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EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

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January Calendar of Events

Download the January Calendar of Events

Thursday 3rd, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
 – PADDLING FROG CREEK/TERRA CEIA RIVER – Join our nature guide from WayneAdventures as we explore mangrove islands and tunnels, restored salt water marshes and more isolated mangroves. Along the way, we will take water quality measurements and stop to discover why this is such a special place. We may not even see any other people during the paddle. Program is suitable is for adults who have paddled 6-8 miles and who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Participants must have their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket. Launch is located near 8200 Bishop Harbor Rd, Palmetto, FL  34221. GPS coordinates: 27.5902222, -82.5544503 (grassy area along road). Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5757 ext. 7 Bishop Harbor Rd at Frog Creek

Friday 4th, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM – MANATEE AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRDING TOUR: PERICO PRESERVE – Search the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Join birder Cathy as you explore one of Manatee County's newest preserves. The newly created freshwater ponds and salt marshes of Perico Preserve provide an oasis for numerous species of birds. Check out the “locals” as well as the migratory birds that are wintering here. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by the Manatee County Audubon Society. For more information or to let us know you would like to attend, please contact Cathy Davis at (561) 253-5025. Perico Preserve

Friday 4th, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE KICKOFF SHUTTER STROLL: 60 IN 60 – Get your cameras ready and prepare to shoot for the 2019 Photography Challenge! During the month of January, we are accepting images captured in Manatee County’s Parks, Preserves, and Beaches. Come put your eye and design abilities to the test, stretch out your shutter finger and prepare to capture 60 natural subjects in only 60 minutes! Afterwards, we will head into the field station to review your favorites, and discuss some tips and tricks to get that perfect shot. Participants will get the details on the 2019 Photography Challenge. Program suitable for participants age 13 and older. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing aedan.stockdale@mymantee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. Emerson Point Preserve – Freeman and Mable Horton Field Study Station

Saturday 5th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – *NEW* POETREE PROJECT– Join us for an inspirational nature walk and discover your creative writing skills as we introduce our newest community project, The Poetree. This program will guide you through the poem-writing process, and conclude with the completion of your very own Poetree submission. From January – April, 2019 we will be collecting nature-inspired poems from Manatee County citizens to be displayed on a Poetree. At the end of April 2019, to celebrate National Poetry Month, the poems will be compiled into a scrapbook on display at the Mosaic NEST at Robinson Preserve. Program suitable for all agesReservations are required. Please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036 or e-mail elena.burke@mymanatee.org Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 5th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – YOUTH ARCHERY – 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 ages 6 to 16 years old. Program sponsored by the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6039Rye Preserve

Saturday 5th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – RYE PRESERVE NATURE CENTER OPEN – We are opening the doors of the newest addition to Rye Preserve. Come view a variety of exhibits that highlight the history of Rye and its uplands habitat. Department staff will take visitors on guided tours of the Center, and lead special hands-on activities related to each exhibit.  Suitable for all agesNo reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please call 941-748-4501 ext. 6039. Rye Preserve

Saturday 5th, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM  ADULT ARCHERY – 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 necessary equipment will be provided thanks to a grant from the Easton Sports Development Foundation. Program is suitable participants 16 years and older. Reservations are required. Please email aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6039.Rye Preserve

Tuesday 8th 10:00 AM -11:00 AM – STROLLER STROLLS: CONSERVATORY – Round up your baby buggies, and your little ones for a rolling naturalist led walk through the counties wild spaces. Open your child’s eyes to the sights, smells, and feel of Florida’s great outdoors while safely wheeled around. Trek the nature walk trail and have your child learn movements.   Meet other nature explorer families with similar aged kids. Program suitable for 0 to 4 years. Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5757 ext.4. Conservatory Park

Wednesday 9th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – ROBINSON PRESERVE PADDLE – Come out and enjoy Robinson Preserve with our nature guide from WayneAdventures. An educational and fun trip including water quality testing, we will explore and discover all that nature has to offer. This is an easy paddle which can be enjoyed by beginning kayakers. Program is suitable is for adults who have paddled 6-8 miles and who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Participants must have their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5757 ext. 7. Robinson Preserve

Thursday 10th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – EMERSON ENHANCERS VOLUNTEER WORKDAY – Come and be part of a dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about Emerson Point Preserve! We do whatever is needed, from cleaning up the Point for marine debris, removing exotic invasive plants from the Temple Mound and classroom area, to making enhancements to the butterfly garden. Program suitable for all ages. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6035.Emerson Point Preserve

Thursday 10th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM – HOMESCHOOL SCIENCE CLUB: INCREDIBLE INSECTS – Did you know that beetles alone account for nearly a quarter of all animal species? It is estimated that there are around 5 million insect species on Earth! Some insects are pests, while others are used in food, medicine, science, fashion, warfare, art, and religion. Join us for an exploration of the wild and wonderful world of incredible insects! Program recommended for 6-10 year olds, but children of all ages are welcome. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6044Emerson Point Preserve

