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.
February 2019 Programs
Friday, February 15th – 8:00 am to 10:30 am
Ancient Oaks Preserve: Great Backyard Bird Count/ Birding Walk for Families
Ever wondered what birders do during the National Backyard Bird Count? Join us to learn basic birding and counting techniques as we hike to identify, count bird species, and record our sightings on field cards – this is an exciting citizen science event! The Treasure Coast is a hot destination for birders of all ages and knowledge levels. We'll explore one of the county’s avian hotspots by learning the basics about birding from an experienced naturalist. Please bring your binoculars if you have them. Appropriate for all ages, minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Saturday, February 16th – 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Dusk Wildlife Hike
Dusk is one of the best times to view wildlife. During this hike, we will actively search the preserve for the crepuscular and nocturnal animals that start their day at sunset.
Sunday, February 17th – 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Richard E. Becker Preserve: Riverside Hammock Exploration Hike
Explore paths along the river to find out which plants and animals have adapted to live in a typical riverine hammock habitat: one that is both swampy and wooded. Learn about some the adaptations of unique species that call these hammocks home.
Monday, February 18th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Ten Mile Creek Preserve: Headwaters of the St. Lucie Paddle Excursion
Explore the upper reaches of the North Fork as we watch the world wake up along the banks of the beautiful St. Lucie River. Enjoy a scenic paddle along the St. Lucie River, and travel back in time to Old Florida as we explore green riverbanks, birds, insects, and listen for Nature’s sounds. 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, February 22nd – 7:00 am to 10:00 am
Bluefield Ranch Preserve: Walking the Wilds Hike
The piney Flatwoods offers up a magical combination at sunrise: The Dawn Chorus of birds, crepuscular critters out and about, and dew on the seasonal wildflowers and grasses. This distance hike is for the hardy hiker with the endurance to traverse a wilder landscape.
Saturday, February 23rd – 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Indrio Savannahs Preserve: Crepuscular Creatures Dusk Hike
With spring just around the corner, this is a great time to look, listen, and feel the changes in the air during this nighttime adventure. We will be looking for the animals and birds that are adapted to wander in the cover of night. This is a rare opportunity to use the moonlight to illuminate who is out and about after dark.
Thursday, February 28th – 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 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. Kayaks, US Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and paddles are provided (you may also bring your own equipment if desired). Appropriate for ages 14 and up. The cost is $10 per person. No online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. RSVP a must!
March 2019 Programs
Friday, March 1st – 7:30 am to 9:30 am
Indian Hills Recreation Area: Discovering the Preserve at Indian Hills Hike
One of the newest preserves in St. Lucie County, it boasts a unique history, scenic pond and canal habitats all nestled in a beautiful Slash Pine savannah near the Indian River Lagoon. This is an opportunity for visitors to explore the site while learning how the site is managed in partnership between the City of Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County.
Friday, March 1st – 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Indrio Savannahs Preserve: Amazing Amphibians Night Hike
Discover the natural history of the native and non-native frogs of Florida, and participate in a fun hands-on activity that will help you learn some of their unique calls and adaptations. We’ll put our new skills to the test as we hike to wetlands where visitors can hear and possibly spy some amazing amphibians.
Sunday, March 3rd – 9:00 am to 10:30 am
D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Florida Trivia Hike
How much do you know about Florida? Participate in this engaging trivia quiz as we explore the preserve and learn about Florida’s natural history through fun facts. This peaceful site features towering pine trees, live oaks, seasonal wildflowers, and a quaint pond. Whether you’re a native of Florida or new to the area, this hike is for you.
Wednesday, March 6th – 9:30 am to 11:00 am
Ten Mile Creek Preserve: Walking Through a Watershed
Walk with us through the picturesque floodplain of the St. Lucie River where we'll discover the historical connections of this waterway and how it relates to the greater watershed that surrounds us.
Friday, March 8th – 8:30 am to 11:00 am
Richard E. Becker Preserve: All about Songbirds Seminar & Hike
Learn about the largest group of birds in Florida beginning with an indoor seminar at the Ecoheritage House located within this beautiful preserve. We’ll explore what makes a bird a member of this amazing group, learn about which “songbirds” are in Florida, and discuss resources – such as checklists and field guides – to help you find and identify these amazing birds. Then we'll venture outside to hike and listen for the “songbirds” we learned about in the seminar. A "2-for-1" class and hike experience!
