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Fall in Love with Nature Thanks To St. Lucie County Guided Hikes

Fall in Love with Nature Thanks To St. Lucie County Guided Hikes

Fall in Love with Nature Thanks To St. Lucie County Guided Hikes

 

ST LUCIE COUNTY – Learn to fall in love with nature this February as St. Lucie County continues its free guided hike series. Provided by the Environmental Resources Department, this program provides socially-distanced, in-person hikes on weekdays, weekends and some evenings. This series is a fun and safe way to explore the local nature preserves.

Topics for the February hikes include:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 4:30 – 6 p.m.: Mangroves & The Indian River Lagoon Hike at Donald B Moore Heritage Preserve, 305 Torpey Road, Fort Pierce. The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in the Northern Hemisphere and is home to more than 4,300 species of plants and animals. Enjoy a leisurely hike as we make our way toward the lagoon and mangrove areas. Along the way, we’ll share what makes these areas unique and why they are critical to our life here in Florida.
  • Saturday, Feb. 6 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Leave Only Footprints at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. Leisurely hike through this unique and complex preserve. We will learn about the preserve’s different ecosystems and the wildlife that depends upon them. We will dive into the nitty-gritty of Leave No Trace and explore the many ways to leave only footprints in the natural places we all love.

  • Saturday, Feb. 6 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.: Afternoon Kayak River Adventure at Richard E. Becker Preserve, 3398 Selvitz Road, Fort Pierce. Explore the ins and outs of this preserve’s newly restored river oxbow. Enjoy the river’s peacefulness while learning to identify wildlife, trees and flowers along the way. 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 required.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.: Waterflow Hike at Ten Mile Creek Preserve, 3401 Gordy Road, Fort Pierce. Ever wonder where all that water goes after a hurricane or where our drinking water comes from? Discover the connections between the water and land on this hike that takes participants along the varied terrain of this beautiful riverine ecosystem.

 

  • Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.: Midweek Morning Hike for Birders at Jones Hammock Preserve/Platts Creek Mitigation Area, 3915 Sunrise Blvd., Fort Pierce. It’s an all-avian hike along a secluded wetland and river. Adjacent to the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, this preserve boasts rich resident and migratory birdlife attracted to the area’s bountiful food supply.

 

  • Friday, Feb. 12 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Ecotone Extravaganza Hike at Ancient Oaks Preserve / Weldon B. Lewis Park, 4650 Oleander Ave, Fort Pierce. Explore the world “in-between” to discover how these transitional areas or ecotones between two distinct habitats are some of the richest in terms of biodiversity. We’ll discuss the plants and animal species that utilize ecotones and the impacts of an “edge effect.”

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 13 from 9 to 11 a.m.: Florida’s Natural Corridors at Steven J. Fousek Preserve, 7793 State Hwy 613, Port St. Lucie. Hike through a gorgeous prairie hammock and learn about the importance of Florida’s natural corridors. We will discuss the large mammals, like the Florida Panther and White-tailed Deer, which depend upon large expanses of natural lands to survive and thrive.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.: Ultraviolet Night Hike at Citrus Hammock Preserve: 6511 SE Citrus Ave., Fort Pierce. Plants and small animals reveal an unusual ambiance at night, reflecting new views in blacklight. Light wavelengths or their absence help plants and animals “change clothes” from day and night in the ultraviolet.

 

  • Friday, Feb. 19 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.: Twilight Kayak Paddle at George LeStrange Preserve, 4913 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce. 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 and older. Kayaks, U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices and paddles provided (you may also bring your own 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 required.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 20 from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Dawn Chorus Birdsong Stroll at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve, 3100 S. 25th St., Fort Pierce. Enjoy the rising sun while being serenaded by the “dawn chorus,” courtesy of the area’s resident and migrant bird species. Seasonal flowers and pollinator activity are ideal during the morning’s milder temperatures.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.: Finding Wildlife Family Hike at the Oxbow Eco-Center, 5400 NE St. James Drive, Port St. Lucie. Learn the secret art of wildlife tracking by discovering evidence that animals leave behind. Scat, tracks, nests and dens are all clues that will intrigue the youngest of minds to explore nature and a great way to spend some valuable family time together. Appropriate for all ages, an adult must accompany minors.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 20 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.: Afternoon Kayak River Adventure at Richard E. Becker Preserve, 3398 Selvitz Road, Fort Pierce. Explore the ins and outs of this preserve’s newly restored river oxbow. Enjoy the river’s peacefulness while learning to identify wildlife, trees and flowers along the way. 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 required.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 20 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.: Evening Chorus Birdsong Stroll at Sweetwater Hammock Preserve: 3100 S. 25th St., Fort Pierce. Why do birds sing? Learn the reasons why birds make these special vocalizations. It’s an opportunity to hear the melodic songs of resident and migratory bird species along the St. Lucie River banks.

 

  • Sunday, Feb. 21 from 5 to 6 p.m.: Sunset Coastal Discovery Walk at Ocean Bay Preserve, 7600 South Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach. Secluded beaches, golden sunsets and a cool ocean breeze are the perfect way to end the day. Before the sun sets, walk with us as we discover how these beaches protect us from major storm events and what wildlife exists just offshore. Finish the evening sitting along the water’s edge, watching as the coastal environment transforms into night. Take a deep breath as you enjoy the last rays of light and celebrate the completion of another day.

 

  • Friday, Feb. 26 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.: Along the River & Wetland Walk at Ten Mile Creek Preserve, 3401 Gordy Road, Fort Pierce. Morning on the St. Lucie River banks reveals seasonal flowers, birdlife, tracks of nighttime visitors and the warming rays of the sun. Perfect with your cup of coffee and morning meditation.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 27 from 7 to 8:30 a.m.: Florida’s Coastal Gems Hike at Donald B. Moore Preserve, 305 Torpey Road, Fort Pierce. Meander the beautiful coastal hammock trail leading to the lagoon while learning about the importance of the Indian River Lagoon, its aquatic preserves, the spoil islands and the challenge of balancing recreation and protecting our coastal resources.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 27 from 9:30 a.m. to noon: Morning Kayak River Adventure at Richard E. Becker Preserve: 3398 Selvitz Road, Fort Pierce. Explore the ins and outs of this Preserve’s newly restored river oxbow. Enjoy the river’s peacefulness while learning to identify wildlife, trees, and flowers along the way. Appropriate for ages 12 and older. Kayaks, U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation devices, and paddles provided (you may also bring your equipment). 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 required.

 

  • Saturday, Feb. 27 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.: Full Moon Lake Hike at George LeStrange Preserve: 4911 Ralls Dr, Fort Pierce, Fort Pierce. Imagine a moonlit lake, a gentle breeze and the sounds of the night all around. Insects trill, owls hoot and critters scurry under the moon and stars of this scrubby upland and forested hammock.

For more information and to find the link for registration, please visit www.slchikes.org, call 772-462-2526 or emailslchikes@stlucieco.org.

Programs are usually limited to eight people. Based on current best practices, and because we cannot guarantee safe social distancing at all times during our hikes or paddles, masks must be worn to participate in one of St. Lucie County Environmental Resources Department’s Guided Nature Programs.

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.

 

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