Education Programs & Events

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Program Spotlight

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 sara[email protected] to set up a private program.

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November 2022 Calendar of Events 

Download a printable version of the November Calendar of Events 

Friday, Nov 18th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMOyster Shell Drilling for Vertical Oyster GardensVolunteers Wanted!  Come help us drill holes into oyster shells that will be used to make Vertical Oyster Gardens, also known as VOGs. These VOGs will be installed at a later time under docks and other structures to provide a surface for live oysters to attach themselves. Oysters feed by filtering and cleaning water, a key to a healthy estuary. Program suitable for adults. All materials will be provided. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House

Friday, Nov 18th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTall Tails Tribe: ABC WalkA is for ant and B is for bark. What do you think C will stand for? Come and bring your preschoolers on a nature hike searching for all the letters of the alphabet. We will trek through Emerson Point Preserve exploring different habitats and discovering new nature words. Program suitable for preschool-age children. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected]. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Emerson Point – First parking lot on the right

Friday, Nov 18th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Walking in the PastCome walk in history's footsteps as we explore the Indigenous cultures and pioneers that inhabited Manatee County's preserves. Learn all about the skills practiced by Florida's early inhabitants. Measure the distance you can throw a spear with an atlatl, explore ancient fishing gear, and practice your fire-building skills. Program recommended for students ages 7-13 Guardians are responsible for identifying the learning maturity of their child. Please note the location of this session. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/439719000367. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point – Large Pavilion

Friday, Nov 18th, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: Around the CampfireCalling all lovers of s’mores!  Do you ever yearn for evenings past, sitting around the fire with friends, roasting s’mores, singing silly songs, and playing campfire games?  If so, we invite you to bring the whole family along for a classic campfire experience.  We will start with a short sunset hike at Rye Preserve, followed by songs, games, and s’mores around the campfire.  Spaces are limited for this popular program. Please register early! Program suitable for all ages. There is bench seating around the campfire, but feel free to bring your own camp chair. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/440425172547. Rye Preserve – Campground

Saturday, Nov 19th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMScience By the Sea: All About ROVs High School WorkshopJoin us for a morning of marine science and learn all about Remote Operated Vehicles or ROVS used for marine research.  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://bit.ly/SciencebytheSea. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom

Saturday, Nov 19th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM OR 4:00 PM - 5:00 PMLooking for Ithaca: An OdysseyAn epic Greek poem becomes an adventure of universal proportions in this 45-minute adaptation of Homer’s iconic tale, presented by Asolo Rep and produced by the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Looking for Ithaca: An Odyssey is an imaginative retelling of the classic journey of a family that has been fractured by war and unseen forces. The story is told through the eyes of a family fighting their way back to one another: Odysseus, a father whose yearning for his wife and child drives him to traverse the dangers hidden in the sea; Penelope, a mother protecting what’s left of her home and her family; and Telemachus, a son embarking on an Odyssey of his own, looking to fill the shoes of an unknown father. They may return home, but that isn’t where their journey ends. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Asolo Rep and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Please bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on while you enjoy this outdoor performance.  You may also wish to bring sunscreen and bug spray. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.asolorep.org/events/detail/looking-for-ithaca-an-odyssey. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Nov 19th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMHike with a Librarian Hike with a Manatee County Librarian along the trails of Emerson Point 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 local fauna and flora and the history of the area. If there is still time after the talk, we will walk around the park at a leisurely pace. There will be a special focus on the temple mounds found at this preserve and the native peoples of our area. Book title: Florida Native American Heritage Trail. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateelibrary.libcal.com/event/9364935. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Emerson Point Preserve – In front of the Classroom

Saturday, Nov 19th, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PMWild Florida 101: Native American Heritage TourJoin us for a guided sunset tour following archeologist Rachael Kangas around the largest temple mound of the Tampa Bay area and discover for yourself what life was like for Native Americans on Snead Island. Learn about tools of the past and the early history of Emerson Point Preserve. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Florida Public Archeologist Network in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/439759210637. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