Saturday, March 9th – 8:00 am to 10:00 am
Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Hiking Hackberry Hammock
This program is two fun hiking adventures in one! One of the County’s most beautiful hidden gems, Hackberry Hammock is only accessible to hikers through the Paleo Hammock parking area and trails. Explore deep into the preserve where gators sun themselves on canal banks and the wading birds abound.
Sunday, March 10th – 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve: Becoming a Preserve Pal Program & Hike
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.
Tuesday, March 12th – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
George LeStrange Preserve: Twice as Nice Fitness Hike
This beautiful lake-view hike is so nice; we’ll do it twice. Each trip around the lake is a mile in length and this fitness hike will ensure you get your steps in for the day. Along the way, we’ll spot the wildlife and wildflowers that call this preserve home.
Wednesday, March 13th – 7:30 am to 10:00 am
Jones Hammock Preserve: Morning Hike for Birders
It's an all-avian hike along a secluded wetland and river. Birders be sure to bring your binoculars, scopes, field guides, and checklists! This preserve, adjacent to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, boasts a rich variety of resident and migratory birdlife attracted to the water’s bountiful food supply. This hike is sure to impress any avid birder.
Saturday, March 16th – 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Sheraton Scrub Preserve: Ancient Clues Family Hike
Bring the whole family for a fun-filled hike through a rare scrub habitat. We’ll use the powers of investigation to unlock the secrets of this ancient place to answer the who, what, why, and where questions that help participants gain a whole new understanding of this small preserve. Bring binoculars or magnifying glasses to help spot these sneaky clues. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Sunday, March 17th – 7:00 am to 8:30 am
Walton Scrub Preserve: Sunrise in the Scrub Hike
Start St. Patrick's Day by hiking along the ancient and scenic coastal ridge. Participants will discover all things green hidden in this scrubby oasis that lies nestled between the Indian River and Savannas’ basin marsh. Walk as the suns golden rays bring the preserve to life.
Saturday, March 23rd – 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Indrio Savannahs Preserve: The Art of Tracking Hike
Each step taken by wildlife leaves a distinct impression and learning how to “read” these signs like a tracker of old will help you get a sneak peek into the day-to-day lives of each animal. We’ll look for tracks, scat, bones, fur, sheds, feathers, and whatever else we can find to determine what animals might be living at this wondrous preserve.
Saturday, March 23rd – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Firefly Bioluminescence Night Hike
Fireflies have enchanted humans since the beginning of time, and this is the season to enjoy their flashes of luminosity in the fading light of evening and into the night. Enjoy a nocturnal adventure to discover fireflies, night-flying birds, and all manner of creatures of the dark.
Sunday, March 24th – 7:00 am to 9:30 am
D.J. Wilcox Preserve: Early Bird Sunrise Fitness Hike
There’s no better way to start the day than to watch as the world wakes up around you. Watch a peaceful sunrise along a beautiful lagoon vista as we make our way through the shaded hammocks. Feel free to bring your camera, binoculars, or just enjoy the moment without extra technology on this 3-mile hike.
Saturday, March 30th – 7:30 am to 11:00 am
Steven J. Fousek Preserve: In Search of the Osceola Turkey Hike
Spring is mating season for the Florida Wild Turkey or Osceola Turkey and early morning is the best time to find them. Enjoy a morning hike through the pine Flatwoods for a chance see and to discuss how various calls locate this infamous avian.
Saturday, March 30th – 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Richard E. Becker Preserve: Guided Kayak Tour Along Ten Mile Creek
Escape from hectic daily life and paddle your cares away on this leisurely guided tour of the St. Lucie River. Wildlife sightings along Ten Mile Creek include barred owls, wood ducks, night herons, anhinga, alligators, turtles, and much more. Paddlers of all levels are welcome. Kayaks, U.S. 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!
Stay tuned for April's Guided Nature Programs