Education Programs & Events

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EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

All of our public events are open to individuals and immediate family members. For groups we ask that each family register individually. Large group reservations for public programs will not be accepted. If you have a school, camp, club, or other group that would like to participate in a program, please contact sarah.denison@mymanatee.org to set up a private program.

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January 2022 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the January Calendar of Events   

Thursday, Jan 13th, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PMStories and Service: Where the Crawdads SingLooking for a volunteer opportunity in the cool of the evening at beautiful Emerson Point Preserve? Come out to our book club with a service twist. Every month we will read a different book about Florida, and discuss, and follow it with a restoration project in the preserve. This month will be Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Program is suitable for bookworms 14 and up. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/201700460507. For more information please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Emerson Point Preserve – The Point

Friday, Jan 14th, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PMEmerson POINT Sunset Shutter StrollJoin us to photograph the golden hues of the sunset at Emerson Point Preserve. Walk the trails of this coastal paradise as the sun goes down. Watch overhead for a chance to photograph the preserve’s migratory birds heading to roost. This is a special evening program to make use of the golden light of sunset and the blues of the early evening – don’t miss out! Program suitable for adults. Participants should bring their cameras and be prepared to hike outdoors after dark. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228562836597. Emerson Point Preserve – The Point

Saturday, Jan 15th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Rye PreserveTake a hike through upland habitats along the beautiful Rye Branch and learn about Florida’s native plants, natural history, and early settlement of the area. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167452445773. Rye Preserve

Saturday, Jan 15th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMCoquina Coastal CleanupGrab your gloves, hat, and sunscreen, we’ll provide the trash bags and grabbers, and take an active role in helping the environment. Your hard work will help keep the beaches beautiful and the wildlife safe. This is a great opportunity for teens looking to earn volunteer hours. Program is suitable for volunteers of all ages. Please bring gloves, clothes that protect you from the sun, shoes that strap or tie on your feet, and water bottles. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228499276487 or contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Coquina Beach

Saturday, Jan 15th, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PMNative Little One Art ClubStudents of Native Little One Art Club will follow a mindful rhythm and focus on learning through play, place, and project-based learning. Emphasis is placed on learning through art and the natural world. Activities may include learning about edible plants through painting and gardening, observing symbiotic relationships, creating your own materials, etc. Academic subjects are learned through the arts, experiments, and observations of the local environment. Program suitable for ages 5 to 8 years old. Program sponsored by Native Little One in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Registration and payment are required prior to attendance. Reservations are required. To register please contact nativelittleones@gmail.com or call (941) 447-8862. $50 Registration Fee. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Jan 15th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: ¡Animales Arquitectos! Animal Architects!Explora la naturaleza mientras aprendemos sobre diferentes animales que construyen. Los pájaros construyen nidos y las arañas construyen telarañas. Que otros animales encontraras mientras jugamos, y hacemos manualidades con toda la familia. Explore the outdoors as we learn about different animals that build! Birds build nests and spiders build webs. What other animals will you find as we play games and make crafts together! Program suitable for children and their families. This is a Spanish and English led program. Programa en español e inglés. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228437912947. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Pride Park – Pavilion adjacent to Volleyball Court

Sunday, Jan 16th, 7:30 AM – 10:30 AMManatee Audubon Society Birding Tour: Robinson PreserveSearch the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Our Audubon guide will lead participants on a tour through Robinson Preserve’s coastal hammock and mangrove habitats. Check out the “locals” as well as the migratory birds that are wintering here. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Manatee County Audubon Society in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact Andy21MCAS@gmail.com. Robinson Preserve – North Entrance Kiosk

Thursday, Jan 20th, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AMSeashell Shore WalkCalling all beachcombers and seashell enthusiasts! Join us for a relaxing walk on the beach to search for seashells and learn to identify them. This program explores what makes mollusks unique and the amazing adaptations that help them to survive in the wild. Learn about ethical seashell collecting methods while discovering a new appreciation for our beautiful shorelines. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228549887867. For more information please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach – South Entrance Coquina Large Pavilion