Friday 11th, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM – COASTAL CLIMATE WALK: FLORIDA'S FIRST PEOPLE – Introducing a NEW 7-Part Coastal Climate Walk series from Around the Bend Nature Tours featuring interpretive walks on the effects of climate change on our coastal environment. Discover how Florida's First People adjusted to a moving coastline, with an exploration of native technology and ethnobotany. Program suitable for adults. All walks are short with lots of time interpreting the natural and cultural history. Participants should wear walking shoes and dress for the weather. Reservations are required. Register online at Eventbrite $25 Program Registration. Emerson Point Preserve

Friday 11th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – WILDLIFE SPOTLIGHT: UP CLOSE WITH NATURE – Get ready to see the world up close! Join us for a nature walk and microscope tutorial as we take a look at natural materials and organisms through a magnified lens. Learn how to prepare microscope slides, and discover the technology of microscopy. This program will give you with a new perspective on the natural world. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036 or e-mail elena.burke@mymanatee.org. Emerson Point Preserve

Saturday 12th9:00 AM – 11:30 AM – RYE PRESERVERS TRAILBLAZING VOLUNTEER WORKDAY – Join us for a morning 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! Program is suitable for all agesPlease let us know if you would like to attend by emailing michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6035 to register. Rye Preserve

Saturday 12th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – NEST NATURE DAYS – The brand-new Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology will open its doors for a day of exploration. This month, let your visit to Robinson Preserve inspire your creativity and compose an original poem! We will be collecting nature-inspired poems from NEST visitors to be displayed on our very own Poetree. Explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panorama 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, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 12th, 10:00 AM -12:00 PM – GREEN EXPLORERS: FABRICATING FORTS – 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 own creativity attendees will have a chance to play in nature. Green Explorers is a low structure, highly social and experienced based activity. Program recommended for age 6-12 year olds, but all ages welcome.Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5757 ext.4. Rye Preserve

Saturday 12th, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM – SIDEWALK ASTRONOMY AT ROBINSON PRESERVE – Join us for an astronomical extravaganza in the Robinson Preserve Expansion! 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 and view the skies through high-powered telescopes. Learn how to identify these heavenly bodies, and how you can star gaze at home too. Program in partnership with The Local Group of Deep Sky Observers. Suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please email aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Area

Tuesday 15th, 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM – EMERSON POINT MANATEE AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRDING TOUR – Search the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Birder Lucette 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 sponsored by the Manatee County Audubon Society. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by calling 941-748-4501 ext. 6039. Emerson Point Preserve

Thursday 17th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – TREETOTS: SIZE WIZE –  Is a coconut smaller than a lady bug? No! Let’s explore the world of sizes both big and small found in nature.  Using songs, exploration, and activities your tiny family members will discover the amazing natural wonders, big and small, found in your very own backyard. Program suitable for newborns to 2-year-old. Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5757 ext. 4. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday 17th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – MOLLUSKS MONTHLY – 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 adults. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036 or e-mail elena.burke@mymanatee.org Anna Maria Bayfront Park

Thursday 17th, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM – SCIENCE AND SERVICE BOOK CLUB: SHADOW COUNTRY – Looking for a volunteer opportunity in the cool of the evening at beautiful Robinson Preserve? Come out to the newest part of Robinson for our book club with a service twist. Every month we will read different book from science and history about Florida, and discuss, and follow it with a restoration project in the preserve. This month will be Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen—we will be discussing up to the end. Program is suitable for bookworms 14 and upPlease let us know if you would like to attend by emailing michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6035 to register. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 19th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – RYE PRESERVE NATURE CENTER OPEN – We are opening the doors of the newest addition to Rye Preserve. Come view a variety of exhibits that highlight the history of Rye and its uplands habitat. Department staff will take visitors on guided tours of the Center, and lead special hands-on activities related to each exhibit.  Suitable for all agesNo reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please call 941-748-4501 ext. 6039. Rye Preserve

Saturday 19th, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM – WILDERNESS SURVIVAL 101: ADULTS – Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild?  Join us for a morning of wilderness survival training at Rye Preserve. Try your hand at fire building, learn how to find clean drinking water, practice primitive shelter building, and make a paracord survival bracelet. Program suitable for ages 16 and older. Please bring along a bag lunch or snack.  Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6044 $10 fee per participant, payable by cash only. Rye Preserve  

Saturday 19th, 5:30PM – 7:30PM – FAMILIES FLOCK TOGETHER: MAD ABOUT MOTHS CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – Do you know the difference between a butterfly and a moth? What does it mean to be nocturnal? Build a moth sheet with us – a fun activity to observe moths that you can do at home! As the sun sets on Rye Preserve we’ll roast marshmallows and learn about the amazing world of moths. Program suitable for all ages. Please bring along a camp chair if you have one. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6044Rye Preserve

