Education Programs & Events

CONTACT US +

  • Program Reservations
  • (941) 742-5757

Want updates in your inbox?

Sign up for our Calendar of Events:

EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

Initial value

September 2018 Programs & Events

Download the September Calendar
 ‚Äč

Saturday 1st, 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM – ADULT ARCHERY – Adult Archery is back! 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

 

Saturday 1st, 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 ages. No reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please call 941-748-4501 ext. 6039. Rye Preserve

 

Saturday 1st, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM – 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 email aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. Rye Preserve

 

Tuesday 4th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – LIBRARY LEARNINGS: NATURE’S MOVEMENT AND MUSIC – Get your tot hopping, waddling, and howling in this interactive day of nature fun. Discover the beat of a frog, rhythm of rain, and flutter of a butterfly. Puppets, play, and games make for an exciting learning experience. Program suitable for preschool age children. For more information please call 941-748-4501 ext. 6034. Island Library

 

Wednesday 5th, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – TORTOISE TALKS – Join us for this informal program on the Valentine House lawn as we take our new 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, why we have him, and what efforts we can take to protect these important members of our Florida ecosystems. Program suitable for all ages. To register or for more information, please email amy.may@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6044. Robinson Preserve

 

Saturday 8th, 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

Saturday 8th, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – *NEW* STROLLER STROLLS: EMERSON POINT – Round up your baby buggies and take your little ones for a rolling naturalist led walk through the county’s wild spaces. Open your child’s eyes to the sights, smells, and feel of Florida’s great outdoors while safely wheeled around.  Meet other nature explorer families with similar aged kids. Program suitable for newborns 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. Emerson Point Preserve

 

Saturday 8th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM  SNORKELING 101: EMERSON POINT– Splash into Manatee County’s Snorkeling 101 Program. Explore the world hiding below the waves and get a glimpse of local wildlife. Learn how to use snorkel equipment, water safety, and laws pertaining to this fun recreational activity. We will explore simple ways to conserve and protect the estuarial environment. All participants must be able to competently swim. Snorkeling gear made possible by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program License Plate program.  Program suitable for ages 12 and up. Each family must come with a participating adult. 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. Emerson Point Preserve

 

Saturday 8th, 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. 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 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

 

Tuesday 11th, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM SUNSET TAI CHI – Join us for this new monthly class, now on the lawn of the newly-opened Mosaic NEST! At sunset on the second Tuesday of the month, Dr. Brian Nell, a fifth degree blackbelt in kung fu and 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.  Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts. Suitable for ages 13 and up. Please call 941-742-5923 for ext. 6039 to register. $5 Participant Fee payable by cash only. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

  

Tuesday 11th, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM - LET'S TALK COYOTES – Please join us for a community presentation on these urban animals. Coyotes can be found throughout Florida and in every state except Hawaii and are well suited to urban and suburban environments. Staff from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources will be available for questions. Program offered in partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. For questions or more information please contact Erin Struzzieri at erin.struzzieri@mymanatee.org Palma Sola Botanical Park

 

Thursday 13th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – BUTTERFLY GARDEN CLEANUP – Grab your trowels and gardening gloves! We will be beautifying the garden around the Valentine House for insects, animals, and visitors alike. This native pollinator garden provides homes for these beneficial creatures and inspiration for locals to plant their own native gardens. Program suitable for ages 10 and up with parental supervision. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6035. Robinson Preserve

 

Thursday 13th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – TREETOTS: COLOR OF NATURE – Blue of the water, green of the grass, and yellow of the sun. Bring your youngest tadpoles for an adventure into the palette of nature. Using flowers, shells, and wildlife we will explore the world of color found in our own backyard.  Program suitable for newborns to 2 year-olds. 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

 

Saturday 15th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – GIVE A DAY WITH TAMPA BAY ESTUARY PROGRAM – Join us for a morning giving back to beautiful Robinson Preserve! Volunteers are needed to put wetland plants in their new homes beside our freshwater ponds. Bring your gardening gloves, closed-toed shoes, and sense of adventure for a day planting in the expansion. Your hard work will help us grow. Program suitable for ages ten and up with parental supervision. Registration is required. Please visit http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=e6budacab&oeidk=
a07efmpjw6x2b342517
Robinson Preserve Expansion

 

Saturday 15th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 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 ages. No reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please call 941-748-4501 ext. 6039. Rye Preserve

  

