Education Programs & Events

CONTACT US +

Program Spotlight

Photography Challenge

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

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.

Initial value

February 2024 CALENDAR OF EVENTS 

Download a printable version of the February Calendar of Events 

 Saturday, Feb 10th, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PMPhotography Challenge Gallery Presentation – Manatee County  Natural Resources invites you to join us for the presentation of the featured photos from the 2024 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://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/photochallenge/. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House

Monday, Feb 12th, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PMSunset Tai Chi at the NEST – Join us for this monthly class at 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. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/taichi/. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday, Feb 15th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTreeTots: Animal Movement – Hop like a bunny, slide like a snail, and fly like an owl, animal movements are everywhere. TreeTots is an interactive program that uses song, action, and play to encourage the youngest family members to explore nature. Program suitable for newborn to 2- year- old. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/treetots-animal-movement/. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday, Feb 15th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: River Otters – Not many mammals hunt as skillfully under the water as a river otter. Discover a river otter's anatomy and special adaptations to survive in nature. Get your feet wet as we explore an otter's freshwater habitat and dip net a pond or stream. Program recommended for students ages 7-13 Homeschool Science Club explores scientific and natural concepts through games, crafts, and activities encouraging students to be active outdoors. Guardians are responsible for identifying the learning maturity of their child. Please note the location of Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/hsscriverottersrye/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Rye Preserve – Pavilion

Thursday, Feb 15th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PMNatural Resources Career Night – Are you interested in a career in nature? Join us at The NEST at Robinson Preserve for an informative evening showcasing local professionals and careers in the environmental and heritage resource fields. This is an opportunity to discover what it takes to get into the field of science! Network with these professionals from a variety of local organizations and discover careers that help make a difference in our community. Program recommended for college and high school students. Registration recommended. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/natural-resources-career-night/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-4501 ext. 6036. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Friday, Feb 16th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: River Otters – Not many mammals hunt as skillfully under the water as a river otter. Discover a river otter's anatomy and special adaptations to survive in nature. Get your feet wet as we explore an otter's freshwater habitat and dip net a pond or stream. Program recommended for students ages 7-13 Homeschool Science Club explores scientific and natural concepts through games, crafts, and activities encouraging students to be active outdoors. Guardians are responsible for identifying the learning maturity of their child. Please note the location of Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/hsscriverottersemerson/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion #1

Saturday, Feb 17th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NEST – Join 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

Saturday, Feb 17th, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AMMeet Your Preserves: Robinson – Are you new to Manatee County? Do you enjoy the outdoors? Come get acquainted with all the beautiful natural spaces Manatee County has to offer! Learn from a Natural Resources guide about the amenities, wildlife, and history of our preserves. This is the perfect opportunity to explore local areas and meet other new residents. Program suitable for all ages. This program includes a 1-mile round trip walk on flat, packed shell terrain and an optional climb to the top of the iconic Robinson Preserve observation tower. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/meet-your-preserves-robinson-preserve/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-4501 ext. 6036. Robinson Preserve – North Entrance near Valentine House

Wednesday, Feb 21st, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PMNature Art: Botanical Illustration – Explore Robinson Preserve as we discover the composition, texture and colors of plants. Learn how to press a plant collected by yourself, make a leaf print and the basics of botanical illustration. Let nature inspire your next art piece or relax in the sunlight and green scenery of the preserve. Program recommended for ages 12 and over. All materials will be provided for the duration of the illustration program. You must add each participant to your household before you can register. No refunds. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110008. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $10 Materials fee payable online.. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday, Feb 22nd, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AMWild Florida 101: Bird Songs of Rye Preserve – Have you heard the chaotic song of a mockingbird? Or the shrill call of an eagle? Join us for a new program series to listen for birds and learn the basics of bird song identification. This month, we will stroll the trails of Rye Preserve to discover a new appreciation for the sounds of our feathered friends! Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/wild-florida-101-bird-songs-of-rye-preserve/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-4501 ext. 6036. Rye Preserve – Pavilion