Thursday 24th, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM – HOMESCHOOL BIOLOGY LABS: TARDIGRADES –  Tardigrades, commonly called water bears, are micro animals capable of withstanding some of the harshest conditions on earth. They can live anywhere from inside a volcano, to the bottom of the deep sea, to the moss in your own backyard. Learn about the adaptations that make these extremophiles such successful survivalists. Collect moss samples in the field and use microscopes to find any tardigrades or other microorganisms living in the moss. Program recommended for students 11 years and older. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6044$10 Materials Fee per student, payable by cash only. Emerson Point Preserve

Friday 25th, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM – COASTAL CLIMATE WALK: RESILIENCE– Introducing a NEW 7-Part Coastal Climate Walk series from Around the Bend Nature Tours featuring interpretive walks on the effects of climate change on our coastal environment. Discover how Florida's land managers re-create a coastline with an exploration of native plants, animals, gopher tortoise habitat, new seagrass meadows. Program suitable for adults. All walks are short with lots of time interpreting the natural and cultural history. Participants should wear walking shoes and dress for the weather. Reservations are required. Register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/coastal-climate-walk-resilience-tickets-52447691457 $25 Program Registration. Emerson Point Preserve

Friday 25th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM – TALL TAILS TRIBE: ABC HIKE – A is for ant and B is for bark. What do you think C will stand for? Come and join our preschoolers on a nature hike searching for all the letters of the alphabet. We will trek through Emerson Point Preserve exploring different habitats and discover new nature words.  Program suitable for preschool age children. Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5757 ext. 3Emerson Point Preserve

Saturday 26th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – NEST NATURE DAYS – The brand-new Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology will open its doors for a day of exploration. This month, let your visit to Robinson Preserve inspire your creativity and compose an original poem! We will be collecting nature-inspired poems from NEST visitors to be displayed on our very own Poetree. Explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panorama 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, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 26th, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM – WILD KIDS WEEKENDS: WILDERNESS SURVIVAL 101 – Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild?  Join us for a kid friendly introduction to wilderness survival at Rye Preserve. Try your hand at fire building, make your own sling shot, practice primitive shelter building, and make a paracord survival bracelet. Program suitable for children ages 9 and up and their families.  Parents must stay with their child throughout the program. Please bring along a bag lunch or snack. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6044 $10 Material Fee per child, payable by cash only. Rye Preserve   

Saturday 26th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – *NEW* ANIMAL PHYSICS - Why don’t woodpeckers get concussions? How does a sea turtle find its way to the same nesting beach each year? How does an octopus change color to blend into the deep see? The answers to these questions can be explained by physics! Join us for a unique exploration into the world of animal physics and discover topics such as force, magnetism, light, and sound, through experiments and activities. This month we will stick to the topic of magnetism and investigate the ways animals utilize Earth’s magnetic field. Program suitable for ages 8 and up, but all are welcome. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036 or email elena.burke@mymanatee.org. $5 Materials Fee per participant, payable by cash only. Emerson Point Preserve

Monday 28th, 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM – UPPER GAMBLE CREEK PADDLE – Add another section of Manatee's Blueway Trails to your bucket list. Join our nature guide from WayneAdventures who will lead a 1-way paddle down this meandering river as it winds for several miles through oak hammocks and salt marshes before joining with the Upper Manatee river to form the Manatee River. We will launch from the Mulholland Rd bridge where it crosses Gamble Creek and take out at the Ft. Hamer boat launch. While not for first time kayakers, beginning kayakers who can paddle 4-6 miles are welcome. Program is suitable is for adults who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Participants must provide their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5757 ext. 7. Mulholland Rd

Wednesday, 30th, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM – INTERMEDIATE KAYAKING SKILLS – Announcing a NEW kayaking skills class by WayneAdventures. If you have some experience and want to be a better paddler, come on out as we learn, practice and improve our paddling skills. Depending on the weather, we may finish the class with assisted rescue skills. This class is a prerequisite to future advanced trips such as Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge, Rattlesnake Key and more. We will launch from Bayfront Park on Anna Maria Island. Class will be on water around Bean Point on the gulf and bay sides of Anna Maria Island. This area is subject to currents and winds. Program is suitable is for adults who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Participants must provide their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5757 ext. 7. Anna Maria Bayfront Park

Wednesday 30th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM – COIL POTTERY: BOWLS – Get bowled over by a fun 
clay-tastic project! Slip into an afternoon of clay creations using the coil pot technique to create beautiful and whimsical bowls. Explore different patterns and styles of bowls while exploring the history of ceramics, and create your very own, one of a kind functional art.  Program suitable for adults ages 16 and up. Please let us know if you would like to attend or for pricing by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext.6034. $20 Materials Fee per participant, payable by cash only. Emerson Point Preserve

Thursday 31st, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – GREEN EXPLORERS: FABRICATING FORTS – 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 own creativity attendees will have a chance to play in nature. Green Explorers is a low structure, highly social and experienced based activity. Program recommended for age 6-12 year olds, but all ages welcome.Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5757 ext.4. Rye Preserve

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 olderTo receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, send an email to Erin at Erin.Struzzieri@mymanatee.org.Location and time TBA - chosen based on need

 

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
Download the Eligibility Requirements