Thursday, Jan 20th, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PMPerico Lantern WalkNighttime magic awaits on an illuminated lantern walk along the trails of Perico Preserve. Peer into the nocturnal world and discover all the wonders hidden in Florida’s darkness. Using all our senses, we will explore the habitats, wildlife, and the amazing differences humans can perceive at night. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Perico Preserve

Friday, Jan 21st, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTall Tails Tribe: Chasing ShadowsIt’s that time of year again, time to see if groundhogs around the country will see their shadows. While we have no groundhogs in Florida, there are plenty of shadows. Join us for a morning of hands-on preschooler fun, exploring shadows in art, dance, experiments, and movement. Program suitable for preschool-age children. Reservations are required. To register please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Friday Jan 21st, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Water PowerCome explore the properties of water! From water’s hydrogen bonds to its ability to defy gravity. We’ll conduct a series of experiments to test all the abilities of water. Program recommended for students ages 8-13. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228569727207. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Saturday, Jan 22nd, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Perico PreserveExplore one of Manatee County’s coastal preserves and learn about Florida’s native plants, how they benefit wildlife, and how they can be used in the home landscape.  Learn about the wide variety of ecosystems on display and how the preserve was transformed into what it is today. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167372791525. Perico Preserve

Saturday, Jan 22nd, 9:00 AM – 11:30 AMRye Preservers Trailblazing Volunteer WorkdayJoin us for a day off the beaten path, making the trail more accessible for all. Part nature hike, part volunteering, this activity will trim back encroaching vines and branches from the trail. If you love native plants, biodiversity, seeds, and lending a helping hand, this is the workday for you! Volunteers must be 16 and older to volunteer without a guardian present. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Rye Preserve

Thursday, Jan 27th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM or 1:00 PM to 3:00 PMGreen Explorers: Fabricating Forts (Two Sessions)Back by popular demand! Ever imagined being stuck in the woods, deserted on an island, or just building a fun hangout spot with some friends? Come out to Rye Preserve for a chance to create buildings out of natural objects in the area.  Using hands-on discovery and the participants’ creativity, attendees will have a chance to play in nature. Green Explorers is a low structure, highly social, and experience-based activity. Program suitable for children of all ages. Reservations are required. Please sign up for either the morning session or the afternoon session. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228996413437. For more information please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Rye Preserve – Pavilion

Friday, Jan 28th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PMHomeschool Bio Lab: Florida AquiferBecome a water manager for a day and learn about the unseen world of groundwater! Solve the water crisis facing your experimental population, make a Florida aquifer model, and learn key concepts to our groundwater survival! Program suitable for students ages 8-15. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110007. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $10 Participant Fee, Payable Online. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Saturday, Jan 29th, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PMFire Fest 2022Fire Fest 2022 is a FREE fun family event that takes a look at how prescribed burns protect our communities and property from wildfires and maintain Florida’s natural ecosystems for present and future generations. Do you ever wonder why you see all those smoke columns across the horizon? Agencies from around the state come together to talk fire. Enjoy live fire demonstrations, helicopter bucket drops, and nature tours. Kids will have a blast on the SWAT obstacle course and will enjoy fun games and face painting in the KidZone. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Sarasota County in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. No reservations required. For more information please call (941) 861-5000. T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve

Saturday, Jan 29th, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AMIntro to Orienteering and Course Grand OpeningJoin us for the Grand Opening of the G.T. Bray Park Orienteering Course! Orienteering is a competitive sport that combines navigation and racing. Participants use navigational skills to find their way to various checkpoints with a map and sometimes a compass. Orienteering is easy to learn and a fun way to exercise your mind and body outdoors. This sport is not only about running fast, but selecting the best route to each checkpoint and visiting them in the correct order. Be prepared to run or power walk at this fast-paced program! This FREE intro program is suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Suncoast Orienteering and Adventure Racing in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants will have the option to use their smartphone and the free iOrienteering app to scan QR codes that track time on the course. Please wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes and clothing for walking or running. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle! Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/230399068817. For more information please visit www.mymanatee.org/orienteering or contact sarah.denison@mymanatee.org. GT Bray Park – 51st St Park, Hickory Hallow Pavilion #3

