Nature Calls

July 11, 2024 at 2:08 p.m.

Make Some Black Gold!
UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County is offering a free class on composting on Wednesday, July 17, 11am to 12:30pm, at Shamrock Park & Nature Center, 3900 Shamrock Drive, Venice. Learn about waste reduction and how to compost through an indoor lesson followed by outdoor, hands-on activities. Participants can obtain a Geobin compost bin for $25. Registration is required at For questions, call 941•861•5000.

Native Plants Gardening
Gain a comprehensive understanding of what native plants are and discover the unique characteristics that make them well-suited for local gardens in a free class on Friday, July 19, 10 to 11:30am, at Shamrock Park & Nature Center, 3900 Shamrock Drive, Venice. You will also learn how to choose the right native plants for garden based on sun exposure, soil type, and moisture level. The class presenter is UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County and you must register only at For questions, call 941•861•5000.

Party in Paradise
Early bird tickets are now on sale for the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast’s Party in Paradise on Saturday, November 9th. Guests will experience the beauty of nature after dark as they step into a world of “Moonlit Wonder” at the Bay Preserve headquarters, 400 Palmetto Avenue, Osprey. Enjoy dinner & dancing, along with some unique surprise delightful experiences. The evening begins at 6pm and cocktail attire is requested. Ticket price until August 1st is $275 (or until inventory runs out). Learn more about this fundraiser evening and purchase tickets at

Following two highly successful birding excursions to Ecuador last season, Venice Area Audubon Society is offering another international birding adventure this season to Costa Rica. Hosted once again by Holbrook Travel, the trip is scheduled for March 7-17, 2025. It will encompass birding in Savegre, Sarapiquí, Arenal, and Carara to visit birding hotspots such as Caribbean lowlands, premontane forest, tropical dry forest, mangroves, páramo, and more—during hikes, boat rides, and a hanging bridge canopy tour. Accompanied by one of Holbrook’s expert Costa Rican birding guides, you’ll look for sought-after resident and migrant species and experience the breadth and depth of the country’s diverse natural beauty. The cost of the trip is approximately $3,300 plus airfare. For more information, contact Eileen Gerle at [email protected]. Pictured here is one of Central America’s colorful birds,  the Resplendent Quetzal, considered sacred by several Mesoamerican civilization, and is the national bird  of Guatemala.

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) Activities
 On these casual walks with CHEC volunteers, you will search for and learn about plants, animals, fungi and mor, 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].

Tippecanoe Guided Walk
CHEC will lead a guided walk at the 380-acre Tippecanoe Environmental Park on Wednesday, July 17, 8 to 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.

Guided Kayak EcoTour
CHEC and Biotica EcoTours are offering a guided kayak tour of Lemon Bay around Cedar Point Environmental Park and the surrounding mangrove habitats, including the nearby bird rookery on Friday, July 19, 9:30am to noon. The tour is perfect for all skill levels and wonderful for nature lovers. The tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours and is easy-paced paddling. The fee is $60 per person which includes your kayak and all other equipment for the day. Meet at the kiosk by the visitor center at Cedar Point Park, 2300 Placida Road. Registration is required by calling Biotica EcoTours at 941•350•4905 or at

Seagrass Wading Trip
Join CHEC for a free wading adventure through the seagrass beds of Lemon Bay on Saturday, July 20, 9 to 11am. Participants will walk approximately one-half mile to the wading site where they will collect and view creatures of the bay. Wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that may get wet. Also recommended are sunscreen, insect repellent and water. Advance registration is required. Call 941•475•0769 or email [email protected].

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 Wednesday, July 24, 8 to 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

Nighttime Seagrass Wading Trip
Embrace your nocturnal side and join CHEC for a two-hour nighttime wading adventure through the seagrass beds of Lemon Bay on Tuesday, July 30, 7:45 to 9:45pm. Search for, catch & release sea creatures in Lemon Bay while learning about the unique aquatic plants and animals with help from a CHEC naturalist. Program fee is $15 per person. For registration, fill out the form online at or call 941•475•0769 for more information.

Amberjack Environmental Park
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the scrub and pine flatwoods of 225-acre Amberjack Environmental Park on Wednesday, July 31 at 8am. Meet at 6250 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., where the street dead ends. To register, fill out the form online at or call 941•475•0769. 

The items appearing in this column are as accurate at time of publication. Please call the listed numbers for confirmation and further information.

Is your group looking for an environmental project? The Adopt-A-Pond program, a collaboration between the Charlotte County Stormwater Dept. and Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) is a volunteer program where anyone (family, civic, school or non-profit) “adopts” a Charlotte County pond and provides clean-up for the pond at regularly scheduled times. In exchange for their service, a sign will be posted near the pond recognizing the volunteers. If you would like to learn more, contact Melissa Robinson at 941•475•0769 or email [email protected].