Importance of Native Plants Lecture
Join Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) for a fundraising event which includes a lecture by Dr. Craig Huegel on “The Importance of Native Plants” from 5-7pm on Tuesday, January 23. Dr. Huegul has written five books about native plants. The event takes place at Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Rd. Included in the $12 entrance donation ($8 for Friends of CHEC) are complimentary wine, hors d’oeuvres, music by Gottfried Creek as well as book signing by Dr. Huegel and a silent auction. For more info and to RSVP, phone 475•0769. Space is limited.
Native Plant Walk
The Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society invites the public to join them for a nature walk at Manasota Scrub, West Side (2695 Bridge Street) on Saturday, January 27 at 9am. For more info, call Al Squires at 769•3633 or email: email@example.com.
Wildflower Preserve Open House
Lemon Bay Conservancy invites everyone to a free “Open House” at Wildflower Preserve from 8am to 1:30pm on Saturday, February 10. Wildflower is an 80-acre former golf course that is being restored as a wildlife preserve. Guided trail walks will leave throughout the event with the first walk being the “Early Bird” Birding Walk at 8am. Other planned walks include Butterflies, A Visit to Lemon Creek, Ecology of Wildflower and Restoration in Progress. The walks will be led by members of the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society who will also offer info about the benefits of native plants with some for sale. A variety of short presentations will cover interesting environmental topics. Information displays will be available from 8:30am - 1:30pm. Special golf cart tours will be offered several times during the day for visitors who may have difficulty walking the trails. Trails will be open for self-guided walks. Wear shoes, hats and clothing appropriate for a nature hike over rough terrain. Wildflower Preserve is located at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. For questions or additional information, call 830•8922.
Walk & Talk Series
Manasota Beach Club, 7660 Manasota Key Rd, is continuing their Walk & Talk Series presenting experts on area parks and preserves. The series, now in its 31st year, is being offered in partnership with local groups that support area parks including Friend’s organizations and the Venice Audubon Society. The weekly series will be presented Mondays and Wednesdays through February. Manasota Beach Club will host the luncheon talks on Mondays from noon - 1:30pm. The cost is $25 plus tax and reservations are required due to limited seating. The partnering group will host free educational walks at 9am on Wednesdays at the park that’s being profiled in the Monday talks. The schedule is posted online at ManasotaBeachClub.com. For additional information and reservations, contact MBC at 474•2614.
Native Plants for Birds Workshop
Al Squires, past president of the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, will partner with the Venice Area Audubon Society to offer a free workshop on Native Plants for Birds on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 9:30am -12:30pm. The workshop will cover providing food and shelter for birds, creating small bird-friendly garden plots and container gardens. The workshop is free and open to the public and will be held at the Venice Area Audubon Society on Annex Rd., Venice. Must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIERRA CLUB OUTINGS
The Greater Charlotte Harbor Sierra Club is offering the following outings. All outings are open to the public and free of charge. PFD stands for Personal Floatation Device. Voluntary donations to the Sierra Club are gratefully accepted. Please contact the Outings leader by calling the phone number listed in the outing description. For more info, contact the Charlotte Sierra Club at 423•2713 or email email@example.com.
Paddle Lettuce Lake
Mon. January 22, 9am-3pm. Paddle through the wooded maze of channels from the Lake out into the Peace River, then downstream, exploring side lagoons, and on to the Nav-a-Gator for a leisurely lunch, and return through a different route. Florida Master Naturalist Rick Fried guides you through the tricky channels. To RSVP and more info, call 637•8805.
Paddle Myrtle Slough
Wed. January 24, 9am-2pm, Florida Master Naturalist Jim Story will lead through a freshwater jungle to tidal Shell Creek waterfall and dam. Provide own watercraft, PFD and be able to swim. RSVP to 505•8904.
Shell Creek Preserve Nature Walk
Thurs. January 25, 8:30-11am. Join Florida Master Naturalists John Phillips and Jamie Reynolds as they lead through this area of Longleaf Pine flatwoods, scrub and hardwood hammocks along Shell Creek. For information, call 639•7468.
Paddle Woolverton Trail Mangroves
Wed. January 31, 10am-2pm. Explore the extensive mangrove tunnels of Lemon Bay before paddling to Big Dog Island with Florida Master Naturalist Helen Buonviri and Bill Schuyler. Enjoy a leisurely lunch/snack exploring Big Dog before returning to the launch area. Participants are required to wear a PFD. Bring your kayak/canoe (no inflatables), water, bug spray, lunch/snack. Reserve at 467•0974 (Helen) or 763•9248 (Bill).
