Education Programs & Events

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Program Spotlight

Sunset Tai Chi at the NEST Second Mondays 6:30 PM

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EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

All of our public events are open to individuals and their family members. For large groups, we ask that each family register individually. If you have a school, camp, club, or other group that would like to participate in a program, please contact [email protected] to set up a private program.

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JULY 2022 Calendar of Events 

Download a printable version of the July Calendar of Events

Wednesday, Jul 6th, 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. Program sponsored by Soar in 4 in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. No reservations required. For more information please visit https://soarin4.org/. The Bishop Museum

Friday, Jul 8th, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AMWonder WalkDeep in the heart of a suburban neighborhood is the charming Conservatory Park. Wander the winding paved trails and mysterious pine forest. Discover the butterflies, birds, and other wildlife that call this gem of a park home. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Conservatory Park – Playground

Saturday, Jul 9th, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AMDIY Gardening ProjectsLearn fun and useful do-it-yourself projects for home and garden using recycled materials. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Manatee County IFAS Extension in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/297989282967. For more information please contact [email protected]. $5 Registration Fee. Manatee County UF/IFAS Extension Office – Kendrick Auditorium

Saturday, Jul 9th, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AMBug-Out HabitatsThis class introduces children to the world of bugs. Children will examine a variety of real bugs, and learn about bug anatomy, life cycles, habitats, the important role bugs play in nature, and many cool facts about bugs. In this fun class, the children will make their own bug habitat to take home that is filled with pretend bugs, plants, and other items created in their own unique design. Time and weather permitting, the children will go on a bug hunt in our educational garden and use their magnifiers to get a closer look. Program suitable for ages 4 to 12. Program sponsored by Manatee County IFAS Extension in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. This is one of our most popular children's programs so sign up early as the class is limited to 15 children. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/355173602807. For more information please contact [email protected]. $5 Registration Fee Payable Online. Manatee County UF/IFAS Extension Office – Rogers Auditorium

Sunday, Jul 10th, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PMForaging Florida: Poisonous Plants of FloridaYou’re ready to go out and harvest plants to make medicine and food for your family…but do you know which plants could be harmful? Join Registered Herbalist (AHG) and Master Naturalist Melissa “Misha” Nell, to meet Florida’s native and exotic poisonous plants. You will learn how to identify each plant, where they are found, their lore, and their medicine. This class is a great way to beat the heat and expand your herbal knowledge. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Fee includes handouts and all program materials. Reservations required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110009. $10 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday, Jul 11th, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PMSunset Tai Chi at the NESTJoin us for this class on the lawn of the NEST! At sunset on the second Monday of the month, Dr. Brian Nell, a certified Tai Chi instructor, will lead the group through the gentle movements of Tai Chi. This is a great way to shake off the stressful work week. Improve your balance, loosen your joints, and improve flexibility as you relax and breathe. This class is perfect for beginners and will include an exploration of several different styles of Tai Chi and Qigong. This class is held rain or shine - in case of weather, we will move into the NEST. Program Suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=AR&fmid=51792572. For more information please contact [email protected]. $10 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST Lawn

Tuesday, Jul 12th, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PMLibrary Learning: Seashell StorytimeJoin us at South Manatee Library for an exploration of Florida's seashells! Through hands-on activities and a storytime, we will learn about the wide variety of seashells that wash up on our local beaches and discover the amazing creatures that make them. Program suitable for elementary-aged children. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. South Manatee Library

Wednesday, Jul 13th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PMPlant ID for BeginnersNot sure what that plant is in your backyard? New to Florida and unfamiliar with the new species? If you ever wondered how to figure out what plant is which, join this beginner plant ID webinar. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Manatee County IFAS Extension in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/367055883027. For more information please contact [email protected]. Online – Zoom

Wednesday, Jul 13th, 10:15 AM – 11:15 AMLibrary Learning: Marvelous MangrovesStep into the world of marvelous mangroves! Discover the parts of this coastal tree, the vital job they perform, and the wild animals that call them home. Through games, movements, and exploration of a lifesize mangrove model, your child will delight in exploring one of Florida's most important trees! Program suitable for preschool-age children. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Braden River Library

Thursday, Jul 14th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PMWildlife Spotlight: SeahorsesLet's discover a fascinating family of fish - the Sygnathids! Learn about the amazing adaptations and lifecycle of seahorses and pipefish and the conservation efforts put in place to protect them. We will also be dip netting to look for these unique creatures so we can explore them up close! Program suitable for adults. Be sure to bring a towel and closed-toe shoes that can get wet. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/354561381637. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom

Friday, Jul 15th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMExplore Nature! Manatee Pop-UpStop by our education table at beautiful Portosueno Park and learn all about manatees! These gentle giants are our county's namesake and are frequent visitors of the park. Enjoy interactive activities to learn about the amazing anatomy of manatees, and discover how you can help protect them in the wild. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Portosueno Park

Saturday, Jul 23rd, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMScience by the Sea High School Workshop: Critters of Tampa BayJoin us for a morning of marine science to experience our local watershed.  The Science by the Sea programs are intended to provide accessible science experiences for kids from historically excluded groups in STEM including gender minorities, racial/ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people from low-income or underserved communities. Program suitable for high school students. Program sponsored by Minorities in Shark Sciences and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSefx_DThpOLrsyX1sN-ZnDvUem4ZDzLba2ObEnsLB-ED84oww/viewform. For more information please contact [email protected]. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom

Thursday, Jul 28th, 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 required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/354675543097. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach - South – Longboat Key Bridge

Recurring Programs

Saturday, Jul 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, 7:00 AM – 8:00 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. Program sponsored by Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://raceroster.com/events/2022/57766/robinson-runners. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Jul 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, 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 [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Wednesday – Friday, Jul 6th, 7th, 8th, 7:00 AM – 12:00 PMJay WatchFor the past thirteen years, Manatee County’s Parks and Natural Resources Department has partnered with the Audubon Society’s Jay Watch to host a public scrub jay survey at Duette Preserve. The survey, conducted over 3 days, offers a snapshot of the scrub jay families living within the preserve. Volunteers who would like to help track, sight, and record scrub jay sightings are welcome to attend. This is a great opportunity to become a citizen scientist. Program suitable for volunteers 16 years and older. Program sponsored by Audubon Florida in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations required. To register please contact [email protected]. Duette Preserve – Ranger Station

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 [email protected]. 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