Education Programs & Events

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Program Spotlight

Sunday Yoga At the NEST

EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

All of our public events are open to individuals and immediate family members. For groups we ask that each family register individually. Large group reservations for public programs will not be accepted. If you have a school, camp, club, or other group that would like to participate in a program, please contact sarah.denison@mymanatee.org to set up a private program.

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June 2021 Calendar of Events

Download a Printable Version of the June Calendar of Events

Wednesday, Jun 2nd, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PMSoar in 4 Family NightSoar in 4 is a monthly drive-thru program the first Wednesday of each month in Bradenton. Families drive by 14 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. No reservations required. For more information please visit https://www.soarin4.org/. DeSoto Mall – GoStoreIt Parking Lot

Friday, Jun 4th, 9:00 AM – 10:00 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 is suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/152902127379. For more information please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach – South Pavilion

Saturday, Jun 5th, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PMWorld OceanS Day DIP NETCalling all budding marine biologists! Join us to celebrate World Oceans Day, a program honoring our salty waters. Dip your net into the water and discover the creatures beneath the waves. Learn amazing facts about our local wildlife and watershed. Program is suitable for children and their families. Reservations are required. To register please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Tuesday, Jun 8th, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AMTortoise TalkIt's tortoise time! Join us for this informal program on the Valentine House lawn as we take our education tortoise, Genbu, out to graze. Foraging in the wild is an integral part of a gopher tortoise's lifestyle, so we encourage our captive tortoise to graze as much as possible. Get up close with Genbu and learn what tortoises need to survive, how we care for our tortoise, and why we have him. Finally, discover what efforts everyone can take to protect these important members of our Florida ecosystems. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House Lawn

Thursday, Jun 10th, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PMRobinson Expansion Salt Marsh PlantingMake a direct impact on the restoration of Robinson Preserve! Join us for a salt marsh volunteer planting day at the Robinson Expansion. Salt marshes are essential for healthy fisheries, coastlines, and communities. This important coastal habitat provides food, refuge, and a nursery for fish, shrimp, crabs, and birds. Salt marshes protect shorelines from erosion while filtering runoff and improving water quality. Be prepared to get wet and muddy at these workdays, which may require wading through waist-deep water to reach interior islands. Closed-toe shoes that strap or tie tightly to your feet are recommended as well as sun protection (long sleeve shirt and pants, hat, sunscreen). Don't forget to bring your water bottle and a snack! Program is suitable for volunteers 16 and older. All necessary tools for harvesting and planting will be provided. Each workday will be limited to 10 participants to facilitate physical distancing. Face coverings are required when distancing is not possible. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/141294350205. For more information please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House 

Saturday, Jun 12th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – STORYTIME IN NATURE: MAPLE - Bring your little ones to Conservatory Park for an interactive storytelling in nature! We will be reading “Maple” by Lori Nichols. In the book, Maple grows alongside her maple tree but has to make space in her yard and heart for her new little sister, Willow, and her tree. After the reading, we will observe trees at Conservatory Park and make a fun craft to take home. Program suitable for children ages 7 and under and their families. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/154556000157. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Conservatory Park

Saturday, Jun 19th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: Sidewalk Science!From the sidewalk to the trees, chemistry is everywhere! Come explore chemical reactions, temperature, and more at Conservatory Park through activities and games.  Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/154558587897. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Conservatory Park

Thursday, Jun 24th, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AMWildlife Spotlight: Wading BirdsHerons, spoonbills, and wood storks, oh my! Explore the wonderful world of wading birds at this month’s Wildlife Spotlight. Learn to spot and identify Manatee County’s most common wading bird species, and take a nature walk to put your birding skills to the test. Discover their amazing adaptations, and the crucial role they play in the Florida ecosystem. Program is suitable for adults ages 18 and over. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/153051321623. For more information please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Perico Preserve

Thursday, Jun 24th, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PMRobinson Full Moon PaddleJoin us for an easy sunset paddle along the salt marshes of Robinson Preserve to the mouth of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay. We will take advantage of low tide to watch the sunset from the sandbar and return under the light of the full moon and stars. Program suitable for ages 16 and older 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 and bring a flashlight or headlamp and whistle. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/155843481047. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – 17th Ave NW Entrance

Recurring Events

Saturday, Jun 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. No reservations required. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6047. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Jun 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMScience by the SeaJoin Shark Scientist Jasmin Graham and learn about the ocean and the animals who live in it while getting your feet wet at one of the coolest preserves in Manatee County! Activities include collecting and analyzing water samples, building Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), coding, learning boat and water safety, as well as getting up close and personal with some aquatic animals. Program suitable for rising 6th through 9th graders and their parents or guardians. Program sponsored by MISS - Minorities in Shark Sciences and West Marine in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Student participants must attend with a parent or guardian and can register for all four sessions. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://REGISTER.MISSELASMO.ORG/2021. For more information please contact learningwithjasmin@gmail.com. Emerson Point Preserve

Saturday, Jun 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 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 ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday, Jun 6th, 13th, 20th,10:30 AM – 11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body, and Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement, and mindfulness to promote clarity of mind while developing physical strength and stamina, increasing flexibility, burning calories, and detoxifying the body! Increase your overall well-being by ending and beginning your week with this empowering and uplifting flow! Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Online registration is highly encouraged as spaces are limited. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110006. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable Online. 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. 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 16 and older. To register please contact Erin.Struzzieri@mymanatee.org. 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