Education Programs & Events

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EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

All our events are open to individuals and immediate family members. We ask that each family register individually. These programs are not available to group reservations. If you have a school, camp, club, or other group that would like to participate in a program, please contact Aedan.Stockdale@mymanatee.org to set up a private program.

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January Calendar of Events

Download a printable version of the January Calendar of Events‚Äč

Thursday 23rd, 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM – RYE PRESERVERS TRAILBLAZING VOLUNTEER WORKDAY– Join us for a day off the beaten path, making the trail more accessible for all. Part nature hike, part volunteering, during this activity we will trim back encroaching vines and branches from the trail. If you love native plants, biodiversity, or lending a helping hand, this is the workday for you! Program is suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. 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. Rye Preserve

Thursday 23rd, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM – HOME SCHOOL BIOLOGY LAB: MITIGATING MICROPLASTICS - Join us for our series of home school biology labs for middle and high school students. This recurring program will give older students the opportunity to participate in laboratory style programs and gain hands on experience. In this lab we will explore the issue of marine debris and examine the properties of microplastics.  Through field investigations, collection, and hands on experimentation students will develop a better understanding of marine debris and brainstorm ways to mitigate microplastics in our environment.  Program recommended for students 11 years and older. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org $10 per student – payable by CASH ONLY! Emerson Point Preserve

Friday 24th, 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM – COASTAL CLIMATE WALK: COASTAL RESILIENCE– Introducing a NEW 7-Part Coastal Climate Walk series from the Sarasota Audubon Society featuring interpretive walks on the effects of climate change on our coastal environment. Discover how Florida's land managers re-create a coastline and get a first-hand look at native plants, animals, gopher tortoise habitat, newly-created seagrass meadows. Program suitable for adults. All walks are short with lots of time interpreting the natural and cultural history. Participants should wear walking shoes and dress for the weather. Reservations are required. Register online at https://www.sarasotaaudubon.org/product/3-perico-preserve-climate-walk/ $20 Registration Fee. Perico Preserve

Friday 24th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM – TALL TAILS TRIBE: CHASING SHADOWS– It’s that time of year again! Time to see if groundhogs around the country will see their shadows. While we have no groundhogs in Florida, there are plenty of shadows. Join us for a morning of hands on preschooler fun, exploring shadows in art, dance, experiments, and movement. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 3034. Emerson Point Preserve

Saturday 25th, 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM – SARASOTA BAY GUARDIANS: ROBINSON PRESERVE PLANTING PART TWOJoin Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department in partnership with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for a native plant restoration volunteer workday at Robinson Preserve.  This fun-filled morning will begin with an ole' fashioned hay ride to the Winston Tract, where we'll be planting natives to support the ongoing restoration of the Robinson Preserve Expansion.  Once all the plants are in the ground we will head back to the NEST for lunch.  Please register online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sarasota-bay-guardians-robinson-preserve-volunteer-planting-tickets-83713143265 Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 25th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – FMSEA AQUATIC SPECIES COLLECTION CERTIFICATE WORKSHOP – Registered volunteers or employees of an educational institution are invited to participate in the Aquatic Species Collection Certificate Workshop sponsored by the Florida Marine Science Educators Association (FMSEA) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). This certification is required to conduct dip netting, seining, and other aquatic species collection for educational purposes in the State of Florida. Reservations are required.  Register online at http://bookeo.com/fmsea1. Please email Jason Robertshaw at support@fmsea.org for more information.  $35 Registration Fee.  Emerson Point Preserve

Saturday 25th, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM – SARASOTA COUNTY’S FIRE FEST – Join Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources staff at Sarasota County’s Annual Fire Fest Celebration!  This event provides a first-hand look at how prescribed fires protect our communities and property from wildfires, as well as maintain Florida’s natural ecosystems for present and future generations.  Fire Fest is family-friendly event that features prescribed fire demos, a game zone for kids, guided nature walks, and FREE FOOD!  No reservation required.  For more information please call (941) 861-5000. T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve

Saturday 25th, 1:00 PM -3:00 PM – WONDER WALKS: SECLUDED EMERSON – Deep within the heart of busy Emerson Point Preserve are trails that are seldom explored. Rugged and engaging these trails need a chance to shine. Adventurers of all ages are invited to join a naturalist as we tramp into a rarely explored, wild, and bumpy 2-mile hike. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext.3034. Emerson Point Preserve

Tuesday 28th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM – STROLLER STROLLS: RYE PRESERVE – Round up your baby buggies and 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 being safely wheeled around. Trek the nature walk trail and have your child learn new movements.  Meet other nature explorer families with similar aged kids. Program suitable for children 0 to 4 years old. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6034. Rye Preserve

Wednesday 29th, 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. Reservations are required. 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

Thursday 30th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM – GREEN EXPLORERS: FABRICATING FORTS- Back by popular demand! Have you ever imagined being stuck in the woods, deserted on an island, or just building a fun hangout spot with some friends? Come out to Rye Preserve for a chance to create buildings out of natural objects in the area.  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 6 -12 year olds. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 3034. Rye Preserve

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

FEBRUARY CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the February Calendar of Events

Saturday 1st, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM - SATURDAY MORNINGS AT THE NEST - Join us at the new 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. No reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please email ecoevents@mymantee.org Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Saturday 1st, 8:00 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 email ecoevents@mymanatee.org Rye Preserve

Saturday 1st, 2:00 PM - 4:00 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 let us know if you would like to attend by emailing aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org Rye Preserve

Saturday 1st, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM - STARRY NIGHT TELESCOPE EXPLORATION - Join us after sunset to watch the stars come out 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 email aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org or call 941-742-5923 ext. 6039 to register. Perico Preserve

Sunday 2nd, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM - RISE & SHINE POWER FLOW YOGA - Revitalize 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!  Suitable for adults. Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org. $10 Participant Fee - payable by CASH ONLY. Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Tuesday, 4th, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM - ANNA MARIA TO PASSAGE KEY: FOR EXPERIENCED PADDLERS - Experienced paddlers will enjoy a guided open water trip by WayneAdventures to Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge.  Explore the waters between Anna Maria and Passage Key where dolphins, rays, and sharks are often seen. Adults with prior open water experience, rescue skills, and appropriate kayak are welcome. This area is subject to currents and winds. Program is suitable for adults 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. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Anna Maria Bayfront Park

Wednesday 5th, 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM - MANATEE AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRDING TOUR: EMERSON POINT - Search 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 sponsored by the Manatee County Audubon Society. For more information please contact Billie and Jerry Knight at (941) 592-7622. Emerson Point Preserve

Wednesday 5th, 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM - RYE PRESERVERS TRAILBLAZING VOLUNTEER WORKDAY- Join us for a morning off the beaten path, making the trail more accessible for all. Part nature hike, part volunteering, this activity will trim back encroaching vines and branches from the trail. If you love native plants, biodiversity, seeds, and lending a helping hand, this is the workday for you! Program is 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 to register. Rye Preserve

Wednesday 5th, 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM - SOAR IN 4 FAMILY NIGHT - Join Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Staff and Genbu the Gopher Tortoise at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature for Soar in 4!  Soar in 4 is Manatee County’s movement to ensure all students and their families have the opportunities and support they need for success in preschool, school, and beyond. Monthly Family Nights occur at three locations in downtown Bradenton: Central Library, The Bishop Museum, and ArtCenter Manatee.  Join us and our community partners for FREE hands on learning experiences and literacy resources that engage families in curriculum while extending classroom learning. Program suitable for children and their families.  No reservations required.  Please visit https://www.facebook.com/soarin4Manatee/ for more information. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Thursday 6th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - TREETOTS: WINGS AND THINGS - Bald eagles, beetles, and bats all fly. Let’s discover all our winged wildlife. Explore which of our friends fly, and why.  Using songs, exploration, movement, 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-old. Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve Nest- Mosaic NEST

