Education Programs & Events

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Sunset Tai Chi at the NEST Second Mondays 6:30 PM

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EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

All of our public events are open to individuals and their family members. For large groups, we ask that each family register individually. If you have a school, camp, club, or other group that would like to participate in a program, please contact [email protected] to set up a private program.

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JULY 2022 Calendar of Events 

Download a printable version of the July Calendar of Events 

Saturday, Jul 23rd, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMScience by the Sea High School Workshop: Critters of Tampa BayJoin us for a morning of marine science to experience our local watershed.  The Science by the Sea programs are intended to provide accessible science experiences for kids from historically excluded groups in STEM including gender minorities, racial/ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people from low-income or underserved communities. Program suitable for high school students. Program sponsored by Minorities in Shark Sciences and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSefx_DThpOLrsyX1sN-ZnDvUem4ZDzLba2ObEnsLB-ED84oww/viewform. For more information please contact [email protected]. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom

Thursday, Jul 28th, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AMSeashell Shore WalkCalling all beachcombers and seashell enthusiasts! Join us for a relaxing walk on the beach to search for seashells and learn to identify them. This program will explore what makes mollusks unique and the amazing adaptations that help them to survive in the wild. Learn about ethical seashell collecting methods while discovering a new appreciation for our beautiful shorelines. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/354675543097. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach - South – Longboat Key Bridge

Recurring Programs

Saturday, Jul 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, 7:00 AM – 8:00 AMRobinson RunnersJoin us weekly to breathe in the fresh air, challenge yourself, and create a community. Savor the trip along the 1.6 and 3.2-mile routes through Robinson Preserve and notice as life becomes a little more vibrant. The group leader will offer a warm-up, then participants may run, walk, or stroll at their own pace followed by a cool-down stretch offered at the finish.  Participants will be rewarded for their efforts by our partners Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://raceroster.com/events/2022/57766/robinson-runners. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Jul 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of discovery. 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 panoramic views, and make an exciting exit from the building via slide. Learn about upcoming programs and exciting new additions to Robinson Preserve. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

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. 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 ages 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email [email protected]. Location and time TBA - chosen based on need.

AUGUST 2022 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the August Calendar of Events 

Friday, Aug 5th, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PMMarine Explorers Day CampStudents will become official "Manatee Marine Explorers" as they are introduced to the marine environment and conduct citizen scientist activities. Campers will investigate local biology and conservation with Dr. Angela Collins, Florida Sea Grant Agent, who will help Explorers collect water samples and filter them looking for pollutants. Environmental Horticulture Agent, Michelle Atkinson, will introduce the importance of clean water and lead students through a lesson in dip-netting local critters at Emerson Point. Through hands-on activities, campers will use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills to discover facts about our local marine environment. Program suitable for children ages 8 - 12 years old. Program sponsored by Manatee County UF/IFAS Extension in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Please bring a spare set of shoes and clothes that can get wet. Students will be wading in the water in the afternoon. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Should your child have special dietary requirements please plan to provide their snacks and lunch. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/366835664347. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 722-4524. $25 Registration Fee. Payable Online. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom

Saturday, Aug 6th, 8:00 AM – 11:00 AMLeffis Key Planting Volunteer DayVolunteers will be planting native grasses and groundcovers at Leffis Key Preserve. Afterward, free lunch will be provided by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for all volunteers. Meet at the pavilion at Leffis Key, located across the street or east of the Coquina Beach Cafe. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Sarasota Bay Estuary Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Tools, gloves, and plants will be provided. Participants should wear long clothing and closed-toe shoes comfortable for working outdoors, wear sun protection, and bring a water bottle. Water coolers will be provided. The nearest restrooms are across the street at Coquina Beach. Students may earn three community service hours for volunteering. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/377280334637. For more information please contact [email protected]. Leffis Key Preserve – Pavilion

Monday, Aug 8th, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PMSunset Tai Chi at the NESTJoin us for this monthly class on the lawn of the NEST! At sunset on the second Monday of the month, Dr. Brian Nell, a certified Tai Chi instructor, will lead the group through the gentle movements of Tai Chi. This is a great way to shake off the stressful work week. Improve your balance, loosen your joints, and improve flexibility as you relax and breathe. This class is perfect for beginners and will include an exploration of several different styles of Tai Chi and Qigong. This class is held rain or shine - in case of weather, we will move into the NEST. Program Suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=100004. For more information please contact [email protected]. $10 Registration Fee. Payable Online.. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST Lawn

Saturday, Aug 13th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMScience by the Sea Family Workshop: Critters of Tampa BayJoin us for a morning of marine science to experience our local watershed.  The Science by the Sea programs are intended to provide accessible science experiences for kids from historically excluded groups in STEM including gender minorities, racial/ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people from low-income or underserved communities. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Minorities in Shark Sciences and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSefx_DThpOLrsyX1sN-ZnDvUem4ZDzLba2ObEnsLB-ED84oww/viewform. For more information please contact [email protected]. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom

Wednesday, Aug 17th, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AMCitizen Science: Sea Level Rise Susceptibility TrainingCalling all citizen scientists and environmental enthusiasts! Are you curious about the potential impacts of sea level rise on infrastructure in our community? Citizen scientist volunteers are needed to monitor the susceptibility of man-made structures such as docks, sea walls, and drainage pipes throughout the Sarasota Bay area. Staff from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program are compiling data to show which structures could be threatened by sea level rise by 2050. In this training, citizen scientist volunteers will learn how to collect and record data to contribute to this important study. Program suitable for volunteers 16 and older. Program sponsored by Sarasota Bay Estuary Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants should bring a smartphone with data service, a tape measure, and a notebook to record observations. Students can earn volunteer service hours by participating. Reservations required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/389577686347. For more information please contact [email protected]. 500 15th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205 – Parking Lot

Friday, Aug 19th, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PMFood Truck FridayJoin Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources, and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for our August Food Truck Friday Night at Bay Preserve! Educators will be onsite with fun activities for the whole family. Enjoy delicious food as you take in a beautiful summer sunset on the shore of Little Sarasota Bay. August food trucks include Killik’s Kitchen serving up modern Asian-Hawaiian fare, Quiero Mas Tacos Flavors of Mexico with all your favorite Mexican offerings, and Carousel’s Soft Served Icery of Manasota. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Attendees are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to sit on at this picnic-style gathering. To ensure the trucks have plenty of food and we have plenty of parking, we ask that you RSVP if you plan on attending. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.conservationfoundation.com/events/detail/2022/08/19/august-food-truck-Friday-night/. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 918-2100. Bay Preserve at Osprey

Tuesday, Aug 23rd, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PMHerbal Medicine Making: TeasRegistered Herbalist (AHG) Melissa “Misha” Nell will walk you through the steps of creating infusions and decoctions, two types of “teas” that can be used as herbal medicine. Participants will taste and try types of medicinal herbal tea and will gain hands-on experience making their own blend to take home. The fee for the class includes all of the materials you will need to blend and create your own medicinal tea, using Florida native plants and other traditional herbal helpers. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Fee includes handouts and all program materials. Reservations required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110009. $15 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Aug 27th, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PMProject/Aquatic WILD Educators WorkshopCalling all teachers, home school parents, scout leaders, volunteers, and educators at nature centers, zoos, and aquaria – join us for a free WILD Kingdom workshop at Emerson Point Preserve! Participants will receive two free environmental education curriculum guides – Project WILD and Aquatic WILD. In this hands-on workshop, educators will be introduced to both guides and participate in a selection of activities from each. Each curriculum guide is correlated to Florida Sunshine State Standards! This workshop is suitable for formal and informal educators ages 16 and older. Program sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants are required to attend for the entire duration of the program to receive the free curriculum guides. Please bring lunch with you, as there may be limited time to leave and purchase food. There is no food available for purchase on-site. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/382945057977. For more information please contact [email protected]. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom

Recurring Programs

Wednesday, Aug 3rd and 31st, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PMSoar in 4 Family NightSoar in 4 occurs the first Wednesday of each month in downtown Bradenton. Families visit demonstration tables facilitated by Manatee County teachers, non-profit organizations, and volunteers to learn how to use various materials to support the ‘spotlight book,’ as well as incorporate take-home items to continue to play, create, learn, and explore at home together. These monthly events provide families with the resources and information to become their child’s best ‘first teacher’ at home. All activities are aligned to classroom learning. Program suitable for children and their families. Program sponsored by Soar in 4 in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. No reservations required. For more information please visit https://soarin4.org/. The Bishop Museum

Saturday, Aug 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, 7:00 AM – 8:00 AMRobinson RunnersJoin us weekly to breathe in the fresh air, challenge yourself, and create a community. Savor the trip along the 1.6 and 3.2-mile routes through Robinson Preserve and notice as life becomes a little more vibrant. The group leader will offer a warm-up, then participants may run, walk, or stroll at their own pace followed by a cool-down stretch offered at the finish.  Participants will be rewarded for their efforts by our partners Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://raceroster.com/events/2022/57766/robinson-runners. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, Aug 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of discovery. 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 panoramic views, and make an exciting exit from the building via slide. Learn about upcoming programs and exciting new additions to Robinson Preserve. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Friday, Aug 12th, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM or 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Saturday, Aug 13th, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM or 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Escape the NESTTrapped inside a bird research facility with a hurricane on the way, participants must solve interactive puzzles and collect clues to escape the NEST. Dr. Corvus, a world-renowned bird behavior scientist, has boarded up the building in preparation for the impending storm, accidentally barricading her fellow researchers inside. Can you find the key to the emergency exit? Program suitable for all ages. Sessions are limited to 6 participants. Parents or guardians are allowed to accompany their children throughout the experience. Reservations required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110008. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 812-9849 ext. 6036. $10 Registration Fee. Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

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. 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 ages 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email [email protected]. 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