Education Programs & Events

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COVID-19 Updates

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Closures, Cancellations and Updates Related to Coronavirus.

We have limited group sizes to comply with social distancing.  Please check out our online program offerings.           

Please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org if you have any questions regarding our programs. 

Register online for Sunday Yoga at the NEST

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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SEPTEMBER 2020 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the September Calendar of Events

Ongoing in August – September – ONLINE PRESERVE PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT - Would you like to win a FREE exclusive photography tour for you and 5 friends? How well do you know Manatee County Preserves? Have you visited the towers, bridges, winding trails, trees, nature centers, and ponds? Test your knowledge and share your own photos of the preserve in this fun interactive contest. At the end of the competition the 3 most accurate participants throughout the duration of the contest will win an exclusive guided photography tour. No registration required. For full details or to participate, please visit the Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/588674371824917/. For more information, please email coral.bass@mymanatee.org  Manatee County Preserves

Saturday 26th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTPlease note that masks will be required to enter the building and social distancing will be enforced. Join us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Suitable  for  all  ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday 27th, 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine Power Flow YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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 ecoevents@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable online or by cash only at the door. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday 28th – Saturday 2nd Explorers Academy Virtual Learning: Bat WeekGo batty with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Facebook page for bat week!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, storytime, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn all about our nocturnal neighbors - bats! Suitable  for  all  ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or Youtube

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. This group meets when needed with locations and tasks determined based on need, opportunity, and priority, at the time of each event. 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 age 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email  Erin.Struzzieri@mymanatee.org Location and time TBA - chosen based on need

October 2020 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the October Calendar of Events

Friday 2nd – Saturday 3rd Explorers Academy Virtual Learning: Bat WeekGo batty with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources facebook page for bat week!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, story time, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn all about our nocturnal neighbors – bats! Program suitable for all ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube

Saturday 3rd, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Suitable  for  all  ages. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 3rd, 9:00 AM11:00 AMInternational Coastal Cleanup: State Road 64 Boat RampTime to save the seas! Grab your gloves, hat, and sunscreen, and take an active role in helping the environment. Your hard work will help keep the shoreline beautiful and the wildlife safe. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Keep Manatee Beautiful in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. All volunteers will receive a mask, gloves, a picker, and trash bag. No reservations required. For more information please contact Info@ManateeBeautiful.com. 3020 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton

Monday 5th – Saturday 10thExplorers Academy Virtual Learning: Hispanic Heritage WeekCelebrate Hispanic Heritage in Manatee County with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources facebook page!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, story time, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour. Program suitable for all ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube

Tuesday 6th, 2:00 PM3:00 PMHISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: CUBAN RANCHOSPresented by Sara Alvarez Collazo of the Manatee County Parks & Natural Resources Department: Join us to learn more about the local historical presence of Hispanic culture in Manatee County. Manatee County's coastline was the perfect fish–rich environment Cuban fishermen needed to settle and create villages, or ranchos. These ranchos were a hub of local commerce, trade and culture where Cuban fishermen and natives intermingled freely leaving a rich inheritance of mixed culture and race. Program suitable for all ages.  Program sponsored by Manatee County Libraries in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Please email aileen.valdes@mymanatee.org to register. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – ZOOM

Wednesday 7th, 5:00 PM7:00 PMSoar in 4 Family NightDue to COVID–19, the Soar in 4 model has transitioned to a monthly drive–thru program the first Wednesday of each month, held in Bradenton.  Each month a new ‘spotlight book’ will be featured. In October, the spotlight book is Dreaming Up by Christy Hale! Families drive by 14 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. Visit https://www.soarin4.org/ for more information. DeSoto Square Mall – Macy’s Parking Lot

