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 up 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.
January 2018 Programs
Thursday, January 18th, 2018; 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: Morning Light & Song along the River Hike
Slip on your walking shoes and bring the family out to listen to melodic bird songs, trilling insects, the occasional splash of a fish in the St. Lucie River. We'll take our time to see and hear the environment around while we learn about the local ecology and discover a world of air plants, wild flowers and animals.
Sunday, January 21st, 2018; 9:00 am to 10:30 am
Queen’s Island Beachside: What’s in a Shell Hike
The beach is a wonderful place to experience some of Nature most beautiful and fascinating art masterpieces…seashells. Find out how these unique shells are made, what creatures utilize them and much more on this beachcombing excursion. Enjoy a 1 to 2-mile walk along the beach in sunbathed sugar sand.
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018; 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Ten Mile Creek Preserve: Mysterious Lichens & Mushrooms 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 learning about their interactions with the natural world around them. Bring along your hand lens for a get an up close and personal look.
Wednesday, January 24th, 2018; 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Richard E. Becker Preserve: Signs of Life Hike
Discover this preserve’s secretive wildlife and hidden plant as we search for the tell-tale signs of their presence. The signs of life can be found all around us and this 1-mile hike around the lake will help you hone your spotting skills.
Friday, January 26th, 2018; 8:00 am to 10:00 am
St. Lucie Village Heritage Preserve: Life Around the Lagoon’s Edge Hike
The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in the world, but what about the plants and animals that live beside this important waterbody? Explore the unique habitats along this wooded shoreline to gage the abundance levels of the flora and fauna that can be found there and their relationship with the IRL.
Sunday, January 28th, 2018; 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Pinelands Preserve: Fitness Hike
Adventure through a beautiful pineland habitat, as we enjoy a brisk-paced fitness walk. Along the way you might break a sweat while gaining a new appreciation for nature. This 7-mile loop takes you to every corner of the preserve so we'll have a great chance to experience some of nature’s raw beauty.
Wednesday, January 31st, 2018; 7:30 am to 9:30 am
Jones Hammock Preserve: Midweek 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 rich resident and migratory birdlife which are attracted to the river’s bountiful food supply. This hike is sure to impress any avid birder.
February 2018 Programs
Friday, February 2nd, 2018; 7:30 am to 8:30 am
Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: Dawn Chorus Birdsong Stroll
Why do "songbirds" sing? There are lots of reasons for these special vocalizations. Be a part of the "Dawn Chorus” while enjoying the beautiful hues of the sun’s morning light. It's an opportunity to hear the melodic songs of resident and migratory bird species along the banks of the St. Lucie River.
Saturday, February 3rd, 2018; 8:00 am to 11:30 am
Bluefield Ranch Preserve: 5k or 10k Fitness Hike
Bluefield Ranch Preserve features everything from scrub to wetlands and some of the longest hiking trails in St. Lucie County. With a choice of either a 5k hike through scrub, or a longer 10k hike to wetlands, you can choose the distance that best suits you and your fitness level.
Sunday, February 4th, 2018; 9:00 am to 10:30 am
Gordy Road Recreation Area: Florida Natural History Hike
Start from the bottom up! The natural history of Florida begins with its formation. Learn 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.
Wednesday, February 7th, 2018; 9:00 am to 11:30 am
Indrio Savannahs Preserve: What’s Blooming Hike
Although our Northern friends don’t get to experience flowers blooming in February, here in Florida our warmer climate offers the chance to partake in the beauty of year-round blooms. We'll hike over 3 miles on this walk so be prepared. We’ll see a number of unique species found within this wonderful preserve.
Thursday, February 8th, 2018; 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
George LeStrange Preserve: In Search of the Gopher Tortoise Hike
The Landlord of the Uplands, the Eastern Gopher Tortoise, grazes away in the late afternoons to avoid the heat of the day at noon. Along our journey we’ll explore the evidence of tortoise movement throughout the preserve. We’ll look for scat, tracks, and signs of burrow maintenance. This hike affords visitors an opportunity to learn about vegetation favored by this beloved terrestrial reptile, what makes for a good burrow location, and what makes these tortoises the “hosts with the most.”
Saturday, February 10th, 2018; 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Steven J. Fousek (Paleo Hammock) Preserve: Full Moon Night Hike
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.
Sunday, February 11th, 2018; 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: What’s a Hammock? Hike
Here’s a hint, it’s not what sailors sleep in. Experience a hammock residing on the banks of the North Fork of the Saint Lucie River as the early Spanish explorers might have seen them. Along the way we’ll see Florida’s state tree, the Sabal palm as well as other hammock plant life.
Monday, February 12th, 2018; 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Ocean Bay Beachside Preserve: Changing Beaches Family Hike & Beach Clean-up
Join us to see how the beach and life around it has changed month to month. As we walk the sandy shore we’ll explore the exciting wrack line and find the treasures offered up by the sea. At the end of this monthly adventure, you’ll get a chance to become an environmental steward by removing the man-made trash and restoring the beach’s pristine beauty. All are welcome but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 & up. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Friday, February 16th, 2018; 8:30 am to 11:00 am
Richard E. Becker Preserve: Songbird 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, February 17th, 2018; 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Walton Scrub Preserve: Ultra-Violet Adventure Night Hike
Immerse yourself in the ultra-violet ambiance given off by the preserve’s nighttime plant-life and small creatures. With the help of your Guide’s black-light, we’ll 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, February 18th, 2018; 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: Pollen Loving Insects Family Hike
Pollen and nectar make the world go-around for many tiny critters. Together we’ll search for some of nature’s most important bugs and discover some of the cool and fun facts about these pint-sized heroes. This small preserve offers a short 1/4-mile trail which is great for kids.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, February 18th, 2018; 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
George LeStrange Preserve: Sunset Nature Photography Hike
Capture a beautiful moment in time during this guided nature photography hike. We'll begin by hiking the trail along the creek to spy some of nature’s beauty. We’ll wrap up our adventure hoping to photograph one of this site’s renown sunsets. Be sure to bring your camera or smartphone.
Friday, February 23rd, 2018; 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Richard E. Becker Preserve: Kayak Adventure on the North Fork
Spend this late afternoon relaxing on the North Fork as we paddle south towards the St. Lucie River. Enjoy a great view of birds heading home to roost before the sunsets. We'll discuss some of the conservation issues facing the St. Lucie and what is being done to protect it.
Saturday, February 24th, 2018; 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Steven J. Fousek Preserve: Prairie Hammock Wildlife Hike
Many birds and animals call the prairie tree islands of Teague Hammock home. From wetland birds to large mammals, many share hammock island habitat and often leave behind evidence of their residence. Participants will be looking for the various signs of life and seeing which creatures we can spot along the way.
Sunday, February 25th, 2018; 8:30 am to 10:30 am
Citrus Hammock Preserve: What’s in the Pond Hike
The preserve’s retention pond is a hub of activity for wildlife, boasting all manner of critters swimming, flying, and walking! We’ll hike through wooded trails along the tributaries of the St. Lucie River and by the pond. Participants will get a chance to take in the antics of the local wildlife and enjoy the beauty of site’s seasonal wildflowers.
Please note Hike Leader phone numbers are private and may only be used to contact that individual during the hike time-frame. Thank you for your consideration.
11:00 AM3rd Annual New Year's Day Hike
9:00 AMTenacious Tillandsias Hike
9:00 AMWelcome to Florida Hike
8:30 AMFitness Hike
9:00 AMHomestead History Hike
9:00 AMWhat's in a Shell Hike
9:00 AMSigns of Life Hike
9:00 AMFitness Hike