Education Programs & Events

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EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

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April Calendar of Events

Download a printable version of the April Calendar of Events

Saturday 20th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – RYE PRESERVE MASTER GARDENER TOUR – Take a hike through upland habitats along Rye Branch and learn about Florida native plants, natural history, and early settlement of the area. Get a glimpse into the sea of palmettos and arid scrub that make up wild Florida. Sponsored by the IFAS Extension Program/Florida Master Gardeners. Suitable for all ages.  Please call the Master Gardener Office for reservations at (941) 722-4524.  Rye Preserve

Saturday 20th, 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. Explore our newest exhibit “Harvesting Hands of Florida” learn about the compelling history of Florida’s farm workers. 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. For more information please call (941) 748-4501 ext. 6039. Rye Preserve

Saturday 20th, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM – PRESERVE PADDLE YOGA – Join us for a beautiful guided paddleboard yoga class in Robinson Preserve. The session includes brief on land instructions and demonstration for beginners to get a feel for the sport and for experienced practitioners to improve their technique. Next, is a short paddle journey followed by an anchored yoga session on the boards. Each class is suitable for all levels, with options available for experienced practitioners to make their session more challenging, as well as gentle modifications for those seeking a restorative experience. Experience the zen and bliss of yoga in the gorgeous location of Robinson Preserve. Program sponsored by Salty Buddha. Suitable for adults. Registration is required. To reserve your spot, please visit www.saltybuddhaco.com Robinson Preserve

Saturday 20th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – OYSTER BAGGIN’ VOLUNTEER EVENT – Join us to create oyster bags at Perico Preserve! The bags we make will later be deployed into local estuaries to help with the creation of new oyster reefs. These reefs will improve water quality and create habitat for native creatures in our preserves. Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org or calling (941) 748-4501 ext. 6035 to register. Perico Preserve

Saturday 20th, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM – MOVIE NIGHT AT THE NEST: EARTH FROM SPACE– Celebrate Earth Day with us at our first ever outdoor movie night at The NEST at Robinson Preserve. This month we’ll be featuring NOVA: Earth from Space. This two-hour program reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in consultation with NASA scientists, this special takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms them into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustain life on earth. Grab your lawn chairs and join us for an evening of film under the stars! Program suitable for all ages. To register, call 941-742-5923 ext. 6036 or e-mail elena.burke@mymanatee.org. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday 21st, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – RISE & SHINE POWER FLOW YOGA – Revitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This (power) 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!  Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga. Suitable for adults. Please email aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6039 to register. $10 Participant Fee payable by cash only. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Monday 22nd, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – PADDLE UPPER MANATEE RIVER –the Rye Preserve kayak launch, we will paddle 6 miles to the takeout at 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 6-8 miles are welcome. Rye Preserve kayak launch is down the trail across from the pavilion.  Program suitable for ages 16 and older who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Participants must have their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket. Reservations are required. Please call (941) 742-5757 ext. 7. Rye Preserve

Wednesday 24th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – ALFRESCO ART: SOLAR DYEING – When sunshine, foliage, and dye combine, magical and beautiful art appear before your very eyes. Join us for an afternoon of solar dyeing, in this unique program participants will forage for their own shapes and experiment with different shadows. Each participant will receive two placemats to decorate and may bring one other project T-shirt or smaller for experimentation. 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. Emerson Point Preserve

Thursday 25th, 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

Thursday 25th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – GREEN EXPLORERS: CREEK RETREAT – Does your child like to explore? Spending unstructured time in nature inspires confidence, encourages problem solving skills, and provides social outlets for children of all ages.  Physically playing on uneven surfaces even helps children develop stronger coordination and balance skills. Come out for a fun, low structure, high social experience where children get back to playing with nature. This month we will be focused on exploring the stream. 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. Rye Preserve

Thursday 25th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM – HOMESCHOOL BIOLOGY LABS: OWL PELLET DISSECTIONS – What makes owls so mysterious and intriguing? Did you know that a Barn Owl can eat up to 1000 mice each year? Or that not all owls hoot? In this Homeschool Biology Lab program we will learn basic techniques for dissection and examine sterilized owl pellets. The contents of each pellet will help us develop a better understanding of owls, their diet, and their role in the 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 or calling (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $10 Materials Fee per student, payable by cash only. Emerson Point Preserve

Friday 26th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – TALL TAILS TRIBE: REPTILE RENDEZVOUS – Turtles, lizards, and alligators, Oh My! Come discover the wonderful wild, cold blooded creatures that can be found in our Florida ecosystem. Discover adaptations that make reptiles so unique through games, songs, and meeting our very own animal ambassador, Genbu.  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. 3. Emerson Point Preserve

Saturday 27th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM & 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – NEST NATURE DAYS FEATURING LEATHER STAMPING BRACELETS – The brand-new Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology will open its doors for a day of exploration and leather crafting. 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. Create beautiful, take home leather stamped bracelets that you will enjoy wearing every day. 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. Free to tour the NEST. $5 Material Fee per bracelet, payable by cash only. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday 27th, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM – WORLD TAI CHI DAY – One World… One Breath. Join us as we take part in a global exploration of breath and movement. This FREE event will include Qigong warmups followed by Tai Chi demonstrations and follow-alongs presented by local instructors. We will be joining hundreds of cities, across eighty nations, where people from all walks of life will come together and breathe together. View the event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1894575150574488/ For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6039. G.T. Bray Amphitheater – 51st St Park Entrance

Tuesday 30th, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM – ANNOUNCING A NEW PADDLE LOCATION FOR EXPERIENCED PADDLERS: ANNA MARIA TO PASSAGE KEY – Experienced paddlers will enjoy a guided open water trip by WayneAdventures to Passage Key National Wildlife Refuge to explore the waters between Anna Maria and Passage Key where dolphins, rays, and sharks are often seen. This area is subject to currents and winds and route depends on weather and conditions. Program suitable for adults with prior open water experience, rescue skills and appropriate  open-water kayak 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 call (941) 742-5757 ext. 7. Anna Maria Bayfront Park

Tuesday 30th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – STROLLER STROLLS: NEAL – Round up your baby buggies, and your little ones for a strolling 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 learning about our preservs. Meet other nature explorer families with similar aged kids. Program suitable for 0 to 4 years but families are welcome to join. 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. Neal 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, 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