Education Programs & Events

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Program Spotlight

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

Summer Camps

Freshwater Fishing Camp at Jiggs Landing

Session 1: June 6-10 Camp Full
Session 2: June 13-17 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Saltwater Fishing Camp at Emerson Point

Session 1: July 11-15 Camp Full
Session 2: July 18-22 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Paddleboard Camp AT ROBINSON PRESERVE

Session 1: June 8-10 Camp Full
Session 2: June 22-24
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Wednesday- Friday
Ages 7-12 | $200

Aquatic Adventure Camp at Robinson Preserve

Session 1: July 25-29 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Archery Camp at Rye Preserve

Session 1: June 20-24   Camp Full
Session 2: June 27-July 1 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Want to sign up for a camp?

Register Today

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

MAY 2022 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the May Calendar of Events 

Saturday, May 21st, 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. Program sponsored by UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167452445773. For more information please contact [email protected]. Rye Preserve

Saturday, May 21st, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AMHike with a LibrarianOne thing we have learned during the Covid-19 pandemic is the importance of connections, not only with our fellow humans and pets but also with nature. Hike with a Manatee County Librarian along the trails of Robinson Preserve and discuss a non-fiction book while enjoying  Florida's scenery. After the discussion, a Manatee County Parks & Natural Resources guide will talk about the plants, flowers, trees, and wildlife found at the preserve. If there is still time after the talk, we will walk around the park at a leisurely pace. The entire walk will be about one mile in length. Book title to be decided. Program Suitable for adults. Reservations are not required. For more information please visit https://manateelibrary.libcal.com/event/8959519 or contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-5555 ext. 3466. Robinson Preserve – North Entrance

Saturday, May 28th, 12:30 PM – 3:00 PMNative Little One Art Club: Nature is Magical!Students of Native Little One Art Club will follow a mindful rhythm and focus on learning through play, place, and project-based learning. In this program, we will discuss how we can identify species in our backyards and notice patterns. We will decorate our own nature journals to keep, create plant superhero cards, and create magic wands out of organic treasures. Students will also create a mini terrarium to take home. Program suitable for ages 4 to 10 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 [email protected] or call (941) 447-8862. $35 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Tuesday, May 31st, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Lunch with Flowers, Weeds, and Other Green GoodiesLearn how to eat the weeds, trees, and flowers too! Certified Clinical Herbalist and Master Naturalist Melissa “Misha” Nell, MS will teach how to forage, or collect plants, safely and sustainably. Class will begin with a plant walk, meeting and learning to identify kid-friendly herbal allies. Then we’ll head indoors to make tasty treats from what we find. We’ll create a variety of snacks from plants collected on our walk, and a few special herbs Misha brings too. Participants will also create their own herbal recipe book, and plant seeds to start their own Florida native edible garden too! Program suitable for ages 8 to 16. 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?primarycode=110009. $20 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Recurring Programs

Wednesday, May 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 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 [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House Lawn

Saturday, May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 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. 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, May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM - Saturday 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

Saturday, May 27th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM and Saturday, May 28th, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Escape Room: Sinking ShipBecome one of Florida’s first commercial fishermen and solve interactive puzzles to escape an arduous journey at sea.  Find hidden clues and collect the items you will need to break free from the ship’s hold. Will you escape or remain trapped under the captain’s hand? Program suitable for all ages. Sessions are limited to 6 participants. Parents or guardians are allowed to accompany their children throughout the experience. 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  Registration Fee – Payable Online. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

 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.


JUNE 2022 Calendar of Events 

Download a printable version of the June Calendar of Events  

Wednesday, Jun 1st, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMBe Prepared: Trees and Tropical WeatherAs we start off this year's hurricane season, join UF/IFAS Extension to learn about how best to plan, maintain and prepare your trees for tropical weather. Program suitable adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/325152920137. For more information please contact [email protected]. $5 Registration Fee Payable Online. UF/IFAS Manatee County Extension Office – Kendrick Auditorium

Wednesday, Jun 1st, 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

Saturday, Jun 4th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMWorld Oceans Day CelebrationToday we will be celebrating World Oceans Day. Come out to the NEST to explore some of our amazing creatures that call Florida's saltwater habitats home. Step inside a mangrove, play a matching game of seashells, build an underwater habitat, and more. Make sure to visit all the ocean activities around the NEST on this salty Saturday. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Friday, Jun 10th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PMExplore Nature! Outreach BoothExplore Nature brings Nature to you! Stroll by and learn more about what Manatee County parks and preserves have to offer. Pick up a free coloring book, craft, or activity, while supplies last. Let our naturalists answer your burning questions and take an up-close look at different animal biofacts! Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo @mymanatee.com or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Pride Park – Adjacent to Splash Pad