Tuesday, Nov 22nd, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMWild Florida 101: Native American Heritage TourJoin us for a guided walk through Neal Preserve as we explore the history of the Native American tribes in the area. We'll take a closer look at the reconstructed burial mounds and climb the observation tower for a scenic view of this coastal preserve. Program suitable for ages 12 and older. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/439839962167. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Neal Preserve – Pavilion

Wednesday, Nov 23rd, 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/432995510227. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach South – Longboat Key Bridge

Recurring Programs

Saturday, Nov 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 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, Nov 5th, 12th, 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

*Please note the Robinson NEST building will be closed on Saturday, Nov. 19th for the Asolo Looking for Ithaca Performance and on Saturday, Nov. 26th for the Thanksgiving Holiday. The grounds and Canopy Zone play area will remain open from sunrise to sunset.*

Nov 15th, 16th, 18th, 30th, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PMScience By the Sea: How Do Scientists Collect Data?Join us for an in-depth look at how scientists collect data.  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 students in grades 6-12. 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://bit.ly/SciencebytheSea. 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.

DECEMBER 2022 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the December Calendar of Events  

Saturday, Dec 3rd, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Emerson PointCasually stroll through the beautiful Emerson Point Preserve and learn about Florida's native plants and inhabitants of a coastal environment. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in partnership with Manatee County. Please meet at the first parking area on the RIGHT at the Observation Tower (not at the Ranger Station) at 9 AM. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking on uneven terrain. Bring a water bottle, sun and insect protection. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/468427307687. For more information please contact [email protected]. Emerson Point Preserve – Observation Tower Parking Area

Saturday, Dec 3rd, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMKeep Manatee Beautiful: First Saturday Clean upJoin a team of fellow volunteers for KMB's first Saturday Clean Up! Come out and help us Keep Manatee Beautiful by cleaning up Jiggs Landing Preserve! Suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Keep Manatee Beautiful in partnership with Manatee County. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.manateebeautiful.com/event-details/1st-saturdays-cleanup-jiggs-landing. For more information please contact [email protected]. Jiggs Landing

Saturday, Dec 3rd, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMHike with a LibrarianHike with a Manatee County Librarian along the trails of Perico Preserve and discuss a non-fiction book while enjoying Florida's scenery. After the discussion, a Manatee County Natural Resources guide will talk about the local fauna and flora with an emphasis on the amazing range of bird life. If there is still time after the talk, we will walk around the park at a leisurely pace. There will be a special focus on birds and bird watching. Book title: What It's Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing--What Birds Are Doing, and Why. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://manateelibrary.libcal.com/event/9364943. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-5555 ext. 6334. Perico Preserve

Saturday, Dec 3rd, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PMStarry Night AstronomyJoin 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 and 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://robinsonastronomy.eventbrite.com. Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Lot

Tuesday, Dec 6th, 8:30 AM – 11:30 AMNative Seed HarvestWant to learn about native seed collection and help our land managers collect seeds? Escape the city sounds and spend the morning in nature at this vast 20,000-acre preserve helping collect native seeds for dispersing later on in other Manatee County Preserves. Program suitable for volunteers 16 and older. All harvesting tools will be provided.  Please wear sun protection, closed-toe shoes, and bring a water bottle. Long sleeve shirt and long pants are recommended as participants will be walking through brush. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected]. Duette Preserve – Ranger Station

Wednesday, Dec 7th, 8:00 AM – 10:00 AMManatee Audubon Society Birding Tour: Emerson PointSearch the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Our Audubon guide 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 suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Manatee County Audubon Society in partnership with Manatee County. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 592-7622. Emerson Point Preserve – Ranger's Station

Wednesday, Dec 7th, 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. No reservations required. View info online at https://soarin4.org/ The Bishop Museum

