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!



December 2019 Hike Programs

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

 

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.

 

Friday, January 3rd - 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Serene Sounds KayakTour at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Enjoy the serene St. Lucie River by kayak on this guided adventure along our local aquatic preserve. Imagine life in old Florida as we leave the hustle and bustle of civilization and paddle quietly listening to the sounds of nature.   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, January 4th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Tracking 101 Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

Discover the wildlife around you in this tracking for beginners program.  It is often difficult to observe wildlife species in their natural habitat.  Participants will learn the tricks that hunters, naturalists, and biologists use to track, monitor, and gain information about these evasive critters. 

 

Sunday, January 5th – 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Intro to Nature Healing at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

Is there a benefit to spending time in nature? Doctors seem to think so! Come along as we explore the world of nature healing while enjoying a leisurely hike through our very own local preserve. Along the way, we’ll discuss the need for natural spaces and practice a few unique ways to dive deeper into these outdoor settings. 

 

Tuesday, January 7th – 7:00 am to 8:00 am

Moving Meditation Series (Trail Run) at D.J. Wilcox Preserve

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

 

Thursday, January 9th – 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Family Sunset Hike at Sheraton Scrub Preserve

As the scrub cools off in the evening and activity picks up, we’ll use our senses throughout the hike and then watch the moonrise and the setting sun from the Observation Platform. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up.  An adult must accompany all minors.

 

Friday, January 10th – 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Nocturnal Neighbors Night Hike at Steven J. Fousek Natural Area

Every preserve has a myriad of critters that are affected differently by light. We’ll watch and listen for owls, nighthawks, and all manner of plants and smaller critters with interesting nighttime colors under a naturalist’s black light.  Learn about how wavelengths of light have the power to render a plant or animal’s exterior different colors, and how nature can “change clothing” between day and night.

 

Saturday, January 11th – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Life after Fire Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve

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

 

Sunday, January 12 - 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Wild River Kayak Tour at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Discover the picturesque St. Lucie River by kayak on this guided adventure along our local aquatic preserve. 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!

 

Friday, January 17 - 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Morning Paddle Adventure at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Start your morning off on a guided kayak adventure, discovering wildlife, trees, and flowers along the North Fork. 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, January 18th – 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Hammocks Full of History Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve

Spend the late afternoon exploring and discovering why native peoples, cowboys, and farmers used islands of shady trees called hammocks that are elevated just a few inches above the surrounding wetlands.

 

Sunday, January 19th – 8:30 am to 10:00 am

Riparian Plants & Animals Hike at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Journey through one of the county’s newest preserves to explore plants and animals on this unique site. Enjoy a hilly trail created for hiking enjoyment, and views of the St. Lucie River. We’ll enjoy finding the flowering plants in the hammock and at the water’s edge.

Tuesday, January 21st – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Botany Basics Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve

Discover the adaptive ins and outs of plants in this immersive plant ID hike for botany beginners and enthusiasts.  This preserve offers an abundance of hammock trees, epiphytes, and lichens that participants will be able to see up close and personal.

 

Wednesday, January 22nd – 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 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!

 

Wednesday, January 22nd – 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Dusk Light Fitness Hike at Indian Hills Recreation Area & Preserve

Adventure outdoors and get in shape at the same time by joining us on this moderately paced fitness hike along the Preserve’s north lake and south trails. Participants should anticipate hiking approximately 1.5 miles.

 

Friday, January 24th – 6:30 am to 8:00 am

Sunrise Sensory Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

Immerse yourself in nature as we enjoy a quiet and relaxing morning hike through the varied landscapes of Indrio Savannahs Preserve. Listen closely 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. At the end of this 1-2 mile welcoming hike, we will discuss the sounds that we heard and the wildlife that we may have spotted along the way.

 

 Friday, January 24th – 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Ultra-Violet Adventure Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve

Immerse yourself in the ultra-violet ambiance given off by the preserve’s nighttime plant life and small creatures. Through the guidance of the Naturalist’s black light, learn about how wavelengths of light have the power to render a plant or animal’s exterior different colors, and how nature can “change clothing” from day and night.

 

Sunday, January 26th – 8:00 am to 9:30 am

Morning Light & Song Along the River Family Hike at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve

Slip on your walking shoes and bring the family out to listen to melodic bird songs, trilling insects, and the occasional splash of a fish in the St. Lucie River. We'll take our time to see and hear the world around us while we learn about the local ecology and discover the preserve’s air plants, wild flowers, and animals. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 8 & up.  An adult must accompany all minors.

 

Wednesday, January 29th – 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Twilight Stand Up Paddle Boarding 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 that will be our cue to paddle back. No experience necessary.  Appropriate for ages 14 & up. Stand up paddle boards, US Coast Gguard-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, January 31st - 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Wild River Kayak Tour at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Discover the picturesque St. Lucie River by kayak on this guided adventure along our local aquatic preserve. 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!