Saturday, Jan 29th, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: Saltwater Fishing ClinicJoin us for a special saltwater fishing clinic! Tie an improved clinch knot, practice your fish identification skills, and learn the basics of catch and release fishing in Florida. Get a chance to use our fishing equipment and cast your line into the waters of Emerson Point Preserve to see what we can catch! Spots are limited, so please sign up early if you are interested. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/228893104437. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Recurring Programs

Saturday, Jan 8th,15th, 22nd, 29th, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AMRobinson RunnersJoin us weekly to breathe in the fresh air, challenge yourself, and create a community. Savor the trip along the 1.6 and 3.2-mile routes through Robinson Preserve and notice as life becomes a little more vibrant. The group leader will offer a warm-up, then participants may run, walk, or stroll at their own pace followed by a cool-down stretch offered at the finish.  Participants will be rewarded for their efforts by our partners Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition. Program suitable for adults. No reservations required. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Jan 8th,15th, 22nd, 29th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of discovery. Walk the grounds of the historic Reasoner Tract and observe botanical giants collected from around the world. Explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panoramic views, and make an exciting exit from the building via slide. Learn about upcoming programs and exciting new additions to Robinson Preserve. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

ONGOING/AS NEEDED: RIP SQUAD VOLUNTEER WORKDAY - Join this group that works directly with County natural areas land managers on various wildlife habitat improvement projects. Email announcements are sent out a few days in advance of each event that detail the purpose, goals, and meeting information for each upcoming event. Program suitable for volunteers ages 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email shaun.swartz@mymanatee.org. Location and time TBA - chosen based on need.

February 2022 Calendar of Events 

Download a printable version of the February Calendar of Events

Wednesday, Feb 2nd, 8:00 AM – 10:00 AMManatee Audubon Society Birding Tour: Emerson PointSearch the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Our Audubon guide will lead participants on a tour through Emerson Point’s coastal hammock and mangrove habitats. Check out the “locals” as well as the migratory birds that are wintering here. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Manatee County Audubon Society in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact billielknight@yahoo.com or call (941) 592-7622. Emerson Point Preserve – Ranger's Station

Wednesday, Feb 2nd, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PMSoar in 4 Family NightSoar in 4 occurs the first Wednesday of each month in downtown Bradenton. Families visit demonstration tables (facilitated by Manatee County teachers, non-profit organizations, and volunteers) to learn how to use various materials to support the ‘spotlight book,’ as well as incorporate take-home items to continue to play, create, learn, and explore at home together. These monthly events provide families with the resources and information to become their child’s best ‘first teacher’ at home. All activities are aligned to classroom learning. Program suitable for children and their families. No reservations required. For more information please visit https://soarin4.org/. The Bishop Museum

Friday, Feb 4th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMRobinson Preserve Invasive Plant RoundupGrab your gloves and trowels and join us at the picturesque Robinson Preserve for a morning giving back! In this program, we will be working together to remove non-native vegetation from newly restored habitats. This important work will give native plants the upper hand as they become established. Program suitable for volunteers 14 and up. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Lot

Saturday, Feb 5th, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PMReopening of the Valentine HouseVisit this 19th-century house-turned visitor’s center.  Learn about the history of the Palma Sola area and see photographs of the historic Palmetto home on its river journey to the current location in Robinson Preserve.  Explore natural history exhibits regarding the local flora and fauna. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are not required. For more information please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House