Saturday, Jun 11th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMAmazing Air Plants: Tillandsia WorkshopLearn about these amazing epiphytes that only require air and water to live. This is a “make and take” workshop where you will create a palm boot planter using Tillandsia air plants. Program suitable for adults. Bring wire cutters and pliers. Materials fee due by June 9th.  Program limited to 20 participants. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/338977630217. For more information please contact [email protected]. $35 Materials Fee Payable Online. UF/IFAS Manatee County Extension Office – Rogers Auditorium

Monday, Jun 13th, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PMSunset Tai Chi at the NESTJoin us for this monthly 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?primarycode=100004. For more information please contact [email protected]. $10 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST Lawn

Tuesday, Jun 14th, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PMLibrary Learning: "Fin"tastic Sharks and RaysCan a shark really smell a drop of blood a mile away? Join us to discover the superpowers of cartilaginous fish in this program honoring sharks and rays. Dive into shark swimming skills, explore stealthy hunting styles, and so much more. Using movement, experiments, and games your young learners will discover how fantastic these carnivorous fish are! Program suitable for families. Program sponsored by Manatee County Libraries in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Palmetto Library

Wednesday, Jun 15th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMEcoFlora BioblitzJoin staff from Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Manatee County on a quest to document as many plant species as possible for the Sarasota-Manatee EcoFlora Project!  We will utilize the user-friendly iNaturalist app to document plant species on this guided walk. The observations and data we record will help to better inform decisions about the management and conservation of our natural resources. Program suitable for ages 5 and up. Program sponsored by the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. We will park and meet at Anna Maria Bayfront Park and then walk to Bean Point.  Dress for a day in the sun and be prepared to walk up to two miles in the sand. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://7082.blackbaudhosting.com/7082/Anna-Maria-Bioblitz. For more information please contact [email protected]. Anna Maria Bayfront Park

Thursday, Jun 16th, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PMRain Barrels for the Rainy Days of SummerLearn the safe and proper ways to use rain barrels to collect water from your roof gutters to help mitigate stormwater runoff and reduce water usage in your landscape by watering your plants with rainwater! Program suitable for adults. After the Zoom webinar, you will have an opportunity to make an appointment to purchase your own rain barrel and some of the parts you'll need to install it for $30 plus tax. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/297276480957. For more information please contact [email protected]. Online – Zoom

Thursday, Jun 16th, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PMLibrary Learning: Life on the Coral ReefGreet the sea as you explore our crochet coral reef! Make a fun craft and learn about sea turtles and their diet in this interactive children's program. Program suitable for elementary-age children and their families. Program sponsored by Manatee County Libraries in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Braden River Library

Saturday, Jun 18th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSarasota Bay Guardians PlantingJoin the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources for a workday at Robinson Preserve! We will be planting native grasses and groundcovers in the Robinson Expansion area. Afterward, free lunch will be provided for all volunteers in the pavilion area. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, and Tampa Bay Estuary Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Tools, gloves, and plants will be provided. Participants should wear long clothing and closed-toe shoes comfortable for working outdoors, sun protection, and bring a water bottle. There are restrooms and water fountains on-site, and water coolers will also be provided. Reservations are required. To register please visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ej79y1o3e7c3f3c7&llr=bkev5wdbb. Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Lot

Saturday, Jun 18th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMScience by the Sea Middle 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 middle 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

Saturday, Jun 18th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PMNative Little One Art Club: Birds!Students of Native Little One Art Club will follow a mindful rhythm and focus on learning through play, place, and project-based learning. In this program, we will study bird anatomy through a watercolor painting, decorate birdhouses, and create a birdbath. Students will also learn about local species and color a variety of birds in their own identification guide. Program suitable for ages 4 to 10 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. Drop off is allowed. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 447-8862. $35 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Jun 18th, 1:30 PM – 4:30 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/337253001807. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

Tuesday, Jun 21st, 10:00 AM – 10:45 AMLibrary Learning: Seashell StorytimeJoin us at Island 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 ages 5 and under. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Island Library

Thursday, Jun 23rd, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PMMacroalgae Art ClassMacroalgae, also known as seaweed, is a plant-like organism commonly found on our local shorelines. These colorful clumps can be pressed and dried to make beautiful artwork. Join us at the NEST at Robinson Preserve for this educational and creative program where participants learn about macroalgae in Florida’s marine ecosystem and create pressed algae artwork. Program suitable for ages 13 and up. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=AR&fmid=52910232. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. $20 Materials Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Friday, Jun 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/341933571517. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach – Café

Friday, Jun 24th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Dip NetGet your feet wet and explore the shore as we dip our nets in the water. Take a closer look at sea creatures in their natural environment! Who eats who and why are they here? We’ll answer these questions and more! Program suitable for students ages 8 to 13. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/337250995807. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

Recurring Programs

Saturday, Jun 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 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, Jun 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM - Saturday 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

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