Nature Calls

April 4, 2024 at 2:25 a.m.

Lemon Bay Conservancy recently held an appreciation dinner at the Cape Haze Community Center for all the volunteers who give their time to maintain and improve Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve. Eva Furner shared with the volunteers a slide show recapping the history and transformation of the preserve from overgrown abandoned golf course to the beautiful preserve of today. During the dinner, Lucia Schatteleyn, who has been the volunteer coordinator at the preserve since 2010, was recognized for her service and presented with a framed collage print, “Volunteer Leader Extraordinaire”. Learn more about this group at Pictured above, volunteers who attended the dinner.

“Eyes on Seagrass” Volunteer Training/Monitoring
Join CHEC, Lemon Bay Conservancy and Florida Sea Grant for a free volunteer training and monitoring of the seagrass beds of Lemon Bay on Saturday, April 13, 9am to noon, at Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road. “Eyes on Seagrass” is a volunteer monitoring program in Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay, established in 2019 by Florida Sea Grant in Charlotte County. The information collected will inform environmental health assessments used by decision makers. Training will be at 9am and, afterwards, each volunteer monitoring team will go to their predesignated site for sampling. Participants must have their own water equipment: boat or kayak or paddle board, paddle(s), PFD, water, hat, sunscreen, water shoes, easy dry clothing, sun protection tops, snacks and a sense of humor. Online advance registration is required. All monitoring equipment must be picked up on Thursday April 11 or Friday April 12 from the Lemon Bay Conservancy Office at 1765 Manor Road, Suite A. To register, go to

Mangrove Chapter FNPS Activities
 The mission of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. The Mangrove Chapter serves Charlotte County and southern Sarasota County. Visit them online at For more information, contact them at [email protected].

Chapter Meeting
The program for the April Chapter Meeting of the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will be “Designing a Backyard Wildlife Garden on Manasota Key-30 Years’ Experience”, an informative program at Lemon Bay Environmental Center, 570 Bay Park Blvd., on Tuesday, April 9 at 1pm. Dr. Bill Dunson, emeritus professor of biology and member of the Lemon Bay Conservancy, will describe the evolution of his property as he wintered on Manasota Key the past 30 years. Come early for a BYOPicnic social at 12:15pm. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact [email protected].

Sleeping Turtles Preserve Walk
Join the UF/IFAS Sarasota Extension Service and Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society as member Dr. Mary Davis leads a walk at the Sleeping Turtles Preserve North, 3462 Border Road, Venice, on Friday, April 12, 9 to 11am. The walk will take you into the riparian forest of the Wild and Scenic Myakka River. Learn about protection of the river’s watershed and how the river interacts with the surrounding palm and oak hammocks. This event is free and all are welcome. For additional information contact [email protected].

Myakka State Forest Walk
Join the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Dr. Bill Dunson for a guided nature walk at Myakka State Forest, Main Entrance, 2555 South River Road, on Thursday, April 18, 9 to 11am. Following the 1.5-mile Gordon Smith Trail, participants will observe spring flowers and discuss factors influencing the ecology of the sub-climax pine flatwoods. Close examination of near pristine natural wetland and its circular zones of vegetation will be highlighted. Meet in the parking lot about one mile east of River Rd. The State Forest has a $2 entry fee to be paid online. All are welcome. For additional information, contact [email protected].

Oscar Scherer Park Walk
Join the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Dr. Mary Davis for a guided walk at Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, on Friday, April 26, 9 to 11am. Mary will talk about the mosaic of plant communities that are characteristic of this SW Florida flatwoods ecoregion and the management challenges in providing habitat for the endemic Florida Scrub Jay. Meet at the Nature Center at the end of the entrance road. There is a $5 fee per vehicle to enter the park. All are welcome. For more information, [email protected].

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) Activities
 On these casual walks with CHEC volunteers, you will search for and learn about plants, animals, fungi and more, that live in Charlotte County preserves. Prepare for each walk with plenty of water, insect repellent, sunscreen, and clothing that will protect you from insects and plants. 
Advance registration is required. Go to for a complete program calendar and registration links. For more information on programs, please call 941•475•0769 or email [email protected].

Oyster Creek Park Walk
Join CHEC on a guided walkthrough old-growth pine flatwoods, scrub habitat and mangrove fringe of the 135-acre Oyster Creek Environmental Park on Saturday, April 6 at 9am. Meet in the parking lot at 2333 Placida Road next to Lemon Bay High School. Please register by filling out the form online at or by calling 941•475•0769.

Family Fishing Clinic
Join CHEC and the Englewood Fishing Club’s lifelong fishermen for a three-hour Family Fun Saturday fishing clinic on Saturday, April 6, 9am to noon, at Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road. Attendees will learn the basic fishing knots, fishing rod casting techniques, fish handling and the saltwater fishing regulations. Program fee is $10 per person. Child participants must be 6 years or older. All fishing equipment is included and supplied by the Florida Youth Conservation Commission Network. Register online at 

Tippecanoe Environmental Park
Join CHEC on a guided walk through 380-acre Tippecanoe Environmental Park on Monday, April 8 at 9am. This Charlotte County park includes habitats such as scrub, pine flatwoods, marsh, and wetlands. Meet behind the Charlotte County Sports Park at 2400 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte. To register, fill out the form online at or call 941475•0769. 

Volunteer Monthly Meeting
Join CHEC for their monthly volunteer meeting on Monday, April 8, 10am to noon, at Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road. There will be environmental workshops or activities led by guest presenters. Upcoming programs & volunteer opportunities will be shared. Refreshments will be offered. Advance registration is required by emailing [email protected] or calling 941•475•0769.

Charlotte Flatwoods
Join CHEC on a guided walk through Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Park on Wednesday, April 10 at 9am. This 487-acre Charlotte County property contains mature pines, dry prairie, marsh wetlands, and freshwater ponds. Its location and adjoining state lands make it an important wildlife corridor. Meet at the parking lot at 15801 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda. To register, fill out the form online at or call 941475•0769. 

Ann & Chuck Dever Park Walk
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the old-growth pine flatwoods and mangrove fringe of 137-acre Ann & Chuck Dever Regional Park on Saturday, April 13 at 9am. Meet at the entrance located at 6791 San Casa Drive. Please register by filling out the form online at or by calling 941•475•0769

Bill Coy Preserve
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the 81-acre Bill Coy Preserve on Monday, April 15 at 9am. The scrubby flatwoods and mangrove swamp border Buck Creek, which flows into Lemon Bay. Meet in the parking lot at 5350 Placida Road. To register, fill out the form online at or call 941•475•0769. 

Amberjack Environmental Park
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the scrub and pine flatwoods of 225-acre Amberjack Environmental Park on Wednesday, April 17 at 9am. Meet at 6250 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., where the street dead ends. To register, fill out the form online at or call 941•475•0769. Also offered Monday, April 22.

Lemon Bay Earth Day
Celebrate Earth Day with CHEC during a free family fun event with guided hikes, crafts, games, bounce house, animal encounters, local conservation projects exhibit, youth led activities, and environmental keynote speakers. The event will take place at Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road on Saturday, April 20, 10am to 2pm. This event will feature support for different local, environmental, and conservation projects. There will be a fabulous door prize raffle and more. Come early for a guided walk of the park at 9am. To register for the walk, go to or call 941•475•0769. Parking will be available at Cedar Point and across the street at Oyster Creek Environmental Park. For more information, please call 941•475•0769 or email [email protected].

Bayshore Live Oak Park
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the 80-acre Bayshore Live Oak Park on Wednesday, April 24 at 9am. Historical figures and beautiful views characterize this park located along the Charlotte Harbor at 23157 Bayshore Road, Port Charlotte. Meet in the parking lot by the playground. To register, fill out the form online at or call 941•475•0769. 

Tippecanoe II Preserve Walk
Join CHEC for a guided walk through Tippecanoe II Mitigation Preserve on Saturday, April 27 at 9am. This 182-acre preserve is home to several families of the threatened Florida scrub jay. Meet in the parking lot at 16259 Joppa Avenue, Port Charlotte. To register, fill out the form online at or call 941•475•0769. 

Lemon Bay Conservancy News
The free guided nature walks and activities shown below are sponsored by Lemon Bay Conservancy and will be held at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood. Please come prepared for a hike. The preserve can be “buggy” this time of year. Consider wearing long sleeves and long pants. Water, a hat, sunscreen, bug spray and hiking shoes are recommended. Some people like to bring a walking pole. Binoculars are useful for observing more distant birds and other animals. Website:

Wildflower Preserve Walk
The public is invited to join LBC for a guided walk through Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve on Friday, April 5 at 8am. Participants will be fully immersed as they learn and encounter the ever changing natural sights at the preserve. Please wear closed toe walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, bug spray, water, camera and binoculars. No reservations needed.