Saturday, Feb 5th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Emerson PointCasually stroll through the beautiful Emerson Point Preserve and learn about Florida's native plants and inhabitants of a coastal environment. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Please meet at the first parking area on the RIGHT at the Observation Tower (not at the Ranger Station) at 9 AM. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking on uneven terrain. Bring a water bottle, sun and insect protection. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167369327163. Emerson Point Preserve – Observation Tower Parking Area

Saturday, Feb 5th, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PMSeeing StarsEnjoy a beautiful night sky overlooking the water at this after-hours astronomy viewing. We provide the telescopes and the expertise; you enjoy the wonders of our universe! The program is free, but advance tickets are required. We are limiting audience size to allow for social distancing. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://bishopscience.org/events/seeing-stars-with-the-bishop-at-robinson-preserve-2/. Robinson Preserve – South Entrance Parking Lot 9th Ave NW

Sunday, Feb 6th, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body, and Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement, and mindfulness to promote clarity of mind while developing physical strength and stamina, increasing flexibility, burning calories, and detoxifying the body! Increase your overall well-being by ending and beginning your week with this empowering and uplifting flow! Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Online registration is highly encouraged as spaces are limited. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110006. For more information please contact aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org. $10 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – NEST

Thursday, Feb 10th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMWildlife Spotlight: SpoonbillsJoin us for a stroll around Perico Preserve to search for one of Florida's most colorful wading birds, the roseate spoonbill! Discover the unique behaviors and adaptations of these charismatic, pink birds while taking in the beautiful sights of the preserve. Learn about the important role they play in our ecosystem and ways you can help wild spoonbills and their fellow feathered friends. Program suitable for adults. Binoculars recommended. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/239176402057. For more information please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Perico Preserve – Pavilion

Thursday, Feb 10th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTreeTots: Light and DarkBabies and young toddlers are brimming with curiosity! Spark that wonder by bringing your littlest family members for an en"light"ening light exploration program. Engage your littles senses through movement, lights, and reflections, inspiring nature discoveries in the safety of The Nest. TreeTots is an interactive activity for babies and young toddlers to become acquainted with the natural world. Program suitable for newborns to 2-year-olds. Reservations are required. To register please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve – NEST

Thursday, Feb 10th, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PMPalma Sola Causeway Cleanup and Seaside SafariWe are going to work hard then play hard!  First, we will help make a positive impact on our coastal habitats by removing trash around the beach and the coastal trail.  After the trash bash, we'll grab our dip nets to get a peek at the world beneath the waves and see firsthand the critters our cleaning will help! Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Palma Sola Causeway

Friday, Feb 11th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Mighty MagnetsCome explore the power and properties of magnets as we defy gravity. See the attraction and repulsion of magnetic fields through fun crafts and games. Recommended for students ages 8-13 Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/243817704317. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Friday, Feb 11th, 5:45 PM – 7:00 PMSunset Tower WalkJoin us for a relaxing evening stroll with your loved ones at Robinson Preserve!  Enjoy a sunset walk to the tower and take in beautiful views of Tampa Bay. After the sun goes down, we will return by moonlight, discovering the variety of wildlife that visits the preserve after dark. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/243969167347. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve

Saturday, Feb 12th, 7:30 AM – 10:30 AMManatee Audubon Society Birding Tour: Tom Bennett ParkSearch the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Our Audubon guide will lead participants on a tour through Tom Bennett Park's upland and wetland habitats. Check out the “locals” as well as the migratory birds that are wintering here. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Manatee County Audubon Society in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact ford.tony23@yahoo.com. Tom Bennett Park – Playground Parking Lot

