Environmental Education Classes

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  • Aedan Stockdale - Programming, Volunteer, and Education Division Manager
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Young girl looks through microscopeSince February 2006, the Parks and Natural Resources Department staff has worked to create a diverse offering of programs intended to help the public learn more about Florida's plants, animals, and habitats while enjoying Manatee County's beautiful conservation properties. Each month, a wide variety of public events are held for all ages in the preserves. Private programs, including field trips and group trips, can also be arranged. 

For more information on private programming, please contact the Division Manager, Aedan Stockdale, by phone at (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042 or by email at aedan.stockdale@mymanatee.org.

Please see the content below for a comprehensive listing of current educational offerings. 

View our Events Calendar to see upcoming programs and events.


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Tall Tails Tribe

Explore nature with your little ones. Tall Tails Tribes are geared towards preschool-aged learners. These short classes offer families a great way to explore nature together. Each hour-long program includes games, stories, crafts, and activities designed to highlight a natural theme. Themes change monthly and may include anything from butterflies or brittle stars to dinosaurs or ducks. Program is suitable for children age five and under.

Wild Kids' Weekends

Take a fun family-oriented adventure in Manatee County's preserves. Each month, staff present exciting environmental education classes featuring Florida's fabulous plants and animals. Participants can go on a bug safari, dip net in the Manatee River, touch a snake, or hunt for fossils. Topics change monthly - there's always something new to do! Wild Kids' Weekends Programs last for two hours and are held on weekends and in early evenings. Suitable for children age six and older.

Home School Programs

Looking for a way to get your Home School students involved in science and nature? These special programs are specifically geared toward Home School students. Our Home School Science Club and Biology Lab offer new ways to learn and experiment in the natural world.  Programs are held monthly on Thursday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Emerson Point Preserve.  Suitable for a variety of ages depending on the program.

Sneak Peek Tours

What goes on behind the scenes during a restoration project? Join our Rangers to find out! These tours offer the public a glimpse into an ongoing restoration project. These tours occur at any preserve that is closed to the public due to restoration. Tours last roughly two hours and a variety of handouts, brochures, and maps are provided. Program is suitable for all ages.

Wildlife Spotlight

Want to learn more about Florida’s critters? Participate in a Wildlife Spotlight program and join a naturalist guide as they track our resident creatures. These nature hikes focus on specific wildlife such as birds, butterflies, insects, etc. Program times vary and courses are suitable for all ages.

Art Classes/Shutter Strolls

This program offers the chance to get creative in the preserves. From photography to painting and pottery, this diverse series of classes is designed for novice and pro alike.  Photography courses (Shutter Strolls) and additional classes in special topics such as natural fibers, origami, drawing, collage, painting, and nature journaling are frequently offered. Class time varies according to topic and programs are suitable for participants ages 13 and older.

Master Gardener Nature Walks

Exciting nature walks that cover a broad base of topics including butterflies and their host plants, seasonal native plants, estuarine ecosystems, and more! Led by friendly and knowledgeable Master Gardeners, these programs occur at Robinson, Emerson Point, Rye, and Riverview Pointe Preserve. Tours last approximately two hours and run on Saturdays or Sundays, varying according to location. Programs are suitable for all ages.

Wild Florida 101

Whether it’s Florida’s pioneer history or the ancient cultures of the local Native Americans, these guided tours give visitors a new view of the preserves. Not just nature – participants will come away with a better understanding of the area’s rich cultural history, too.  These tours serve as an introduction to Manatee County’s natural resources and are perfect for area visitors and new residents. Programs run approximately two hours and a different preserve is highlighted each trip. Program suitable for participants age 16 and older.