Education Programs & Events

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COVID-19 Updates

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Closures, Cancellations and Updates Related to Coronavirus.

We have limited group sizes to comply with social distancing.  Please check out our online program offerings.           

Please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org if you have any questions regarding our programs. 

Register online for 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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OCTOBER 2020 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the October Calendar of Events

Saturday 24th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning 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 panoramic 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. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday 25th 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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://www.mymanatee.org/ecoevents. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742–5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday 26th – Saturday 31stExplorers Academy Virtual Learning: Creatures of the Night WeekRibbit, chirp, growl!  We may not be able to see them, but creatures of the night are all around.  Learn about your nocturnal neighbors with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Facebook page!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, story time, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour. Program suitable for all ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube

Tuesday 27th, 10:00 AM11:00 AMStroller Stroll: Tom Bennett ParkIt's almost Halloween! Round up your baby buggies, walking shoes, your little ones and an optional costume for a rolling naturalist led walk through Manatee County wild spaces. Open your child’s eyes to the sights, smells, and feel of Florida’s great outdoors. Trek the nature walk trail and have your child experience wild spaces firsthand. Meet other nature explorer families with kids of a similar age. Suitable for children and their families. Reservations are required. To register please call 941–742–5923 ex.6034 or email coral.bass@mymanatee.org. Tom Bennett Park

Saturday 31st, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning 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 panoramic 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. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

ONGOING: Self–Guided VolunteeringGrab a friend and do some good for the environment! This Fall we are offering self–guided volunteer opportunities for the solo adventurer or small group. Needs include trash clean–up along our trails and beaches, wildlife photography, and other tasks. Suitable for all ages. For more information please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Available at multiple locations throughout Manatee County

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, please email  Erin.Struzzieri@mymanatee.org Location and time TBA – chosen based on need

NOVEMBER 2020 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the November Calendar of Events

Sunday Nov 1st, 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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

Monday Nov 2nd – Saturday 7th Explorers’ Academy Virtual Learning: Manatee WeekCelebrate Manatee Awareness Month with our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department Facebook page!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, story time, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn about our super sirenians and what you can do to protect them! Suitable  for  all  ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or Youtube

Wednesday Nov 4th, 5:00 PM7:00 PMSoar in 4 Family NightSoar in 4 is a monthly drive-thru program the first Wednesday of each month, held in Bradenton.  Each month a new ‘spotlight book’ will be featured. 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. Visit https://www.soarin4.org/ for more information. DeSoto Mall – Macys Parking Lot

Thursday Nov 5th, 9:00 AM1:00 PMDUETTE BUTTERFLY COUNTMoths, caterpillars, and butterflies oh my! Join us for the fifth annual Duette Butterfly Count and volunteer to keep track of butterfly biodiversity at our largest preserve. Bring your camera, guide books, and sense of adventure for a day out in the wild blue yonder studying these fascinating fliers. Start your very own butterfly checklist while learning how to identify native species. Program is suitable for volunteers 16 and older. Program sponsored by the Wings Over Florida Butterfly Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Duette Preserve

Friday Nov 6th, 9:00 AM11:00 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 bring you up to speed on the latest research in malacology. Learn about ethical seashell collecting methods while discovering a new appreciation for our beautiful shorelines. Program suitable for all ages Reservations are required. To register please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org. Coquina Beach – Café

Friday Nov 6th, 5:30 PM7:30 PMSunset Paddle Robinson PreserveJoin 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 moon and stars. Program suitable for ages 16 and older who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. This is an easy paddle which can be enjoyed by beginning kayakers. 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/125388629767. For more information please contact sarah.denison@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – 17th Ave NW Entrance

Saturday Nov 7th, 9:00 AM10:00 AMYouth Archery Session 1Set 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 Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/125533148025. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Rye Preserve – Sheriff's Youth Ranch

Saturday Nov 7th, 10:00 AM11:00 AMYouth Archery Session 2Set 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 Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/125537308469. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Rye Preserve – Sheriff's Youth Ranch

Saturday Nov 7th, 11:00 AM12:00 PMYouth Archery Session 3Set 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 Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/125537480985. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Rye Preserve – Sheriff's Youth Ranch

Saturday Nov 7th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning 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 panoramic 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. Face coverings are required to enter the buildilng. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday Nov 9th – Saturday 14th Explorers’ Academy Virtual Learning: Ecological Restoration WeekJoin our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department facebook page for Ecological Restoration Week!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, storytime, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn about environmental restoration and the exciting projects happening in your parks and preserves! Suitable  for  all  ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or Youtube