Thursday, 6th, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM - PADDLING FROG CREEK AND TERRA CEIA RIVER - Join our nature guide from WayneAdventures as we explore mangrove islands/tunnels, restored salt water marshes and more isolated mangroves. Along the way, we will take water quality measurements and stop to discover why this is such a special place. We may not even see any other people during the paddle. This is for beginner paddlers who have paddled 6-8 miles. Program is suitable for adults 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. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing ecoevents@mymanatee.org.  Launch is approx. 8200 Bishop Harbor Rd Palmetto, FL  34221 GPS coordinates 27.5902222, -82.5544503 (grassy area along road)

Thursday 6th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM - NEST NATURE AFTERNOONS - The Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology will open its doors for an afternoon of exploration. 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

Friday 7th, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM - COASTAL CLIMATE WALK: EARLY RESTORATION EFFORTS - Introducing a 7-Part Coastal Climate Walk series from the Sarasota Audubon Society featuring interpretive walks on the effects of climate change on our coastal environment. Discover the first mangrove coastal restoration project on Sarasota Bay and learn how these mangroves were planted. Explore the mangrove forest boardwalk of Leffis Key, a popular bird migration stopover. Program suitable for adults. All walks are short with lots of time interpreting the natural and cultural history. Participants should wear walking shoes and dress for the weather. Reservations are required. Register online at https://www.sarasotaaudubon.org/product/5-leffis-key-climate-walk/ $20 Program Registration - Leffis Key Preserve

Friday 7th, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM - NATURE NIGHT AT THE NEST: THE CABBAGE PALM - What do you know about our state tree, the cabbage palm? Aren’t they just a big grass? Can you do anything with them? Is it even a tree? Join natural historian Jono Miller in a wide ranging and surprising exploration of what these common native palms are all about. Jono will cover their unique approach to growth, a number of counterintuitive paradoxes, the wide variety of wildlife species that utilize them, and the curious cracker dish called swamp cabbage. Jono will share how cabbage palms are threatened by both a bacteria that lacks a cell wall, and well-intentioned over pruning practices that may be preferred by your HOA. This program is part of an after-hours lecture series at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology. Program suitable for adults. Drinks and snacks will be available, cash only, with proceeds benefiting United Way. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Saturday 8th, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM - SATURDAY MORNINGS AT THE NEST - Join us at the new 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. No reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please email ecoevents@mymantee.org Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Saturday 8th, 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM - DISCOVER DUETTE WAGON TOUR: FLORIDA PRAIRIE TOUR - Healthy uplands equal healthy water, but what sort of exciting finds are waiting to be discovered in Duette’s natural habitats? Join preserve rangers and naturalists for a guided wagon tour that will feature information on the preserve’s natural and historical features. Learn about the location’s past, present, and future. Sponsored by the Manatee Fish and Game Association, Inc., in partnership with Manatee County’s Parks and Natural Resources Department. Participants are encouraged to bring a cushion for the wagon and lunch; water will be provided. Program suitable for participants age 13 and older. Reserve your spot at https://manatee-fish-game.ticketleap.com/duette-wagon-tour---february/ Duette Preserve

Saturday 8th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM – MASTER GARDENER TOUR: RIVERVIEW POINTE PRESERVE – Join an Extension Master Gardener on a stroll through Riverview Pointe Preserve to learn more about Florida’s native plants and the inhabitants of this coastal habitat.  Suitable for all agesCall the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers to register. (941) 722-4524 Riverview Pointe Preserve

Saturday 8th, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM - BOARD GAME NIGHT AT THE NEST - Join us for board game night at the Robinson Preserve NEST. The building will be open from 5 to 9 pm for this special evening of table top gaming fun! Borrow a nature-themed game from our new game library or bring your favorite game from home. Meet new people and try something new. Role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons are welcome too. We only ask that all content and conversations remain family friendly. Program suitable for all ages. Drinks and snacks will be available, cash only, with proceeds benefiting United Way. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Tuesday 11th, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM - SUNSET TAI CHI - Join us for this monthly class 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. This class is held rain or shine - in case of weather, we will move into the NEST. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts. Suitable for ages 13 and up. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing ecoevents@mymanatee.org $5 Participant Fee - payable by CASH ONLY. Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Thursday 13th, 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM - MANATEE AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRDING TOUR: PERICO PRESERVE - Search the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Join birder Cathy as you explore one of Manatee County's newest preserves. The newly created freshwater ponds and salt marshes of Perico Preserve provide an oasis for numerous species of birds. Check out the “locals” as well as the migratory birds that are wintering here. Program sponsored by the Manatee County Audubon Society. No reservation needed. For more information contact Cathy Davis at (561) 253-5025. Perico Preserve

Thursday 13th, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - HOMESCHOOL SCIENCE CLUB: BIOLUMINESCENCE - Have you ever wondered how fireflies light up? We can shed some light on the subject! Join us for an in-depth discovery of bioluminescence as we answer this question and many more. Explore glowing creatures, the habitats they live in, and what makes them glow in this interactive and hands on program. Program recommended for 6-10 year olds, but children of all ages are welcome. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org. Emerson Point Preserve

Thursday 13th, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM - STORYTELLING AND SERVICE BOOK CLUB: FLORIDA — 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 the science and history of Florida and discuss, followed by a restoration project in the preserve. This month’s book will be Florida by Lauren Groff. 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 15th, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM - SATURDAY MORNINGS AT THE NEST - Join us at the new 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. No reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please email ecoevents@mymantee.org Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Saturday 15th, 8:00 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 email ecoevents@mymanatee.org Rye Preserve

Saturday 15th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM – MASTER GARDENER TOUR: RYE PRESERVE – Join an Extension Master Gardener on a hike through upland habitats along Rye Branch and learn about Florida native plants, natural history, and early settlement of the area. Drinking water, sturdy shoes, and hiking sticks are recommended.  Suitable for all agesCall the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers to register. (941) 722-4524 Rye Preserve

Sunday 16th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM – MASTER GARDENER TOUR: ROBINSON PRESERVE – Join an Extension Master Gardener on a stroll through Robinson Preserve’s salt marshes to learn more about Florida’s native plants and the inhabitants of this coastal habitat. Trail consists of shell paths with little shade.  Good walking shoes, drinking water, hat, and sunscreen are recommended.  Suitable for all agesCall the Extension Master Gardener Volunteers to register. (941) 722-4524 Robinson Preserve

Sunday 16th, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM - RISE & SHINE FLOW YOGA - Revitalize 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!  Suitable for adults. Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org. $10 Participant Fee - payable by CASH ONLY. Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Tuesday 18th, 10:00 AM -11:00 AM - STROLLER STROLLS: ROBINSON PRESERVE EXPANSION - Round up your baby buggies, and 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. Trek the nature walk trail and have your child learn movements.   Meet other nature explorer families with similar aged kids. Program suitable for 0 to 4 years. Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve Expansion

Thursday 20th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - GREEN EXPLORERS: KITE FLIGHT - Let’s go build a kite, and send it sailing. Our blustery February winds makes perfect kite flying weather. 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. Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext.6034 Bennett Park 

Friday 21st, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM - COASTAL CLIMATE WALK: MANGROVE MIGRATION - Introducing a 7-Part Coastal Climate Walk series from the Sarasota Audubon Society featuring interpretive walks on the effects of climate change on our coastal environment. Discover how mangroves are adapting to a moving coastline. Explore mangrove physiology, salterns, fiddler crabs, and coastal restoration. Program suitable for adults. All walks are short with lots of time interpreting the natural and cultural history. Participants should wear walking shoes and dress for the weather. Reservations are required. Register online at https://www.sarasotaaudubon.org/product/6-robinson-preserve-climate-walk-february-21/ $20 Program Registration. Robinson Preserve

Saturday 22nd, 7:30 AM - 12:00 PM - MANATEE AUDUBON SOCIETY BIRDING TOUR: BENNETT PARK - Search the skies for Florida’s fabulous fliers! Join birder Tony as you explore this local park with restored freshwater and saltwater marshes. This tour will meet at the main parking lot by playground. Program sponsored by the Manatee County Audubon Society. For more information or to let us know you would like to attend, please contact Tony Ford at ford.tony23@yahoo.com.Tom Bennett Park / Heritage Harbor North

