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St. Lucie County Guided Nature Programs Return Nov. 11

St. Lucie County Guided Nature Programs Return Nov. 11

St. Lucie County Guided Nature Programs Return Nov. 11

St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department kicks off its Guided Nature Program series with educational hikes and paddle excursions, running Nov. 11 through the end of May.

Offered on week days, weekends and some evenings, the Guided Nature Program is a fun and safe way to explore the local preserves. Each program presents a new topic from local fauna, such as owls and bats, local history, native plants, tracking and scat identification, how to become an environmental steward, and almost everything in-between.

These programs are free, unless otherwise specified, open to the public, and reservations are required.

 Hikes for November include:

·       Friday, Nov. 11 from 5 – 7 p.m. – Nocturnal Neighbors Hike at George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce. Venture into the night-time world of the outdoors to enjoy a peaceful hike through this preserve in search of nocturnal creatures such as raptors bats, owls, frogs, fireflies and moths. Along the trail we will learn about animal adaptations, and sounds of the night. Participants may flashlights if desired, as long as a translucent, red film covers the lens. This serves to protect everyone’s night vision and wildlife during the hike.

Florida Scrub-Jay Hike

·       Sunday, Nov. 20 from 9 – 11 a.m. – Scrub Sentential: Florida Scrub-Jay Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. Scrub Jays are a species in decline. Come out and get an up close look at this incredible bird. Along the way participants will learn about the other species found in these endangered habitats that benefits from the protection of the endemic jay. Don’t forget your camera for great photo opportunities and discuss the importance of photographer ethics around endangered species.

·       Wednesday, Nov. 23 from 3 – 5 p.m.: Talking Turkey Hike at Pinelands Preserve, 7601 VPI Grove Road, Port St. Lucie. What better way to celebrate a thankful spirit than a walk through the woods, enjoying the tranquility of nature and delight in seeing wildlife and flowering plants. This hike will focus on the endemic Florida Turkey. Learn all about this fascinating bird, and impress your friends and family with your knowledge of this true Florida native while enjoying Thanksgiving this year.

Understanding Ecology Hike

·       Friday, Nov. 25 from 9 to 11 a.m.: Understanding Ecology Hike at 10-Mile Creek Preserve, 3401 Gordy Road, Fort Pierce. Learn through exploration about general ecology as we stroll through this incredible hydric hammock and flood plain forest. This short one-half mile trail has a lot of topography, but expect lots of stops as we discuss the ecology of this preserve that is packed with native plants and animals.

·       Friday, Nov. 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Black-Light Night Hike at Walton Scrub Preserve, 10809 South Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce. It’s a nocturnal stroll through the preserve to watch and listen for owls, nighthawks, and all manner of plants and smaller critters with interesting night-time colors under a naturalist’s black-light. 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 to night.

Bountiful Harvest Hike

·       Saturday, Nov. 26 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Bountiful Harvest Hike at Gordy Road Recreation Area, 3650 Gordy Road, Fort Pierce. The end of the fall season is a great time to reflect on the gifts nature has provided, from little creatures born this year to the regrowth of plants from fire and hurricanes. While hiking along this preserve’s scenic trails, participants will have a chance to discover how each species is connected to the survival or management of all the others.
For more information and to find the link for registration, please visit www.slchikes.org, call 772-462-2526 or email slchikes@stlucieco.org.

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. We hope you’ll join us!

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 at

http://gis.stlucieco.gov/parkspreserves.

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