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Let St. Lucie County’s Guided Hikes Help You Spring Into Nature

Let St. Lucie County’s Guided Hikes Help You Spring Into Nature

 

  1. LUCIE COUNTY – If you haven’t experienced St. Lucie County’s more than 11,000 acres of nature preserves, don’t miss the Environmental Resources Department’s award-winning guided hike series.

Topics for the March hikes include:

  • Saturday, March 5 from 7 to 8:30 a.m.: Otter Madness Hike at DJ Wilcox Preserve, 300 Michigan St. in Fort Pierce. Did you know that we have river otters here in our Florida rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes and swamps? Come learn about these social animals on this early morning walk around a scenic pond and out to the Indian River Lagoon.
  • Saturday, March 5 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.: Leading the Pack at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road in 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.
  • Saturday, March 5 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.: Ultraviolet Night Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve, 7793 State Highway 613 in Port St. Lucie. 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 and night in the ultraviolet. Each site offers a different flora and fauna experience.
  • Sunday, March 6 from 8 to 10 a.m.: Nature Discovery Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve, 7793 State Highway 613 in Port St. Lucie. Enjoy the shade of oak, hickory, and elm trees while seeking the diverse flora and fauna of the hammocks. Birds and butterflies abound at this site. Other occasional wildlife species include deer, owls, feral pigs, otters and rabbits. Binoculars recommended.

  • Sunday, March 6 from 7 to 9 p.m.:  Ultraviolet Night Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve, 10809 South Indian River Drive, 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.
  • Friday, March 11 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Birders’ Excursion at Jones Hammock Preserve, 2002 Bell Ave. in 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 attracted to the site’s bountiful food supply is sure to impress.
  • Saturday, March 12 from 8 to 11 a.m.: Bring Your Lunch Long Hike at Bluefield Ranch Preserve, 10270 Bluefield Road in Port St. Lucie. Take a long hike in the preserve, after which you can enjoy your lunch in the picnic area.
  • Sunday, March 13 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Florida’s Forgotten Fauna at Steven J. Fousek Preserve, 7793 State Highway 613 in Port St. Lucie. Did you know Florida was once home to Giant Ground Sloths? Mastodons? Sabertooth cats? Join us as we discuss some of the large mammals that walked Florida during the last ice age. Our one-mile walk will make a few stops to discuss a few creatures that called Florida home in the Pleistocene epoch and also include a stop at the observation tower.
  • Tuesday, March 15 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Ides and Tides Kayak Trip at Richard E. Becker Preserve, 3398 Selvitz Road in Fort Pierce. Beware the Ides of March as we talk about the tidal river and why we time our trips to coincide with the tide and weather charts when kayaking. 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, March 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Firefly Bioluminescence Hike at Steven J. Fousek Preserve, 7793 State Highway 613 in Port St. Lucie. Fireflies have enchanted humans since the beginning of time, and this is the season to enjoy their flashes of light in the twilight hours of the early evening. Experience nature’s own twinkling lights in the air and on the ground. The habitat at each program site offers a new experience.
  • Saturday, March 19 from 2 to 4 p.m.: Intro to Disc Golf Hike at the Donald B. Moore Heritage Preserve, 305 Torpey Road in 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.
  • Saturday, March 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Firefly Bioluminescence Hike at the Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road in Fort Pierce. Fireflies have enchanted humans since the beginning of time and this is the season to enjoy their flashes of light in the twilight hours of the early evening. Experience nature’s own twinkling lights in the air and on the ground. The habitat at each program site offers a new experience.
  • Sunday, March 20 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.: Sunset Beach Stroll at Ocean Bay Preserve, 6851 S Ocean Drive in Jensen Beach. Sunset vistas off Florida’s Atlantic coastline promise scenic clouds and colorful, sunlit skies sliding into the ocean as day slides into twilight. Enjoy the ocean breeze and nature’s artistic palette.
  • Friday, March 25 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.: A Morning Hike with the Florida Scrub Jay at Sheraton Scrub Preserve, 2222 N 41st St. in 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.
  • Saturday, March 26 from 8 to 9:30 a.m.: Ancient Invertebrates Hike – Horseshoe Crabs at D.J. Wilcox Preserve, 300 Michigan St. in Fort Pierce. The Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) is a fascinating creature that has gone unchanged for millions of years. DJ Wilcox Preserve lying along the Indian River Lagoon is an estuary home to many aquatic animals including horseshoe crabs. Come learn about this “crab” species that isn’t a true crab, and how they’re a key to modern medicine.
  • Sunday, March 27 from 7 to 8:30 a.m.: Sunrise Stroll at Sheraton Scrub Preserve, 2222 N 41st St. in Fort Pierce. Enjoy a tranquil sunrise hike through a 56-acre preserve hosting scrub and scrubby flatwood communities. Sunrise is a fantastic time to take in the sounds of nature, as the morning stillness allows a symphony of bird songs to resonate. This preserve is home to the endemic Florida Scrub-Jay as well as our state bird, the Northern Mockingbird.
  • Sunday, March 27 from 9 to 11 a.m.:  Restoring a River Kayak Tour at Richard E. Becker Preserve, 3398 Selvitz Road in Fort Pierce. The St. Lucie River is a small, but significant waterway on Florida’s East Coast. Home to unique and rare species, this river is undergoing restoration efforts by local and state agencies.  We’ll discuss the river’s history, wildlife and ecology on this peaceful paddle. 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.
  • Sunday, March 27 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.: Family Hike at Indrio Scrub Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road in Fort Pierce. Enjoy a hike with your entire family on the coastal ridge in St. Lucie County.

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

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.

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