 

February 2020 Hike Programs

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

 

Saturday, February 1st – 8:00 am to 9:30 am

Historic Tree Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve

Majestic giants among us, Florida’s mature trees give us historic perspective when it comes to both natural and human history.   The “Three Sisters,” Slash Pines standing firm and tall through changes around them, will be our focus as we stroll through one of the county’s newer preserves featuring a small pond, a nature trail, and small meadow area.

 

Wednesday, February 5th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

People & the Land Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve

Learn how the earliest people and settlers in Florida utilized the abundant flora and fauna to build shelter, find food, and make clothing as we hike through a variety of habitats on our way to an ancient Indian Mound.

 

Saturday, February 8th- 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Morning River Paddle at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Explore the upper reaches of the North Fork on this morning paddling excursion.  Watch as the world wakes up along the banks of the beautiful St. Lucie River.  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, February 8th- 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Afternoon River Paddle at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Join us for a relaxing paddle along the North Fork of the St Lucie River.  We'll focus on Water Management 101 and how the North Fork and our SLC Preserves contribute to the water management system of Southeast Florida. 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, February 8th – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Full Moon Night Hike at Steven J. Fousek Natural Area

Moonlight, critters, and woods, oh my!  We’ll be 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.

 

Sunday, February 9th – 9:00 am to 10:30 am

Indian River Lagoon Hike at Queen’s Island Beachside Preserve

The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in the world. Enjoy a leisurely stroll in this sandy coastal upland habitat just yards from the Indian River Lagoon and discover the richness that this unique system offers.

 

Monday, February 10th – 9:00 am to 11:00 am

Don’t Tread on Me Hike at Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve

Having the right “tools” can help you to interact with conservation green spaces responsibly.  Unknowingly, the combined activities of outdoor recreationists can negatively impact protected lands if proper etiquette is not observed.  Learn about the principals of Leave No Trace, something that all nature enthusiasts should know and pass on to our future land stewards! 

 

Tuesday, February 11th – 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Moving Meditation Series (Trail Run) at Oxbow Eco-Center Preserve

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

 

Wednesday, February 12th- 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Wild Waterways Paddle at Richard E. Becker Preserve

Join us for a  paddle along the North Fork of the St Lucie River.  We'll  discuss the historic actions that changed and tamed our waterways, the impact of development, and--more importantly--the efforts to bring some of them back to their natural state.  We’ll paddle past one of the county’s natural water treatment areas to get an up close look at how conservation and preservation efforts impact and enhance our waterways.  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, February 15th – 7:00 am to 10:00 am

"Back 40" Endurance Hike at George LeStrange Preserve

Just yards from the St. Lucie River lies a cool ecosystem that hosts specialized native plants and animals, but this area is also threatened by invasive and exotic species. As we explore, we will discuss the impacts of invasive species and look for several native scrub oaks, seasonal wildflowers, and animals found within this dry and sandy land that is so near the life-giving waters of the river. 

Saturday, February 15th – 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Sunset Scrub Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve

Take in the beautiful hues of the setting sun, scenic vistas, and wide-open skies surrounding Bluefield’s unique scrub habitat as the day comes to a close on this hike.

 

Sunday, February 16th – 8:30 am to 10:30 am

What Makes an Invasive Species Plant Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve/Weldon B. Lewis Park

It’s confusing – are “invasive” and “exotic” the same term? What makes an organism native or non-native? Are there other categories? Join us for a hike through a transitioning habitat to learn about Florida’s native plants and other species we commonly see which are not.  Expect some surprise discoveries!

 

Wednesday, February 19th – 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Habitat Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve

We will visit as many sections of this preserve as time allows and learn about the many plants and animals that make their home here. Expect to see a long list of bird species as well as many wonderful flowering plants. Be sure to bring your binoculars.

 

Wednesday, February 19th- 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm

To the Bat Bridge! Paddle at Richard E. Becker Preserve

We'll head downriver to the 25th Street bridge to spy some of our furry flying friends.  It may be too early to see them but we'll definitely hear them before enjoying a leisurely paddle back. 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/Saturday, February 21-22nd – 3:00 pm to 11:00 am

Backpacking 101 (Overnight) at Bluefield Ranch Preserve

Looking to meet new friends and be immersed in nature while learning a new skill? Join us as we venture through Bluefield Ranch for an overnight intro to backpacking experience. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about backpacking as well as tips and tricks to plan your own adventure! No experience is necessary, however, participants will be required to have basic camping gear (backpack, tent, sleeping bag) and to carry their own gear for roughly 3-5 miles. This program is FREE, however there is NO online registration, please call (772) 462-2536 to reserve your space. Space is limited, RSVP a must!

 

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.

 

 

*** 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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August 2019

Aug 2019

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