Education Programs & Events

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COVID-19 Updates

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Closures, Cancellations and Updates Related to Coronavirus.

We have limited group sizes to comply with social distancing.  Please check out our online and in-person program offerings.  Face coverings are required to participate in certain programs.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions regarding our programs. 

Register online for Sunday Yoga at the NEST

EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

All of our public events are open to individuals and immediate family members. For groups, we ask that each family register individually. Large group reservations for public programs will not be accepted. 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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JANUARY 2020 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the January Calendar of Events

Saturday Jan 16th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMGilligan's Island Paddle Clean Up – Give back to the Bay at this volunteer event on the water! Join Manatee County, WayneAdventures, and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for a special 3-hour tour of Gilligan’s Isle!  Lying off the coast of Robinson Preserve, this spoil island is a popular destination for daytrips and needs a clean-up. Lunch will be provided after the event for all volunteers, courtesy of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. Program suitable for ages 16 and older who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Participants must have their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket and bring a whistle. Trash bags and gloves will be provided. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/133357553031. For more information, please email [email protected]. Launch from 12374 Manatee Ave just past Neal Preserve, on the right before the bridge to Anna Maria Island

Saturday Jan 16th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NEST – Join us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday Jan 16th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Rye Preserve – Take a hike through upland habitats along the beautiful Rye Branch and learn about Florida's native plants, natural history, and early settlement of the area. Suitable for all ages. Reservations Required. To register please visit https://rye_preserve.eventbrite.com. Rye Preserve

Saturday Jan 16th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMFamilies Flock Together: Birds of Prey – Is it an eagle, is it a hawk, or is it an owl?  Join us to learn more about Florida’s beautiful birds of prey, also known as raptors.  In this program we will use our senses to find birds around us and play interactive family games to discover their unique adaptations. Program suitable for children and their families. Registration is required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Sunday Jan 17th, 10:30 AM – 11:45 AMRise & Shine Yoga – Revitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & mindfulness to promote clarity of mind while developing physical strength and stamina, increasing flexibility, burning calories and detoxifying the body! Increase your overall well-being by ending & beginning your week with this empowering & uplifting flow! Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Online registration is highly encouraged as spaces are limited. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110006. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee payable online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Friday Jan 22nd, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AMSeashell Shore Walk – Calling 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 bring you up to speed on the latest research in malacology. Learn about ethical seashell collecting methods while discovering a new appreciation for our beautiful shorelines. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach

Friday Jan 22nd, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMLab In A Box: Water Quality – Join us for an instructor-led virtual laboratory-style experience where young learners will learn about water quality! What’s the best medium to filter water? How can you do it at home? How do estuaries filter water? Learn the answers to these questions and more with hands-on activities! Program recommended for students ages 9-13. Most materials will be supplied in the lab box, which must be picked up from GT Bray Park or shipped to the participant prior to the program. Registration is required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=AR&fmid=37127471. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042. $10 Materials Fee + $5 Shipping Fee (Optional) payable online. Online – ZOOM

Saturday Jan 23rd, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NEST – Join us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday Jan 24th, 10:30 AM – 11:45 AMRise & Shine Yoga – Revitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & mindfulness to promote clarity of mind while developing physical strength and stamina, increasing flexibility, burning calories and detoxifying the body! Increase your overall well-being by ending & beginning your week with this empowering & uplifting flow! Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Online registration is highly encouraged as spaces are limited. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110006. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday Jan 24th, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PMSarasota Orchestra Parks & Partners Series – On the Road with SO: Parks & Partners Series features the Sarasota Brass Quintet performing your favorite chamber music pieces in the Amphitheater at GT Bray Park. Bring a chair or outdoor blanket, sunscreen and bug spray. Capacity will be limited to 120 attendees within the designated concert area to permit proper physical distance between listeners and musicians as well as among audience members. We look forward to sharing great music with you! Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Sarasota Orchestra in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Parking is limited. Please plan accordingly. Sarasota Orchestra requests and encourages audience members to wear masks and follow CDC guidelines for physical distancing at Parks & Partners events to maximize safety. Reservations are required for this FREE event. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-the-road-with-so-parks-and-partners-concert-at-gt-bray-park-tickets-131287210581. G.T. Bray Park – Amphitheater - 51st St Park

Monday Jan 25thSaturday Jan 30thExplorers' Academy Virtual Learning: Mollusks Week – Did you know that humans have been eating oysters for thousands of years?  Or that Octopuses have three hearts and blue blood?  Or that the rings on a snail's shell can indicate its age?  Join our education staff on the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department Facebook page for an exploration of Florida's magnificent mollusks!  New videos will be released on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday which feature general information, storytime, kids’ activities, and a virtual preserve tour. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/manatee.parks.natural.resources or contact [email protected]. Virtual Event – Watch on Facebook or YouTube

Wednesday Jan 27th, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PMTaste the Wild - Session I – Disappointed by Darjeeling and bored with Bergamot? Saunter by and sip on native teas of the Southeast! Our tea masters will brew an assortment of infusions while exploring the history of herbs, needles, and flowers. Sample and savor our selection of sweeteners while enjoying the sounds of nature at Emerson Point Preserve! Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=AR&fmid=37127680. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $5 Materials Fee Payable Online. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Wednesday Jan 27th, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PMTaste the Wild - Session II – Disappointed by Darjeeling and bored with Bergamot? Saunter by and sip on native teas of the Southeast! Our tea masters will brew an assortment of infusions while exploring the history of herbs, needles, and flowers. Sample and savor our selection of sweeteners while enjoying the sounds of nature at Emerson Point Preserve! Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?module=AR&fmid=37127864. For more information please call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $5 Materials Fee Payable Online. Emerson Point Preserve – Classroom Pavilion

Thursday Jan 28th, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PMRobinson Full Moon Paddle – Join us for an easy sunset paddle along the salt marshes of Robinson Preserve to the mouth of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay. We will take advantage of low tide to watch the sunset from the sandbar and return under the light of the full moon and stars. Program suitable for ages 16 and older who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Participants must have their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket and bring a flashlight or headlamp and whistle. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/133356028471. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve North Entrance – Kayak Launch

Friday Jan 29th, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PMAir Potato Roundup – Join us for a day in the pines, taking out invasive air potato and Caesar weed along the trails of Conservatory Park!  Who will find the biggest spud?  Who will find the most?  Give back to this neighborhood park and help us improve native habitat for the creatures who live there, all while getting a light workout at this family-friendly volunteer event! Program is suitable for all ages, volunteers must be 16 or older to volunteer without a guardian present. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6035. Conservatory Park

Saturday Jan 30th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PMSaturday Mornings at the NEST – Join us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. 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. Face coverings are required to enter the building. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday