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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August 2021 Calendar of Events 

Each year, Manatee County's Programming, Volunteer, and Education Division staff take the month of August to review, reflect, and plan for the upcoming year. This means that we have a limited selection of programs for the month of August. But don't worry! We will return with a variety of exciting environmental education and volunteer activities in September.

Saturday, Aug 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 7:00 AM – 8:00 AMRobinson RunnersJoin us weekly to breathe in the fresh air, challenge yourself, and create a community. Savor the trip along the 1.6 and 3.2-mile routes through Robinson Preserve and notice as life becomes a little more vibrant. The group leader will offer a warm-up, then participants may run, walk, or stroll at their own pace followed by a cool-down stretch offered at the finish.  Participants will be rewarded for their efforts by our partners Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition. Program suitable for adults. No reservations required. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6047. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Aug 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Saturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of discovery. Walk the grounds of the historic Reasoner Tract and observe botanical giants collected from around the world. Explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panoramic views, and make an exciting exit from the building via slide. Learn about upcoming programs and exciting new additions to Robinson Preserve. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday, Aug 1st, 15th, 22nd, 29th, 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

SEPTEMBER 2021 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the September Calendar of Events 

Wednesday Sep 1st, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM - Soar in 4 Family Night - Soar 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. No reservations required. For more information please visit https://www.soarin4.org/. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Saturday Sep 4th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Keep Manatee Beautiful: First Saturday Cleanup - This year, Keep Manatee Beautiful will be hosting a cleanup event on the first Saturday of each month. Come out and help us Keep Manatee Beautiful by cleaning up the State Road 64 Boat Ramp! Volunteer opportunity suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Keep Manatee Beautiful in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.manateebeautiful.com/event-details/64-boat-ramp-1st-saturday-cleanup. For more information please contact keep@manateebeautiful.com. SR 64 Boat Ramp

Saturday Sep 4th, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Youth Archery (3 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 Parks and Natural Resources. Three identical sessions are offered to limit group size and facilitate distancing.  Please register for only one session each month. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://ryearchery.eventbrite.com. For more information please contact ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Rye Preserve - Sheriff's Youth Ranch

Saturday Sep 4th, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM - Families Flock Together: Leaping Frogs! - What’s that hopping in your yard? Gather your froglets and join us to learn all about the unique adaptations of frogs! Play games, make a craft, and discover the protective slime and other unique characteristics of frogs and toads. Program suitable for children and their families. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167117540061. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Pride Park - Pavilion

Saturday, Sep 11th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Introduction to Orienteering - Join us at G.T. Bray Park for a family-friendly introduction to the sport of orienteering!  Orienteering is a competitive sport that combines navigation and racing. Participants use navigational skills to find their way to various checkpoints with a map and sometimes a compass. Orienteering is easy to learn and a fun way to exercise your mind and body outdoors. This sport is not only about running fast but selecting the best route to each checkpoint and visiting them in the correct order.  Be prepared to run or power-walk at this fast-paced program! Program suitable for all ages. Please wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes and clothing for walking or running.  Don't forget to bring a water bottle! Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167761819117. For more information please contact sarah.denison@mymanatee.org. G.T. Bray Park Amphitheater - 51st Street, North Entrance

Saturday Sep 11th, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Explore Nature! Outreach Booth: Manatees - Stop by our education table at beautiful Portosueno Park and learn all about manatees! These gentle giants are our county's namesake and are frequent visitors of the park. Enjoy interactive activities to learn about the amazing anatomy of manatees, and discover how you can help protect them in the wild. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Portosueno Park

Saturday Sep 11th, 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Families Flock Together: Saltwater Fishing Clinic - Join us for a special saltwater fishing clinic! Tie an improved clinch knot, practice your fish identification skills, and learn the basics of catch and release fishing in Florida. Get a chance to use our fishing equipment and cast your line into the waters of Emerson Point Preserve to see what we can catch! Spots are limited, so please sign up early if you are interested. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167310553369. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve - Large Pavilion

Saturday Sep 11th, 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM - Seeing Stars - Enjoy a beautiful night sky overlooking the water at this after-hours astronomy viewing. We provide the telescopes and the expertise; you enjoy the wonders of our universe! The program is free, but advance tickets are required. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by The Bishop Museum and Planetarium in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://26965.blackbaudhosting.com/26965/Seeing-Stars-11Sep2021. Robinson Preserve - Expansion Parking Lot

Tuesday Sep 14th, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM - Tortoise Talk - Join us for an informal program on the Valentine House lawn as we take our educational 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. Get up close with our tortoise. 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. For more information please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve - Valentine House Lawn

Friday Sep 17th, 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM - Seashell Shore Walk - Calling 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 contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach - South