Pink Canary in a Coal Mine
The Lemon Bay Coastal Seminar Series concludes with “Roseate Spoonbills in Florida Bay – A Pink Canary in a Coal Mine” on Thursday, April 11, 5:30pm, at the Cape Haze Community Center, 180 Spyglass Alley, Placida. Dr. Jerry Lorenz, State Director of Research with the Florida Audubon Society will present the lecture. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, visit



At Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, the fresh water and tidal marshes are green with new growth and the redwings are starting to sing. On Tuesday, April 12 at 9am, join leader Bill Dunson to learn about constructing a marsh from scratch, selecting plants, dealing with weeds, unusual aspects of plant succession and the various hard management decisions that must be made. Animals seen will be identified and their roles in marsh ecology will be discussed. This walk is open to the public. Meet at the entrance: 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. Learn more about Wildflower Preserve & Lemon Bay Conservancy at For more walk info, email [email protected]. Photo by Eva Furner.

Wildflower Preserve 101
Please join Lemon Bay Conservancy volunteers on Tuesday, April 16, 9 to 10:30am, as they lead participants on a short-guided walking tour through the Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. During this introductory walk you can expect to see upland and wading birds, native and Florida friendly plants, butterflies and other insects, freshwater and brackish pond water environments, and the Labyrinth on the Hill. Everyone is welcome to attend, please feel free to invite your friends, neighbors, and family to come along and enjoy the morning. 

Birding & Nature Walk
Join Charlie Woodruff and Jayne Dean for an early morning walk on Friday, April 19, 8 to 10:30am, at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. The second half of April is prime bird migration season, so we may see some uncommon birds, along with the many species commonly present at the preserve. Hats and hiking shoes are suggested, along with sunscreen and bug repellant. You may want to bring along your binoculars and/or your camera. Spring is a beautiful time to see a wide variety of plants and wildlife at the preserve.

Plant a Free Tree
With funding support from the Florida Forest Service, Lemon Bay Conservancy is hosting a free tree giveaway on Friday, April 26, 9am to noon, for homeowners in Englewood and surrounding areas in celebration of Arbor Day. A total of 50 trees in 3-gallon containers will be available, with a limit of one per household. Go to to see available tree species and for information on registering to receive a tree. Tree pick-up will be at the preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd.

Venice Audubon Society News
The Venice Area Audubon Society serves south Sarasota County and offers activities, educational programs, birding field trips, and provides support for birds and wildlife with a pollinator garden & native plants at the Venice Area Audubon Rookery Park, located at 4002 S. Tamiami Trail via Annex Road, Venice. New members are welcome. Learn more at or email [email protected].

Oscar Scherer Weekly Bird Walks
Venice Area Audubon Society offers a guided bird walk at Oscar Scherer State Park every Thursday at 8:30am. Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, is a wildlife haven surrounded by suburban development and is noted for scrub jays and bald eagles and other birds and wildlife. Parking fee is $5 per car. The trails are sandy. Walks cover about two miles and take about two hours. Registration is appreciated but not required at

Friday Sunset Rookery Walks
Join other birders for a 45 to 60-minute docent-led sunset walk around the Venice Audubon Rookery Pond at 4006 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice. The short, trail/path walk (approx. 1/3 mile) is held on Friday evenings. Time varies according to sunset – see the website calendar for start time. Birds featured will be nesting great blue heron, double-crested cormorant, anhinga, white ibis, and purple martins. Alligators patrol the pond and, at the end of the walk, you may be able to see the park’s resident bats begin their nightly feeding. Registration is not required but appreciated at

Lakeview Park Field Trip
Lakeview Park in Sarasota borders Lake Sarasota and there are ponds and mature live oak trees on the property, so it is great for viewing herons, egrets, raptors, woodpeckers and songbirds. Join host Eileen Gerle on Wednesday, April 10 at 8:30am for this walk. The park is located at 7150 Lago Street, Sarasota. After turning into the park (use the entrance next to Oak Park School), drive all the way to the end of the road and meet by the bathroom facilities. Registration is appreciated at 

Ft. DeSoto Park Field Trip
Fort DeSoto is a hotspot for migrating birds coming back from Central and South America in late spring. Scarlet Tanagers, Orchard Oriels, hummingbirds, warblers, and many other migrating birds can be seen when conditions are favorable. Also, shore birds can be seen along the Fort DeSoto beaches. Join your trip host, Jack Foard, for a birding field trip on Tuesday, April 16, 8:30am, at Ft. DeSoto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde. Registration at is appreciated.

Wellen Park Grand Lake Field Trip
In January, Grand Lake at Wellen Park served up 51 species at a VAAS walk. No guarantees, but the walk will be an enjoyable, slow-paced 2+ miles stroll on a level, hard-packed shell & concrete walkway around the lake. Meet in the Foxtail Coffee House courtyard at 8am on Monday, April 22nd. The coffee house is located at 19795 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice. Registration at is appreciated.