will investigate the wrack-line and see how different shells can be found scattered on the site’s beautiful beach.
Thursday, December 13th – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Queen’s Island Riverside Preserve: Shifting Sands Kayak Excursion
Discover the hidden 'inside passage' paddling trail in the Indian River Lagoon. We'll paddle a serene, quiet, little-used waterway a stone's throw 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 Coastguard approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring 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, 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.
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.
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
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!
Stay tuned for more January Guided Nature Programs
8:00 AMFire and Rain Hike
9:00 AMFire and Rain Hike
7:00 PMFull Moon Night Hike
3:30 PMScrub Specialists Hike