New Guided Hikes for November Are Available in St. Lucie County
- LUCIE COUNTY – Florida winters are perfect for hiking, as St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department continues offering guided hikes through May.
These programs are free and open to the public; however, reservations are required as space is limited. Hikes for November include:
Howl at the Moon Hike
- Saturday, Nov. 4 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.: Howl at the Moon Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve, 7601 VPI Grove Road, Fort Pierce. Enjoy a wild night out and watch the moon rise over this preserve’s timeless “prairie” hammocks. At this time of the evening, participants may get the opportunity to encounter various secretive nocturnal animals such as opossums, fireflies, nighthawks and raccoons. Be sure to bring your flashlights and an adventurous spirit.
Meet the Early Bird Hike
- Friday, Nov. 10 from 7 to 9 a.m.: Meet the Early Bird Hike at Indian Hills Recreation Area, 52 Savannah Road, Fort Pierce. Before work or the start of your busy day, take the opportunity to be serenaded by a sunrise “dawn chorus,” courtesy of the area’s resident and migrant song birds. We’ll be out early to spy on the feathered residents of this preserve, as well as explore the blooming plant life which sustains some of our favorite pollinators – butterflies. This is an opportunity to see and hear wildlife, to observe and identify butterflies, dragonflies and flowers…all during the morning’s milder temperatures.
Mysterious Lichens and Mushroom Hike
- Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 9 to 11 a.m.: Mysterious Lichens and Mushroom Hike at 10 Mile Creek Preserve, 3401 Gordy Road, Fort Pierce. 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 learning about their interactions with the natural world around them. Bring along your hand lens for an up-close and personal look.
Sunset Stroll Through the Woods Hike
Thursday, Nov. 16 from 5 – 6:30 p.m.: Sunset Stroll Through the Woods Hike at DJ Wilcox Preserve, 300 Michigan St., Fort Pierce.Enjoy a leisurely one mile walk through the preserve’s hammock as the sun sets, casting its golden hues upon the air plants hidden in the tree tops. Along the way, we will point out and discuss some of the other native hammock plants and learn how the area’s pioneering peoples would have used this part of the preserve as refuge in Florida’s extreme heat.
Hog Wild Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve
- Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 to 11 a.m.: Hog Wild Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve/Weldon B. Lewis Park, 4650 Oleander Ave., Fort Pierce. Pigs were introduced to Florida by Spanish explorers and early settlers. Over time these species escaped captivity becoming the feral hogs we see today. Throughout Florida these feral hogs are considered a nuisance species, causing major issues in imperiled habitats and ecosystems. During this hike, we will survey the damage done by feral hogs and learn about their behavior, adaptations and possible methods of control
Wise Owl Hike
- Saturday, Nov. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m.: Wise Owl Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve, 611 SE Dar Lane, Port St. Lucie. Owls rule the night at this preserve. The calls of resident Screech and Barred Owls will greet guests from overhead while the frog and cicada choruses serenade the group as we walk along the preserve’s marshes. This site, replete with a rich human and natural history, changes into an ethereal night-time world for us to explore and to help us gain a better understanding of the ecosystem and inhabitants.
Life Around a Pond Hike
- Sunday, Nov. 19 from 8 to 10 a.m.: Life Around a Pond Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve, 6511 South Citrus Ave., Fort Pierce. Around Halloween our fascination with ‘creepy creatures’ grows. This preserve’s retention pond is a hub of activity for wildlife, boasting all manner of critters swimming, flying, and walking. We’ll hike through the wooded trail along the tributaries of the St. Lucie River and around the pond taking in the antics of our feathered, scaly, slimy and possibly furry neighbors as well as the beauty of seasonal wildflowers.
Changing Beaches Family Hike and Beach Cleanup at Ocean Bay Preserve
- Monday, Nov. 20 from 9 to 11 p.m.: Changing Beaches Family Hike and Beach Cleanup at Ocean Bay Preserve, 7600 South Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach. Discover this beach’s sandy dunes and intricate beach ecology. Participants will get a chance to see the plants and wildlife that need these dune systems to survive. Along the way we’ll explore the exciting wrack line and find lots of treasures offered up by the sea. At the end of this adventure, guests get a chance to become an environmental steward by removing the man-made trash and restoring the beach’s pristine beauty.
Ancient Clues Family Hike
- Wednesday, Nov. 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Ancient Clues Family Hike at Sheraton Scrub Preserve, 2222 North 41st St., Fort Pierce. Bring the whole family for a fun-filled hike through a rare scrub habitat and use the powers of investigation to unlock the secrets of this ancient place, answer the who, what, why, and where questions that help give participants a whole new understanding of this small preserve. Bring binoculars or magnifying glasses to help spot these sneaky clues.
Thanksgiving Weekend Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve.
- Sunday, Nov. 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Thanksgiving Weekend Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. After the family gathering, visit wild neighbors in an extended thanksgiving celebration. This hike provides an opportunity to look for a very special avian resident, the Florida Scrub Jay. We’ll explore trails to look and listen for the presence of birds, Eastern Gopher Tortoise, bobcat, alligator and other wildlife while enjoying the seasonal flowers adapted to an upland environment.
Programs are usually limited to 15 people helping to allow participants to immerse themselves into the county’s beautiful natural areas. Programs target ages 12 and older unless otherwise noted. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. Proper footwear and water are required for all programs, and please leave pets at home.
Purchased through a voter-approved bond referendum, St. Lucie County manages more than two dozen preserves that are open to the public for passive recreation. For more information about St. Lucie County’s Environmentally Significant Lands visit: www.stlucieco.gov/erd. For a list of all St. Lucie County parks and preserves visit the interactive map athttp://gis.stlucieco.gov/parkspreserves.