Saturday, Feb 12th, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PMFlorida Prarie Wagon TourDiscover over 20,000 acres of Duette Preserve from a covered wagon. With a Master Naturalist guide and a Park Ranger, discover the story of restoration and wildlife. Pine Flatwoods, River Floodplain, and Scrub ecosystems, and maybe spot a Florida Scrub-jay! Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Manatee Fish and Game Association, Inc. in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Please meet at the Ranger Station 15 minutes before departure.  This wagon tour leaves on time! This is an open-air event. Masks are optional. Seating is limited to 15 people to allow for group spacing. Reservations are required. To register please visit manatee-fish-game.ticketleap.com/duette-wagon-tour-feb12/. For more information please call (941) 704-4325. Duette Preserve – Rawls Road Entrance

Saturday, Feb 12th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Riverview PointeCasually stroll through to enjoy the beautiful Riverview Pointe Preserve and learn about Florida's native plants and inhabitants of a coastal environment. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Tour begins in the parking area of DeSoto National Memorial Park and enters into Riverview Pointe Preserve. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking on uneven terrain. Bring a water bottle, sun and insect protection. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167373712279. Riverview Pointe Preserve – Parking at DeSoto National Memorial

Saturday, Feb 12th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 AMCreek CleanupBring your wellies or wading boots for an adventurous afternoon cleaning the creek! This freshwater stream empties into Puertosueno Park and Palma Sola Bay and is home to many creatures, including turtles, ducks, and fish. After the service project, we will look closely and examine the invertebrates that call this creek home! Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. GT Bray Park

Saturday, Feb 12th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM – OYSTER Shell Volunteer WorkdayWorking with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department staff, volunteers will be loading crates with recycled oyster shells for later transport and placement in coastal areas in the preserves. Once in place, these shells will serve as a home for larval oysters to settle and grow. Oysters play a pivotal role in local estuaries providing habitat for a multitude of marine organisms while filtering water. Program suitable for volunteers 14 and up. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Lot

Saturday, Feb 12th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: Odd Couples! Parejas inusuales!Could it be love? Learn and explore the different ecological relationships between animals from symbiosis to parasitism through games and crafts with the whole family! ¿Será amor? ¡Aprende y explora las diferentes relaciones entre animales, desde la simbiosis hasta el parasitismo, a través de juegos y manualidades con toda la familia! Children and their families. This is a Spanish and English-led program. Programa en español e inglés. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/243906620267. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Blackstone Park – Playground Pavilion

Thursday, Feb 17th, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PMCraft ClubCalling all crafty folks! Do you knit, paint, scrapbook, or create from other media?  Maybe you need a space away from prying eyes to complete your masterpiece. Carve out some crafting time and get inspired by joining our monthly Craft Club. You bring the projects, and we will supply the space, helpful crafting hints, and positive energy. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/227789523597. For more information please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve – NEST

Friday, Feb 18th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTall Tails Tribe: Loops, Arches, and SwirlsHave you ever noticed that nature seldom creates a straight line? Rivers wind, plants bush, and seashells curve. Become a nature detective by seeking out spiraling and arching shapes. We will be looping, arching, and swirling our way through nature and end with a spiral-focused craft. Program suitable for preschool-age children. Reservations are required. To register please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Friday, Feb 18th, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PMAir-Potato Roundup at Conservatory ParkJoin us for a day in the pines, taking out invasive air potato and Ceasar weed along the trails of Conservatory Park!  Who will find the biggest spud?  Who will find the most?  Give back to this neighborhood park and help us improve native habitat for the creatures who live there, all while getting a light workout at this family-friendly volunteer event! Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Conservatory Park

Friday, Feb 18th, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PMSunset Bird WalkGrab your binoculars and enjoy a relaxing sunset stroll on Coquina Beach! Explore the beautiful coastline and look for shorebirds, wading birds and, other feathered friends. Learn how to identify these beach birds and discover their important role in the coastal environment. The program will conclude with a view of Coquina Beach's iconic sunset. Program suitable for adults. Binoculars recommended. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/239216381637. For more information please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach – Café