Saturday 10th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Suitable  for  all  ages. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 10th, 9:00 AM11:00 AMInternational Coastal Cleanup: Manatee BeachTime to save the seas! Grab your gloves, hat, and sunscreen, and take an active role in helping the environment. Your hard work will help keep the beaches beautiful and the wildlife safe. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Keep Manatee Beautiful in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. All volunteers will receive a mask, gloves, a picker, and trash bag. No reservation required. For more information please contact Info@ManateeBeautiful.com. 4000 Manatee Ave W Holmes Beach

Sunday 11th, 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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://www.mymanatee.org/ecoevents. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742–5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday 12th – Saturday 17th Explorers Academy Virtual Learning: Parasitic Relationships WeekExplore the downright creepy parasitic relationships found in nature with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Facebook page!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, story time, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn all about the icky and fascinating parasitic relationships occurring every day in our natural areas! Program suitable for all ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube 

Friday 16th, 6:00 PM9:00 PM18th Annual Goblin GatheringManatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department is celebrating its 18th Annual Goblin Gathering in conjunction with National Night Out at G.T. Bray Park. National Night Out is a program to strengthen neighborhood spirit and create police–community partnerships to make our community a safe place to live.  Several local businesses will be participating by passing out “treats & sweets” to participants, providing a safe alternative for children to trick–or–treat.  Participate in our Facebook costume contest for a chance to win prizes! Program suitable for all ages. This year Goblin Gathering will be a drive–through only event.  Please enter at 51st Street and exit at 59th Street.  Drive–through participation and trick–or–treating is free. No reservations required For more information please contact parksevents@mymanatee.org. G.T. Bray Park – Enter on 51st Street ONLY

Saturday 17th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Suitable  for  all  ages. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday 18th 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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://www.mymanatee.org/ecoevents. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742–5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday 19th – Saturday 24th Explorers Academy Virtual Learning: Owls WeekStealthy and majestic, owls are a top predator of the night–time skies!  Explore the unique adaptations of local owl species with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Facebook page!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, story time, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn all about the amazing owls living in our preserves! Program suitable for all ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube

Tuesday 20th, 10:00 AM11:00 AMLAB IN A BOX: OWL PELLET DISSECTIONJoin us for an instructor–led virtual laboratory–style experience where young scientists will learn all about native owls! Participants will be able to dissect an owl pellet from the comfort of their home and participate in hands–on interactive activities. Most materials will supplied in your lab box, which can be picked up from the GT Bray Recreation Center prior to the program or mailed to your home.  Program suitable for children ages 9 to 13. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742–5923 ext. 6044.  Online – WebEx

Saturday 24th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Suitable  for  all  ages. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday 25th 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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://www.mymanatee.org/ecoevents. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742–5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday 26th – Saturday 31stExplorers Academy Virtual Learning: Creatures of the Night WeekRibbit, chirp, growl!  We may not be able to see them, but creatures of the night are all around.  Learn about your nocturnal neighbors with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Facebook page!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, story time, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour. Program suitable for all ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube

Tuesday 27th, 10:00 AM11:00 AMStroller Stroll: Tom Bennett ParkIt's almost Halloween! Round up your baby buggies, walking shoes, your little ones and an optional costume for a rolling naturalist led walk through Manatee County wild spaces. Open your child’s eyes to the sights, smells, and feel of Florida’s great outdoors. Trek the nature walk trail and have your child experience wild spaces firsthand. Meet other nature explorer families with kids of a similar age. Suitable for children and their families. Reservations are required. To register please call 941–742–5923 ex.6034 or email coral.bass@mymanatee.org. Tom Bennett Park

Saturday 31st, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Suitable  for  all  ages. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

ONGOING: Self–Guided VolunteeringGrab a friend and do some good for the environment! This Fall we are offering self–guided volunteer opportunities for the solo adventurer or small group. Needs include trash clean–up along our trails and beaches, wildlife photography, and other tasks. Suitable for all ages. For more information please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Available at multiple locations throughout Manatee County

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. This group meets when needed with locations and tasks determined based on need, opportunity, and priority, at the time of each event. 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 age 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email  Erin.Struzzieri@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