Sunday 16th, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM –  BILINGUAL EXPLORERS: THE STORY OF THE CUBAN RANCHOS – Join us as we kickoff Hispanic Heritage month learning about the Cuban fisherman that created settlements known as “Ranchos” all along the Gulf Coast of Florida starting in the mid-1700’s and their contributions to what we know as Manatee County today. The influence of these Cuban Ranchos helps establish the interesting history of how the Gulf Coast of Florida became a hub for trade and cultural exchange. Learn about how they found temporary settlements in the abandoned villages of the indigenous populations, get a glimpse into the routes taken from Havana to Manatee, and create your own fish print. Program suitable for ages 13 and older. This program will have information and conversation in both Spanish and English. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6047 or emailing  paola.baezperez@mymanatee.org Emerson Point Preserve

 

Domingo el 16, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – EXPLORADORES BILINGÜES: LA HISTORIA DE LOS RANCHOS CUBANOSAcompáñenos al inicio del mes de la herencia hispana para aprender sobre los pescadores cubanos y sus "ranchos" que establecieron a lo largo de la costa del Golfo de la Florida incluyendo lo que es hoy el condado de Manatee. Empezando a mediados del 1700’s las contribuciones de estos pescadores hispanos ayudaron establecer la historia interesante de cómo esta región, una vez muy quieta, se convirtió en un centro para el intercambio comercial y cultural. Aprenda cómo encontraron asentamientos temporales en los pueblos abandonados de la gente indígena, toma una mirada a las rutas de estos marineros expertos, y tengas la oportunidad de crear tu propia pintura de un pez. El programa es para gente mayor de 13 años de edad. Este programa tendrá información y conversación en español y ingles. Haga una reservación por correo electrónico paola.baezperez@mymanatee.org o por teléfono 941-742-5923 ext. 6047. Emerson Point Preserve

 

Mondays September 17th – November 5th, 10:15 AM – 11:30 AM – TINKERGARTEN AT RYE PRESERVE – Every Monday this Fall, families meet outdoors to connect and learn through play. In a 5-part class each week, Tinkergarten Leader, Kristin Trezza, will facilitate an expert-designed play scenario, allowing children of various ages and needs to explore, problem solve, communicate, collaborate, and create together. Parents and caregivers learn, too, as we’ll share insight into your child’s development. The program progresses to meet each child’s needs season after season. This fall, the curriculum for 18 months-8 years will support the development of a range of cognitive, social/emotional and physical skills. Our focus skill area for the season will be focus and self-control. Program sponsored by Tinkergarten in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department. Reservations are required. To reserve your space, please visit https://tinkergarten.com/classes/56323 $140 per student for 8 sessions. Rye Preserve

 

Tuesday 18th, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM CANINE COGNITION: PART 2 – Calling all dog lovers! Join us for an informative chat about what’s really going on inside the canine brain. Learn about the latest research in dog psychology, and discover the answers to life’s greatest questions such as, “Does my dog miss me?”, and “Is my dog smart?”. This program will leave you with a greater understanding of man’s best friend. Program suitable for dog owners ages 16 and up. This program is for humans only, please leave pups at home. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036 or e-mail elena.burke@mymanatee.org   Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Wednesday 19th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – BEAUTY BUBBLES COLLAGE-MAKING – Center yourself, focus your intentions, and let your creative side free. Join us for a morning of making “Beauty Bubbles” and learn how art can be its own form of meditation. This program will feature a centering exercise to find your inspiration and see where it leads you by developing your own collage. Collage is the perfect medium to make reflection boards as an expression of who you are, a goal board that represents future goals you would like to achieve, or you can just have fun and piece together images you love in an abstract way. Program suitable for ages 16 and older. Reservations are required. Please reserve your spot by emailing melissa.nell@mymanatee.org $5 material fee, payable by cash only. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

 

Thursday 20th, 10:00 AM -11:00 AM – *NEW* SEEDS OF PLAY: TORTOISE TREASURE TROVE – Explore the building blocks of play with your young learner in a new interactive program. Meet Genbu, our resident gopher tortoise, and learn about the importance of these amazing creatures. Build your very own tortoise-themed sensory bottles using peas and other seeds that will engage your child’s senses long after the program has ended.  Program suitable for 2 to 5 year-olds. 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. $12 fee per child, payable by cash only. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

 