Thursday Nov 12th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMHEADWATERS BUTTERFLY COUNTMoths, caterpillars, and butterflies oh my! Join us for our Headwaters Butterfly Count and volunteer to keep track of butterfly biodiversity at this seldom explored preserve. Bring your camera, guide books, and sense of adventure for a day out in the wild blue yonder studying these fascinating fliers. Start your very own butterfly checklist while learning how to identify native species. Program is suitable for volunteers 16 and older. Program sponsored by the Wings Over Florida Butterfly Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Headwaters Preserve

Saturday Nov 14th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMRYE PRESERVERS VOLUNTEER WORKDAYJoin us for a day off the beaten path, helping maintain the beauty and natural habitats of Rye Preserve. If you love native plants, biodiversity, seeds, and lending a helping hand, this is the workday for you! Volunteers must be 16 and older to volunteer without a guardian present. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Rye Preserve

Saturday Nov 14th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning 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 panoramic 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. Face coverings are required to enter the buildilng. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday Nov 15th, 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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

Monday Nov 16th – Saturday 21st Explorers’ Academy Virtual Learning: Nature's Bounty WeekJoin our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department facebook page for an exploration of all that nature provides in Manatee County!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, storytime, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn about our coastal habitats and the uses and value of the plants and animals that live there! Suitable  for  all  ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or Youtube

Tuesday Nov 17th, 10:00 AM11:00 AMStroller Stroll: PericoRound up your baby buggies, walking shoes, and your little ones for a rolling naturalist led walk through Manatee County wild spaces. Open your child’s eyes to the sights, smells, and feel of Florida’s great outdoors. Trek the nature walk trail and have your child experience wild spaces firsthand. In order to maintain space between families, spots are limited. Program suitable for children ages 0 to 4 and their families. To register please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org Perico Preserve

Thursday Nov 19th, 9:00 AM12:00 PMJohnson Butterfly CountMoths, caterpillars, and butterflies oh my! Join us for our Johnson Preserve Butterfly Count, and volunteer to keep track of butterfly biodiversity at this seldom explored preserve. Bring your camera, guide books, and sense of adventure for a day out by the Braden River studying these fascinating fliers. Start your very own butterfly checklist while learning how to identify native species. Program is suitable for volunteers 16 and older. Program sponsored by the Wings Over Florida Butterfly Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Johnson Preserve

Friday Nov 20th, 10:00 AM12:00 PMLAB IN A BOX: BOTANY AND HYDROPONICSJoin us for an instructor-led virtual laboratory-style experience where young learners will explore the science of plants - Botany! Who studies plants and why? What is pH? How  can you grow your own hydroponic plants at home?  Discover the answers to these questions and more. Most materials will be supplied in the lab box, which must be picked up from GT Bray Park or shipped to the participant prior to the program. Program is suitable for students ages 9 through 13. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=AR&fmid=35673467. For information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6044. $10 Materials Fee + $5 Shipping Fee (Optional) payable online. Virtual Event – Register Online

Saturday Nov 21st, 9:00 AM12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning 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 panoramic 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. Face coverings are required to enter the buildilng. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday Nov 22nd, 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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

Monday Nov 23rd – Saturday 28th Explorers’ Academy Virtual Learning: Native American Heritage WeekJoin our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department facebook page for an exploration of Manatee County's Native American History!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, storytime, kids activities, and a virtual preserve tour.  Tune in each day to learn about Manatee County's first residents, Native Americans! Suitable  for  all  ages. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org.  Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube

Sunday Nov 29th, 10:30 AM11:45 AMRise & Shine YogaRevitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & 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 & beginning your week with this empowering & 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

Thursday Dec 3rd, 9:00 AM11:00 AMConservatory PARK Butterfly CountMoths, caterpillars, and butterflies oh my! Join us for our very first Conservatory Butterfly Count, and volunteer to keep track of butterfly biodiversity at our this neighborhood park. Bring your camera, guide books, and sense of adventure for a day out in the woods studying these fascinating fliers. Start your very own butterfly checklist while learning how to identify native species. Program is suitable for volunteers 16 and older. Program sponsored by In partnership with the Wings Over Florida Butterfly Program. in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Conservatory Park

ONGOING: Self-Guided Volunteering - Grab a friend and do some good for the environment! This Fall we are offering self-guided volunteer opportunities for the solo adventurer or small group. Needs include trash clean-up along our trails and beaches, wildlife photography, and other tasks. Suitable for all ages. For more information please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org. Available at multiple locations throughout Manatee County

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, please email  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