St. Lucie County’s Guided Hikes Return Oct. 19
- LUCIE COUNTY – St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department’s free guided hike series returns Oct. 19 through May. This program provides residents and tourists with weekly chances to discover a nature trail near them, while they learn about the native plants, butterflies and animals in our backyard.
These programs are free and open to the public; however, reservations are required as space is limited. Hikes for October include:
Exploring Nature Safely
- Thursday, Oct. 19 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Exploring Nature Safely Hike at Indrio Savannahs Preserve, 5275 Tozour Road, Fort Pierce. Start the hike season with some good basic knowledge of how to hike safely and ethically in Florida’s ever-changing weather and what to do if or when you encounter the preserve’s many interesting critters. Along the way you’ll learn about some of the native plants on site including which ones to avoid.
- Friday, Oct. 20 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: What’s Blooming Hike at Spruce Bluff Preserve, 641 SE Dar Lane, Port St. Lucie. Discover why the early Spanish explorers named Florida the “land of flowers” as guests take 1.25-mile hike on the AIS Trail in search of native flowers and to see what floral “fall” colors are popping. This hike winds participants through mixed upland and wetland plant habitats.
- Sunday, Oct. 22 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Nature Detectives Tracking Hike for Families at Walton Scrub Preserve, 10809 South Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce. Become a nature detective by learning how to use animal signs of life (tracks, scat, fur, feather and bone) to see which critters are visiting and living within the preserve. Be sure to bring your camera, a magnifying glass or any other detective tools you might need for this hands-on adventure. All are welcome, but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 and older. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Birding for Beginners
- Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.: Birding for Beginners Hike at George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce.Enjoy a leisurely one-mile walk around this preserve’s beautiful lake as you learn how to observe Florida’s many birds. Learn how to identify gallinules, coots, grebes, ibis and black vultures. We’ll keep our eyes open to see if we can also spot bald eagles, flickers and red-bellied woodpeckers. Please feel free to bring binoculars and/or field guides (if you have them).
- Friday, Oct. 27 from 9 to 11 a.m.: Florida Scrub-Jay Hike at Sheraton Scrub Preserve, 2222 North 41st St., Fort Pierce.Experience a rare opportunity to see one very special avian resident: The Florida Scrub-Jay. This iconic bird, listed by state officials as Threatened, is Florida’s only endemic bird. It’s found nowhere else in world but the Sunshine State. Along the way we will be looking for autumn flowers in this 33-acre preserve which is a green oasis featuring deceptively short scrub oak, towering slash pines and the Florida Scrub-Jay.
High and Dry Scrub
- Oct. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m.: High and Dry Scrub Hike at Gordy Road Recreation Area, 3650 Gordy Road, Fort Pierce. Like previous hurricanes, Irma left her mark on Florida and St. Lucie County. Guests will hike the scrub, examining how wind and water affected wild plant life, and then transition to the bottomland trails to learn more about how water action carved new paths, moved plants and animals, and affected the riparian landscape.
- Sunday, Oct. 29 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.: Creepy Creatures Family Hike at the Oxbow Eco-Center, 5400 NE St. James Drive, Port St. Lucie. Around Halloween our fascination with ‘creepy creatures’ grows. Let’s explore their native homes and what makes them so interesting. This preserve is home to many nocturnal animals, but also some we’ll have the chance to see during the day. All are welcome, but this hike is most appropriate for families with children ages 5 and older. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.
- Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.: Spook-tacular Shapeshifters Night Hike at George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce. Nighttime sounds have both fascinated and scared humans over the ages. Animals rustling in the bushes and calling in the darkness will be our Halloween treat as we watch and listen for nocturnal wildlife activity at this fabulous lake-view preview. Guests will be listening for a variety of birds, amphibians, insects and mammals as the sun sets and reveals its tricks and treats.
For more information and to find the link for registration, please visitwww.slchikes.org, call 772-462-2526 or email firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.