Thursday 20th, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM –SCIENCE AND SERVICE BOOK CLUB— 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 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Program is suitable for bookworms 14 and up. Please 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 22nd, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – CITIZEN SCIENCE TEA BAG EXTRAVAGANZA – Wetland soils hold one of the highest concentration of soil carbon on Earth, and scientist are currently studying how the excess carbon effects the ecosystem.  In honor of the National Estuaries Week, join us for a brand-new 2-part citizen science volunteer experience to study carbon in soils across several Manatee County preserves. Volunteers will travel in small groups of 3-5 individuals to “plant” tea bags in sites around the county. We will be removing the bags in December for further study. These data will be shared as part of the global citizen science effort called the “Tea Bag Index” that aims to understand soil carbon storage in ecosystems around the world. Please note that this event will require walking into mangroves, crouching, and digging. Program sponsored by Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.  Program suitable for volunteers 16 and older. Registration is required. Please visit http://events.constantcontact.com/register/
event?llr=e6budacab&oeidk=a07efmplghv1be4f806
 Meet at GT Bray Park before traveling to other locations

 

Saturday 22nd, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – SUN SPOTTING – See the sun as you have never seen it before. Join us for a special look through a Hydrogen Alpha solar telescope. Come see the sun in perfectly safe H Alpha light and observe solar granulation, filaments, sunspots, and even solar flares. Stop by the NEST to say “Hello” and take a look through the solar scope. This is guaranteed to be a unique viewing experience. No reservations needed. For more information please call 941-748-4501 ext. 6039. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

 

Saturday 22nd, 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. 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 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 22th, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM – STARRY NIGHT TELESCOPE EXPLORATION: MOONRISE SPECIAL – Join us after sunset to watch the moon rise over Perico Preserve. Set your gaze skyward and search the heavens for a glimpse into the stars. Get a chance to view the skies through a high-powered telescope. Learn how to identify these heavenly bodies, and how you can star gaze at home too. The preserve is closed after dark, but we’re giving you a special opportunity to explore with a naturalist guide. Suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. Perico Preserve

 

Monday 24th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – NATIONAL ESTUARY DAY PLANTING – Help us celebrate National Estuaries Day with a planting in the newest section of Robinson Preserve! Volunteers are needed to put wetland plants in their new homes beside our freshwater ponds. Bring your gardening gloves, closed-toed shoes, and sense of adventure for a day planting in the expansion. Your hard work will help us grow. Program suitable for volunteers of all ages. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by email aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. Robinson Preserve Expansion

 

Tuesday 25th, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM – SUNSET SHUTTER STROLL AT EMERSON POINT PRESERVE – Few sights are as amazing as the sunsets of Emerson Point. Come photograph the twilight hours among stunning marshes and breathtaking trails. Learn tips and tricks for shooting wildlife and landscapes in the evening light. You’ll have the opportunity to remain in the preserve afterhours to snap a few shots of the post-sunset “blue hour” too! Photography tour suitable for ages 16 and older. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5757 ext. 9. Emerson Point Preserve

Wednesday 26th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – VITAMIN N: MINDFULNESS IN NATURE SILENCE STROLL – Join PNRD naturalist Melissa for a zen-filled hike through the coastal mangrove system. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, quieting our "busy brains" and focusing on the now. Studies have shown mindfulness techniques are great stress relievers and can have a positive impact on physical health too. Melissa will lead the group in a basic mindfulness walk to help participants unwind, relax, and focus. A portion of our walk will be done in silence, and if participants would like, barefoot, in order to completely relax. Suitable for ages 16 and up. Reservations are required. Please call 941-748-4501 ext. 6039. Robinson Preserve

 

Thursday 27th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – GREEN EXPLORERS: PINECONE DETECTIVES –  Delve into the world of the pinecones, amazing seeds that create food, and habitat before they sprout into trees. Discover the different shapes, sizes, and creatures that can be found hiding on each scale.  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 suitable for all ages, but recommended for age 6 to 12 year-olds. 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

 

Friday 28th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM – TALL TAILS TRIBE: SPLISH SPLASH – Water, water everywhere, let’s explore this wet and wonderful liquid! We will learn about the water cycle and discover the importance of water in our everyday lives. Get your little tot ready to splash into some end of summer fun. Program suitable for preschool age children and will involve getting wet. 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. 3. Emerson Point Preserve

 

Saturday 29th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – WILDLIFE SPOTLIGHT: WADING BIRDS – Herons, 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 suitable for adults 18 and up. Reservations are required. Please call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036 or e-mail elena.burke@mymanatee.org 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 age 16 and older. To 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.

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
Download the Eligibility Requirements