Wednesday, Dec 7th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PMCareer Night at the NESTAre 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 high school and college students, or those interested in entering an environmentally-related career. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/433000675677. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday, Dec 8th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMGreen Explorers: WildcraftingHolidays are approaching, and it’s time to get crafty! More precisely, wildcrafting! Wildcrafting is mindfully harvesting natural items and using your imagination to make unique pieces. Green Explorers is a low-structure, highly social, and experienced-based activity. Program suitable for all ages but recommended for 6- 12 year-olds. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Conservatory Park – Pavilion

Friday, Dec 9th, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PMA Night Before ChristmasGet ready for family fun at the annual Night Before Christmas event at GT Bray's 51st St Park! Santa and Mrs. Clause will be visiting the park and taking pictures with the children. The event will feature festive activities, face painting, and a holiday movie playing at the amphitheater. Local vendors will be showing their holiday spirit and the food truck line-up has your dinner covered! Event entry is FREE, however, a donation per family of one new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots is kindly suggested. This awesome event is great for kids of all ages. $5 WRISTBANDS are sold for a variety of activities, including bouncing, sliding and crawling over the inflatables, and being festively face-painted. BEAT THE LINES: Wristbands will be on sale at the GT Bray Park front desk beginning 12/2/22! *No refunds or replacements will be issued. Cash only at event entrance on 12/9. Event parking is located near the Recreation Center, accessible from 33rd Ave Dr W. NO event parking is available in 51st St Park. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. GT Bray Park – Parking at Recreation Center

Saturday, Dec 10th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Riverview PointeCasually stroll through to enjoy the beautiful Riverview Pointe Preserve and learn about Florida's native plants and inhabitants of a coastal environment. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in partnership with Manatee County. Tour begins in the parking area of DeSoto National Memorial Park and enters into Riverview Pointe Preserve. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking on uneven terrain. Bring a water bottle, sun and insect protection. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/441206910747. For more information please contact [email protected]. Riverview Pointe Preserve – Parking at DeSoto National Memorial

Monday, Dec 12th, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PMSunset Tai Chi at the NESTJoin 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://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

Thursday, Dec 15th, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PMWildlife Spotlight: ShorebirdsFound along the sandy coastline, shorebirds are a diverse, unique group of animals! Join us for a sunset walk along Coquina Beach to look for shorebirds like skimmers, plovers, and gulls, and learn to identify them. Discover the important role shorebirds play in our ecosystem, and enjoy the beautiful beach sunset. Binoculars recommended. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/465259071407. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach – Gulfside South Pavilion

Thursday, Dec 15th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTreeTots: Size WiseIs a coconut smaller than a ladybug? 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-olds. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday, Dec 15th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Holiday in the SunSnowy winters? Not in Florida! Join us to learn about some of the migratory wildlife who enjoy the sandy Florida winters as we explore, play games, and make a holiday craft. Program recommended for students ages 7-13. Guardians are responsible for identifying the learning maturity of their child. Please note the location of this session. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/465786960337. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Rye Preserve – Pavilion

Friday, Dec 16th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMStory Walk Spruce-UpHelp us spruce up the Bennett Park Story Walk by painting the sign frames, replacing the Plexiglas, and changing out a new story for the little ones to enjoy! Program suitable for volunteers 16 and older. All materials will be provided. Please bring a water bottle and wear sun protection and comfortable clothing that can get dirty. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected]. Bennett Park – South Parking Lot

Friday, Dec 16th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTall Tails Tribe: Pining for PinesOh, pine tree, oh pine tree, how beautiful thy branches. Come to Emerson Point Preserve and discover the weird, wonderful, festive pine tree! Whether long leaf or sand, scrub or slash pine, our conifers are the foundation of our forests. Using hands-on exploration, crafts, and games your preschooler will discover the importance of our pine trees. Program suitable for Preschool age children. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavillion

Friday, Dec 16th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Holiday in the SunSnowy winters? Not in Florida! Join us to learn about some of the migratory wildlife who enjoy the sandy Florida winters as we explore, play games, and make a holiday craft. Program recommended for students ages 7-13 Guardians are responsible for identifying the learning maturity of their child. Please note the location of this session. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/465809598047. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