Friday Sep 17th, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM - Homeschool Science Club: Animal Tracks - Evidence of wildlife is all around us from tracks to scat. Join us to learn how to identify an animal’s presence in the wild. Learn more about animal skulls, their tracks, and the evidence they leave behind through fun activities and games! Program suitable for students ages 8-13. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167308404943. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve - Large Pavilion

Friday Sep 17th, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM - Creek Cleanup at GT Bray Park - Bring your wellies or wading boots for an adventurous afternoon cleaning the creek! This freshwater stream empties into Portosueno Park and Palma Sola Bay and is home to many creatures, including turtles, ducks, and fish. After the service project, we will look closely and examine the invertebrates that call this creek home! Program suitable for volunteers ten and older. Participants must be sixteen or older to volunteer without a guardian present. Reservations are required. To register please contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6035.  GT Bray Park - 51st Street, North Entrance

Saturday Sep 18th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Master Gardener Tour: Rye Preserve - Take 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. Suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rye-preserve-tour-tickets-167452572151. Rye Preserve

Saturday Sep 18th, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - International Coastal Cleanup - Volunteers all over the world are coming together to protect their waterways, and we are inviting you to join us! Get your feet wet and help clean Coquina Beach and Leffis Key. We will be collecting trash and recording our findings for a global impact report. Bring your water shoes and sense of adventure! Suitable for volunteers of all ages Program sponsored by Ocean Conservancy in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167325959449. For more information please visit https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastal-cleanup/. Coquina Beach and Leffis Key - Bayside entrance, near south boat ramp.

Thursday Sep 23rd, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Wildlife Spotlight: Butterflies - Florida is home to over 150 butterfly species! Join us for a stroll through Johnson Preserve to look for butterflies and learn to identify them. Discover the fascinating behavior of these winged wonders and learn how to make your garden more butterfly-friendly. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please contact elena.burke@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Johnson Preserve

Friday Sep 24th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Tall TailS Tribe: Frog Frolic - Ribbit, peep, peep! Grab all your little tadpoles and join us for a morning of discovery into the fantastic world of frogs. Learn to identify some of our local amphibian calls and create your very own froggy symphony. Play froggy games and discover the qualities that make a frog a frog. Program suitable for preschool-aged children. Reservations are required. For more information please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Emerson Point Preserve - Large Pavilion

Friday Sep 24th, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM - Homeschool Bio Lab: DNA Extraction - Join us to explore the biological instructions that live inside our cells - DNA! Perform an exciting experiment and discover nucleotides and the formation of proteins with other young learners. Program suitable for students ages 8-13. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110007. For more information please contact sara.alvarezcollazo@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $10 Materials Fee. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion.

Saturday Sep 25th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - National Public Lands Day BioBlitz - In celebration of National Public Lands Day, join us for a morning of exploration and learning as we hike to a seldom-visited area of Rye Preserve to document plants and animals using the iNaturalist app. Our submissions will contribute to the Sarasota-Manatee Ecoflora Project, a citizen science initiative that engages Floridians in protecting native species while collecting observations to better inform policy decisions. Suitable for volunteers of all ages. Experience with plant or animal identification is useful, but not required.  Participants should bring a cell phone with a camera. Program sponsored by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167521833313. For more information on the EcoFlora Project please visit https://selby.org/dsc/youth-family-programs/sarasota-manatee-ecoflora-project/. Rye Preserve - Pavilion

Tuesday Sep 28th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - Stroller Stroll: Neal - Round up your baby buggies, put on your walking shoes, and bring your little ones for a rolling naturalist-led walk through Manatee County's wild spaces. Open your child's eyes to the sights, smells, and feel of Florida's great outdoors. Meet other nature explorer families with kids of a similar age. Program suitable for ages 0-4. For more information please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Neal Preserve

Thursday Sep 30th, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Duette Butterfly Count - Moths, caterpillars, and butterflies oh my! Join us for the sixth 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 or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6035. Duette Preserve

Thursday Sep 30th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Green Explorers: Creek Retreat - Does your child like to explore? Do they enjoy playing in the water? Spending unstructured time in nature inspires confidence, encourages problem-solving skills, and provides social outlets for children of all ages. Come out for a fun, low-structured, highly social experience where children get back to playing in nature. Program suitable for all ages. Recommended for 5 to 12-year-olds. Reservations are required. For more information please contact coral.bass@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Rye Preserve - Pavilion

Recurring Events

Saturday Sep 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM - Robinson Runners - Join 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 Sep 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Saturday Mornings at the NEST - Join 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 Sep 5th, 19th, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM - Rise & Shine Yoga - Revitalize 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. 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 elias.ferrell@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