Friday, Feb 18th, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PMThe Lighter Side of Photographing Manatee County's BirdsJoin us for an evening of photography with a dose of humor. Courtland White, a "Snow-Bird" and amateur nature photographer from the mountains of North Carolina has been striving to get that "Perfect Shot" for many years.  Photographing Florida birds is both easy and surprisingly difficult.  Easy, because many Florida birds are large, colorful, and often approachable.  Difficult, because the competition among the many skilled, well-equipped - and more patient - photographers here is at such a high level.  Although that unique, prize-worthy image remains elusive, Courtland has captured along the way a collection of bird photographs that gave him a "smile." Enjoy a presentation of Courtland's photography and the stories that made the photos. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/244011443797. For more information please contact aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Feb 19th, 8:30 AM – 10:30 AMManatee Audubon Society Birding Tour: Perico PreserveSearch the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Our Audubon guide will lead participants on a tour through Perico Preserve’s coastal hammock and mangrove habitats. Check out the “locals” as well as the migratory birds that are wintering here. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Manatee County Audubon Society in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact zholmes003@gmail.com or call (386) 279-3789. Perico Preserve

Saturday, Feb 19th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Rye PreserveTake a hike through upland habitats along the beautiful Rye Branch and learn about Florida's native plants, natural history, and early settlement of the area. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167452445773. Rye Preserve

Saturday, Feb 19th, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PMNative Little One Art ClubStudents of Native Little One Art Club will follow a mindful rhythm and focus on learning through play, place, and project-based learning. Emphasis is placed on learning through art and the natural world. Activities may include learning about edible plants through painting and gardening, observing symbiotic relationships, and creating materials from nature. Academic subjects are learned through the arts, experiments, and observations of the local environment. Program suitable for ages 5 to 8 years old. Program sponsored by Native Little One in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Registration and payment are required prior to attendance. Reservations are required. To register please contact nativelittleones@gmail.com or call (941) 447-8862. $50 Registration Fee. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday, Feb 24th, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AMSeashell Shore WalkCalling all beachcombers and seashell enthusiasts! Join us for a relaxing walk on the beach to search for seashells and learn to identify them. This program will explore what makes mollusks unique and the amazing adaptations that help them to survive in the wild. Learn about ethical seashell collecting methods while discovering a new appreciation for our beautiful shorelines. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/239166783287. For more information please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach  South – Under Longboat Key Bridge

Thursday, Feb 24th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMGreen Explorers: Ephemeral ArtBuilding sandcastles on the beach, leaving them for the tide and wind to erode back to the sea, is a classic, beloved childhood activity. Instead of a beach let your kids come out to Rye Preserve’s woods to experience ephemeral or temporary art.  Using objects found on our nature walk, each child will be free to create with nature and given time to explore. Program suitable for all ages recommended for 6-12-year-olds. Reservations are required. To register please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034.  Conservatory Park – Playground Pavilion

Friday, Feb 25th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PMHomeschool Bio Lab: Magnetic ForceRace your lab partners to construct the best magnetic cars and reach the finish line using the science of magnets! Learn and experiment with magnetic fields. Program suitable for students ages 8 to 15. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?
primarycode=110007
. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $10 Materials Fee, Payable Online. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Friday, Feb 25th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PMPhotography Challenge Gallery PresentationManatee County Parks and Natural Resources invites you to join us for the presentation of the featured photos from the 2022 Photography Challenge! Take a walk through the Valentine House and view photos that tell an extraordinary story about each of our beautiful preserves. If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words…we will have quite a few stories to tell! Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are recommended. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/243988244407. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House

Saturday, Feb 26th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Perico PreserveExplore one of Manatee County's coastal preserves and learn about Florida's native plants, how they benefit wildlife, and how they can be used in the home landscape.  Learn about the wide variety of ecosystems on display and how the preserve was transformed into what it is today. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167372791525. Perico Preserve