Friday, Dec 16th, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PMSunset Tower WalkJoin us for a relaxing evening stroll at Neal Preserve!  Enjoy a sunset walk to the tower and take in beautiful views of Anna Maria Sound. After the sun goes down, we will return by moonlight, discovering the variety of wildlife that visits the preserve after dark. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/467603603967. Neal Preserve

Saturday, Dec 17th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Perico PreserveExplore one of Manatee County's coastal preserves and learn about Florida's native plants, how they benefit wildlife, and how they can be used in the home landscape. Learn about the wide variety of ecosystems on display and how the preserve was transformed into what it is today. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Manatee County UF IFAS Extension in partnership with Manatee County. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/446074058517. For more information please contact [email protected]. Perico Preserve – Pavilion

Saturday, Dec 17th, 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 Manatee County UF IFAS Extension in partnership with Manatee County. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/446062233147. For more information please contact [email protected]. Rye Preserve

Saturday, Dec 17th, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM OR 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMYouth Archery (2 Sessions)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://DecemberArchery.eventbrite.com. For more information please contact [email protected]. Rye Preserve

Saturday, Dec 17th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: Nature Ornament MakingNature provides us with great materials for creating beautiful works of art! In this program, we will use natural materials to create special holiday ornaments. These handmade projects will be perfect for decorating your tree and make for a lovely, thoughtful gift. Don’t forget to bring your creativity! Program suitable for all ages. 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. 6036. $5 Materials fee. Payable online. Robinson Preserve Expansion – Screened Pavilion

Tuesday, Dec 20th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMEmerson Enhancers: Trail TrimmingJoin us for a morning on the trails at Emerson Point Preserve! We will be hiking the amazing network of trails, trimming back encroaching vines and branches, picking up any litter along the way, and learning about this incredible preserve! Volunteers must be 16 and older to volunteer without a guardian present. Please bring a water bottle and wear comfortable closed-toe shoes. Long lightweight clothing is recommended. All other materials will be provided. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected]. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavillion

Tuesday, Dec 27th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMWonder Walk: Neal Preserve“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” to explore Neal Preserve. Guided by a naturalist, climb the tower and peer over the boardwalks. Search the skies for fliers and the water for swimmers. While exploring the preserve, you never know what memorable natural sight you will spy! Program suitable for all ages. Reservations not required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Neal Preserve – Pavilion

Wednesday, Dec 28th, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AMExplore Nature! Outreach BoothNeeding a dose of the great outdoors? Explore Nature! brings Nature to your local park! Stroll by to learn about the exciting recreational opportunities that Manatee County's parks and preserves have to offer.  A naturalist guide will be on-site to answer your questions and share a variety of animal biofacts! Program suitable for all ages. Free activities and coloring books while supplies last. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Conservatory Park – Playground

Thursday, Dec 29th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMExplore Nature! Tower TalksVisit 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) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Robinson Preserve – Tower

Friday, Dec 30th, 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/seashell-shore-walk-december-2022-registration-465279723177. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach South – Longboat Key Bridge

Friday, Dec 30th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMOyster Shell Drilling for Vertical Oyster GardensVolunteers wanted! Come help us drill holes into oyster shells that will be used to make Vertical Oyster Gardens, also known as VOGs. These VOGs will be installed at a later time under docks and other structures to provide a surface for live oysters to attach themselves. Oysters feed by filtering and cleaning water, a key to a healthy estuary that benefits all living things, including manatees. Program suitable for adults. Please bring a water bottle. All other materials will be provided. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House

Friday, Dec 30th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMNature Tales: Terrific TreesDoes your kiddo enjoy stories and nature? Join us at Conservatory Park in our newest program Nature Tales. Each month we will meet at Conservatory Park for an interactive story time and activities in the great outdoors. This month we will explore the terrific trees found in your Florida backyard. Program suitable for 8 year-olds and younger. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Conservatory Park – Pavilion

Recurring Programs

Multiple Days, Dec 3rd, 10th, 17th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMMornings 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