Fall in Love with Nature Thanks to St. Lucie County’s Guided Hikes
ST LUCIE COUNTY – Let St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources help you fall in love with nature on a guided hike this February. This award-winning series offers a chance to re-connect with the great outdoors and experience different native Florida habitats that can be found in your own backyard.
Topics for the February’s hikes include:
- Friday, Feb. 4 from 6 to 8:30 a.m.: Ultraviolet Night Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve, 6511 SE Citrus Ave., Fort Pierce. Plants and small animals reveal unusual ambience at night, reflecting new views in black-light. Light wavelengths or the absence of them helps plants and animals “change clothes” from day to night in the ultraviolet spectrum. Each site offers a different flora and fauna experience.
- Saturday, Feb. 5 from 7:30 to 9 a.m.: Fun Fit Morning Hike at George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce. Rise and shine for this fun fitness walk. We will pick up the pace for this hike to get our exercise and our steps in for the day while enjoying this beautiful preserve. We will discuss Leave No Trace techniques, the preserve habitats and the variety of wildlife while venturing around the lake along the river trail.
- Sunday, Feb. 6 from 10 to 11 a.m.: Phone Photography Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. Smartphones have made us the most photographed generation in history. Get the most out of the camera you carry every day by trying all of its features on this hike.
- Sunday, Feb. 6 from 3 to 5 p.m.: Historic Bluefield Ranch Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve, 3051 Bluefield Road, Port St. Lucie. What do the Seminole Wars, cowboys, polo and moonshine have in common? Answer: Bluefield Ranch. Experience the scrub habitat and history of the largest preserve in St. Lucie County.
- Friday, Feb. 11 from 7:30 to 10 a.m.: A Morning with the Florida Scrub Jay Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. Endemic birds found in Florida, but nowhere else, these charismatic, cobalt blue corvids steal the hearts of their admirers. Learn about this listed species, its habitat and the conservation planning to ensure they have a future in St. Lucie County for the next generation of Floridians. Find out why this site is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.
- Saturday, Feb. 12 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.: Leading the Pack Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve: 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. Did you know that coyotes can be found in all of Florida’s 67 counties? Come learn about the mysterious and shy canine and its important role in our Florida ecosystems while meandering through the pines and marshes of this beautiful preserve.
- Sunday, Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon: For the Love of Our Lagoon Hike at Donald B. Moore Heritage Park, 305 Torpey Road, Fort Pierce. The Indian River Lagoon is a regional treasure with a watery wonderland of habitats and species. Come learn about the lagoon’s history and ecology as we hike to the observation tower.
- Sunday, Feb. 13 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Riverside Exploration Hike [preserve to be determined]. Riverine and hammock forest habitat on the St. Lucie River boast flowers, epiphytes, wildlife and beautiful views of a living aquatic habitat.
- Friday, Feb. 18 from 5:15 from 6:15 p.m.: Tortoise Trot Hike at George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce. Join us as we stomp on the trails of George LeStrange like our pal the Gopher Tortoise. We will make a couple stops on our one-mile walk around the lake to talk all things tortoise. We’ll focus on the conversation of our very important keystone species, the gopher tortoise. We cannot expect our special pal to make an appearance, but we can enjoy their wilderness home together and learn about this charismatic critter.
- Friday, Feb. 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Nocturnal Nature Hike [preserve to be determined]. Wildlife sounds and sights shift according to the movement of the sun and moon. Sounds change, as do the activities of various plants and animals. Stillness and insect choruses alternate with a view of night-blooming flowers.
- Saturday, Feb. 19 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.: Afternoon Escape Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve, 6511 SE Citrus Ave., Fort Pierce. Wind down your day with a refreshing afternoon hike. Green trails beside floodplain riverbank is ideal after a busy day transition into evening.
- Sunday, Feb. 20 from 9 to 11 a.m.: Disc Golf Experience at Lakewood Regional Park, 5990 Emerson Ave., Fort Pierce. Disc golf is one of the fastest-growing sports around the world. With six different disc golf courses in St. Lucie County, there is plenty of room for more players. Members of the Treasure Coast Disc Golf Club will provide an overview of the game including basic instruction, etiquette, equipment and area courses. Find out what makes this sport so appealing.
- Sunday, Feb. 20 form 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Coastal Ridge Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve, 10809 S. Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce. Enjoy a relaxing hike amongst the sun-kissed sands of an ancient dune system. These scrub habitats are a unique place where plants and animals have adapted to live in the harsh but beautiful environment.
- Sunday, Feb. 20 from 4 to 5:15 p.m.: Quiet Evening Stroll at Indrio Scrub Preserve, 5187 Old Dixie Highway, Fort Pierce. A scrubby upland forest filled with juniper, scrub hickory, wildflowers and wild grasses is a cozy and scenic hike, tucked away within this 13-acre site.
- Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 9 to 11 a.m.: George Washington & Me: Exploring the River at Richard E. Becker Preserve, 3398 Selvitz Road, Fort Pierce. George Washington and our kayak leader share a birthday and a love of exploring rivers. While the first President of the United States may have never got to Florida, other explorers did and we’ll learn about the history of the St. Lucie River and its importance to the diverse groups of people who have traveled here. Appropriate for ages 12 and older. Kayaks, U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices and paddles provided (you may also bring your equipment if desired). The cost is $15 per person; $10 if you bring your own kayak. No online registration; please call 772-462-2536 to reserve your space. Reservations are a must.
- Friday, Feb. 25 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Birders’ Excursion Hike at Jones Hammock Preserve, 2002 Bell Ave., Fort Pierce. It’s an all-avian hike along a secluded wetland and river at this preserve adjacent to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River. Prolific resident and migratory birdlife are attracted to the site’s bountiful food supply and is sure to impress.
- Saturday, Feb. 26 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Florida’s Wading Birds Hike at D.J. Wilcox Preserve, 300 Michigan St., Fort Pierce. Come learn about wading bird biology and nesting as you enjoy the sights and sounds of D.J. Wilcox Preserve. This preserve boasts one mile of interpretive trail and is home to flatwood, hammock and swamp habitats. Species discussed will include our native herons, egrets, spoonbills, and wood storks.
- Saturday, Feb. 26 from 5 to 6 p.m.: Wind Down Silent Sunset Hike at George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Drive, Fort Pierce. Sunset is a wonderful time to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty and silence is golden. In addition to the visual beauty of this habitat, we will also be appreciating the beauty of the sounds of nature with this hike being completely silent. Participants will be asked to refrain from talking during this one hour walking meditation through pine flatwoods and floodplain forest.
- Sunday, Feb. 27 from 8 to 9:30 a.m.: Wonderful World of Water Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. Wander with us through this 297-acre preserve as we discuss the wonderful world of water. Everything revolves around water, especially here in Florida. We will make stops on our walk to learn facts about this precious resource and its critical role in our world. Don’t forget your reusable bottle: This hike might make you thirsty.
Programs are usually limited to 15 people or less helping to allow participants to immerse themselves into the county’s beautiful natural areas. Based on current best practices, because we cannot guarantee safe social distancing at all times during our hikes or paddles, masks are encouraged.
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.stluciepreserves.com.