Paddle the Lower Peace River
Thurs. February 1, 9am-3pm. Paddle with Florida Master Naturalist Rick Fried past the turn-of-the century Liverpool phosphate dock ruins and through a cut into the Peace River then up in the river or the winding passages of Deep creek to the Nav-A-Gator for lunch. Return via a different route. Participants must provide PFD, watercraft and be able to swim. Reservations: 637•8805.
Paddle Myrtle Slough
Wed. February 7, 9am-2pm. Florida Master Naturalist Jim Story will lead through a freshwater jungle to tidal Shell Creek waterfall and dam. Participants must provide their own watercraft, PFD and be able to swim. For reservations call 505•8904.
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) and the Charlotte County Natural Resource Department will be conducting the following free programs that are open to the public. All programs can be found at www.ChecFlorida.org. Unless noted, all walks begin at 9am. For directions or further information, call Cedar Point Environmental Park at 475•0769.
Saturday January 20. Join Gloria Hansen on a guided walk through the scrub and pine flatwoods of 217-acre Amberjack Environmental Park in Cape Haze. Meet in the parking lot at the end of Gasparilla Pines Blvd.
Sunday January 21. Join John Phillips on a guided walk through Tippecanoe II Mitigation Preserve in Port Charlotte. This 150-acre preserve is home to several families of the threatened Florida scrub jay. Meet in the parking lot.
Thursday January 25. Join Denise Hart on a guided walk through the 81-acre Bill Coy/Buck Creek Preserve. The scrubby flatwoods and mangrove swamp border Buck Creek, which flows into Lemon Bay. Meet in the parking lot.
Monday January 29. Join Bobbi Rodgers on a guided moonlight walk through the scrub and pine flatwoods of 217-acre Amberjack Environmental Park in Cape Haze. Meet in the parking lot at the end of Gasparilla Pines Blvd at 6:30pm. Space is limited. Reservations recommended.
Lemon Bay Conservancy is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit based in Englewood. For more info or to download a brochure showing the full schedule of nature walks and events, go to lemonbayconservancy.org or call 830•8922.
Beach and Barrier Island Ecology
Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 20. 9-11:30am. Learn about the natural and human history as well as the dredging project on a 2.5mile walk from the Stump Pass State Park parking area to the pass at the southern tip of Manasota Key. Guided by Bill Dunson on Jan. 23, by Susy d’Hont on Feb. 6 and Bill Dunson and Charlie Woodruff on Feb. 20. Stump Pass State Park entry fee is $3 per vehicle. The park is located at the south end of Manasota Key, 900 Gulf Blvd.
Barrier Island Ecology
Feb. 13 9-11am. Explore mangroves, hammocks and beaches at Blind Pass (Middle Beach) Park, an unusually nice place to study the community ecology of Manasota Key. A short walk from the parking lot reveals very nice examples of natural coastal communities. Guided by Dave Clayton. Blind Pass Park is located on Manasota Key at 6725 Manasota Key Rd.
Pine Flatwoods Ecology
Jan. 25, Feb. 22 9-11am. The Myakka State Forest is a remarkably large and well-preserved example of hydric pine flatwoods. Hike along the Gordon Smith Trail that passes through wetter and drier areas, identify plants and animals, and discuss the factors that control their distribution. This trail can be damp in spots, so be prepared. Led by Bill Dunson. Note that the location is not Myakka State Park but the State Forest. Myakka State Forest is located at 2000 S. River Rd, Englewood.
Wildflower Preserve Habitat Restoration
Jan. 27 9-11am. Join Bob Cooper for a first-hand look at the major habitat restoration project currently underway at Lemon Bay Conservancy’s Wildflower Preserve and observe some of the many plants and animals within the preserve. Wildflower Preserve is at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd, off of Placida Rd.
LBC Volunteer Opportunities
Lemon Bay Conservancy welcomes volunteers to assist them in their mission to protect and preserve the natural features of Lemon Bay, Charlotte Harbor, their surrounding waters and uplands, and vital fish and wildlife habitat. They offer opportunities in the following areas: Juvenile Tarpon Research, Butterfly Habitat, and Wildflower Preserve projects including Water Quality Testing. To learn more, call 830•8922 or email Wildflower@lemonbayconservancy.org.
The Barrier Island Parks Society offers these upcoming programs. To learn more and sign up, go to barrierislandparkssociety.org or call 964•0060.
Valentine Lighthouse Climb
There will be a special Valentine’s Day Climb at the Gasparilla Lighthouse on Wednesday, February 14 from 5-9pm. Enjoy non-alcoholic champagne, hors d’oeuvres and receive a rose. $35 per person. Call 964•0060 to RSVP.