Saturday 22nd, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM - 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 22nd, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM - SATURDAY MORNINGS AT THE NEST - Join us at the new 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. No reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please email ecoevents@mymantee.org Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Saturday 22nd, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM - TORTOISE TALKS - Join us for this informal program on the Valentine House lawn as we take our 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 coral.bass@mymanatee.org  Robinson Preserve

Monday, 24th, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - INTERMEDIATE KAYAKING SKILLS - Announcing a NEW kayaking skills class by WayneAdventures! If you have some experience and want to be a better paddler, come on out as we learn, practice, and improve our paddling skills. Depending on the weather, we may finish the class with assisted rescue skills. This class is a prerequisite to future advanced trips such as Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge, Rattlesnake Key, and more. Class will be on the water around Bean Point on the gulf and bay sides of Anna Maria Island. This area is subject to currents and winds. Program is suitable for adults 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. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Anna Maria Bayfront Park

Thursday 27th, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM - HOMESCHOOL BIOLOGY LAB: FRESHWATER ECOLOGY - Join us as we dip net for freshwater creatures and asses water quality to determine the health of a freshwater pond.  In this lab, students will learn to identify common macroinvertebrates and measure temperature, salinity, pH, and other indicators of water quality.  Please bring shoes and clothes that can get wet, a towel, and a change of clothes. Program recommended for students 11 years and older. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing sarah.denison@mymanatee.org $10 per student - payable by CASH ONLY. Emerson Point Preserve

Friday, 28th, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM - UPPER MANATEE RIVER PADDLE - Check another section of Manatee's Blueway Trails off your bucket list! Join our nature guide from WayneAdventures who will lead a one way, 6-mile paddle from Rye Preserve to Fort Hamer boat ramp. Paddle down this meandering river as it winds for several miles through oak hammocks before joining with Braden River to form the Manatee River. While not for first time kayakers, beginning kayakers who can paddle 6 to 8 miles are welcome. Program is suitable for adults 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. Reservations are required. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing ecoevents@mymanatee.org. Rye Preserve

Friday 28th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM - TALL TAILS TRIBE: CANOPY CREATURES - High in the trees is a shadowy home of many plants and animals. Let’s peak around the dusky, tree lined habitat and explore the forest friends that call Florida’s tree canopies home. Your little one will delight in a program full of games, songs, movement and a short stroll.  Program suitable for preschool age children. 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

Friday 28th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM - PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE GALLERY PRESENTATION - Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources invites you to join us for the presentation of the featured photos from the 2020 Photography Challenge! Take a walk through the Valentine House and view photos that tell an extraordinary story about each of our beautiful preserves. If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words…we will have quite a few stories to tell! Light refreshments will be served. Program is suitable for all ages. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org Robinson Preserve - Valentine House

Saturday 29th, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM - SATURDAY MORNINGS AT THE NEST - Join us at the new 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. No reservations required, please visit any time during open house hours. For more information please email ecoevents@mymantee.org Robinson Preserve - Mosaic NEST

Saturday 29th, 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM - SNEAK PEEK SHUTTER STROLL: JOHNSON PRESERVE - Calling all photographers! Get a first look at Manatee Count’s newest preserve and help us document the “before”! On this exclusive program we are inviting photographers to join us and take pictures before the preserve is open to the public. Explore oak hammocks and pine flatwoods along the Braden River. Public access is only available during these special “sneak peeks” so don’t miss this chance to see the site’s transformation. Program suitable for photographers age 18 and older.  Reservations are required. Please email aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org to register and receive directions. Johnson Preserve

Saturday 29th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - WONDER WALKS: JOHNSON PRESERVE - Take a sneak peek inside Manatee County’s newest property, Johnson Preserve. Wander the winding rugged trails and mysterious oak hammocks. Discover the butterflies, birds and other wildlife that call this gem of a preserve home. Public access is only available during these special “sneak peeks” so don’t miss this chance to see the site’s transformation. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required - Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing coral.bass@mymanatee.org or calling 941-742-5923 ext.6034. Johnson Preserve

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