Saturday, Feb 26th, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: Family Fishing ClinicJoin us for a special saltwater fishing clinic! Tie an improved clinch knot, practice your fish identification skills, and learn the basics of catch and release fishing in Florida. Get a chance to use our fishing equipment and cast your line into the waters of Emerson Point Preserve to see what we can catch! Spots are limited, so please sign up early if you are interested. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/243884052767. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Nature Classroom

Recurring Programs

Wednesday, Feb 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 3:30 PM – 4:00 PMTortoise TalkJoin us for this informal program on the Valentine House lawn as we take our education tortoise out to graze! In the wild, foraging is an integral part of a gopher tortoise’s lifestyle, so we encourage it as much as possible. Stop by and say hello, get a chance to meet him up close, and ask any questions you may have. Learn all about what tortoises need to survive, how we care for our tortoise, and what efforts we can take to protect these important members of our Florida ecosystems. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House Lawn

Saturday, Feb 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AMRobinson RunnersJoin us weekly to breathe in the fresh air, challenge yourself, and create a community. Savor the trip along the 1.6 and 3.2-mile routes through Robinson Preserve and notice as life becomes a little more vibrant. The group leader will offer a warm-up, then participants may run, walk, or stroll at their own pace followed by a cool-down stretch offered at the finish.  Participants will be rewarded for their efforts by our partners Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition. Program suitable for adults. No reservations required. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6047. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Feb 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of discovery. Walk the grounds of the historic Reasoner Tract and observe botanical giants collected from around the world. Explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panoramic views, and make an exciting exit from the building via slide. Learn about upcoming programs and exciting new additions to Robinson Preserve. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

ONGOING/AS NEEDED: RIP SQUAD VOLUNTEER WORKDAY - Join this group that works directly with County natural areas land managers on various wildlife habitat improvement projects. Email announcements are sent out a few days in advance of each event that detail the purpose, goals, and meeting information for each upcoming event. Program suitable for volunteers ages 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email shaun.swartz@mymanatee.org. Location and time TBA - chosen based on need.


Kayaking with Manatee County

Participation Requirements for Manatee County Kayaks

In order to utilize one of Manatee County’s sit on top kayaks for a volunteer, Kayaking for Beginners, Kayaking for First Timers, or Beginner Level Kayak Trip, or to participate in any paddling program, participants:

  • Must be 16 years of age or older
  • Must not exceed the manufacturer’s weight limit for the vessel
  • Must have the ability to follow verbal and/or visual instructions independently while in the kayak
  • Must have the ability to respond to instructions and/or call out in the event of an emergency
  • Must have the ability to wear a properly fitted personal flotation device
  • Must have the ability to enter and exit the kayak independently or with the assistance of a companion
  • Must be able to move the kayak through the water independently in a stable manner and return it to the launching area
  • Must have the ability to breathe independently
  • Must have the ability to tolerate 60-80 degree Fahrenheit water and bright sunlight for 2 hours
  • Must have the ability to remain seated, maneuver, and balance independently while on the water

In order to utilize one of Manatee County’s sit on top kayaks for a summer camp program, participants:

  • Must be 9 years of age or older (note: age limit is lower as this program is specifically designed as a direct instructional for this age group; guide to paddler ratio is much lower)
  • Must not exceed the manufacturer’s weight limit for the vessel
  • Must have the ability to follow verbal and/or visual instructions independently while in the kayak
  • Must have the ability to respond to instructions and/or call out in the event of an emergency
  • Must have the ability to wear a properly fitted personal flotation device
  • Must have the ability to enter and exit the kayak independently or with the assistance of a companion
  • Must have the ability to breathe independently
  • Must be able to move the kayak through the water independently in a stable manner and return it to the launching area
  • Must have the ability to tolerate 60-80 degree Fahrenheit water and bright sunlight for 2 hours
  • Must have the ability to remain seated, maneuver, and balance independently while on the water

In the event of capsize for any program, one:

  • Must have the ability to get out from under the watercraft independently
  • Must have the ability to right oneself and remain face up in the water with the aid of a personal flotation device