Friday, Feb 23rd, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMNature Tales: Women in Science: Mary Anning – Does your kiddo enjoy stories and nature? Join us at Conservatory Park in Nature Tales. Meet monthly at Conservatory Park for an interactive story and activities. This month, we will discover a premier female Paleontologist- Mary Anning and explore fossils. Program suitable for 8-year-old and younger. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/nature-tales-mary-anning-and-fossils/. For more information please contact [email protected]. Conservatory Park

Friday, Feb 23rd, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PMHomeschool Bio Lab: Veterinary Medicine – Become a veterinarian for an afternoon of mystery and fun as we learn about animal diets and health. Measure heartrate, suture a wound, and solve a thrilling medical mystery! Program suitable for students ages 10 - 15. Age limit is strictly enforced. Homeschool Bio Lab is an advance course where we explore higher scientific concepts and the scientific method through dissections, chemistry, and biology experiments. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110007. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $10 Materials fee payable online.. Emerson Point Preserve – Nature Classroom

Saturday, Feb 24th, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AMYouth Archery Session 1 & 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMYouth Archery Session 2 – Set your sights on the exciting outdoor activity of archery! This program will provide participants with basic archery instruction, familiarization with archery equipment, and instruction in shooting techniques that create successful archers. All equipment will be provided for use. Program is suitable for children ages 6 to 16. Program sponsored by the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in partnership with Manatee County. Two identical sessions are offered.  Please register for only one session each month. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/youtharchery/. For more information please contact [email protected]. Rye Preserve – Pavilion

Saturday, Feb 24th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NEST – Join 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

Saturday, Feb 24th, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM & 3:00 PM – 4:00 PMRobinson Preserve Tram Tour – Immerse yourself in Robinson Preserve on our new electric tram tour. Join our knowledgeable guides to discover the history, wildlife, and ecosystems of this unique coastal gem. Gain a deeper understanding of this site's transformation from an empty farmland to a thriving nature preserve. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/tramtour/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Robinson Preserve – North Entrance near Valentine House

Saturday, Feb 24th, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PMStarry Night Astronomy – Join us for an astronomical extravaganza! Dozens of local astronomers will be set up in the Robinson Preserve Expansion with telescopes at the ready. Be sure to bring a sense of wonder and exploration as we view the skies through high-powered telescopes. Learn how to identify heavenly bodies, and how you can stargaze at home too. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Suncoast Stargazers in partnership with Manatee County. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/robinsonastronomy/. Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Lot

Tuesday, Feb 27th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMExplore Nature: Tower Talk – Visit the top of the tower at Robinson Preserve to take in the beautiful views of Tampa Bay! Stop by to chat with a naturalist and learn about the plants, animals, and history of the preserve. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-4501 ext. 6036. Robinson Preserve – Tower

Wednesday, Feb 28th, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AMWildlife Spotlight: Epiphytes – Join us for a relaxing stroll through Rye Preserve to look for epiphytes. This unique group of plants grow on the surface of other plants and gain nutrients from the air, rain, and water around them. Learn how to identify some of Florida's most common epiphytes while discovering the important role they play in our ecosystem. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/wildlife-spotlight-epiphytes/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-4501 ext. 6036. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Thursday, Feb 29th, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AMSeashell Shore Walk – Calling 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 bring you up to speed on the latest research in malacology. 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://manateenrd.ticketleap.com/seashell-shore-walk---february-2024/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-4501 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach South – Longboat Key Bridge

Thursday, Feb 29th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMRobinson Preserve Tram Ride Shoreline Cleanup – Prepare to get muddy at this low-tide opportunity to clean the mangrove shoreline on the north side of this beautiful Preserve! We will be taking the tram up to Shade Stop #5 to cleanup up the Tern Trail and the north segment of the Osprey Loop. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Please wear closed-toed shoes and dress for the weather. Ice water and all other materials will be provided. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House parking lot

Thursday, Feb 29th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMGreen Explorers: Ecological Energy – Herbivores, Carnivores, Producers- Oh My! Explore the movement of energy through an ecosystem.  Using hands-on discovery, and the participant's creativity, attendees will have a chance to play in nature. Green Explorers is a structured, highly social, and experience-based activity. Program suitable for all ages recommended for age 6- 12 year olds. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected]. Emerson Point Preserve – classroom Pavilion

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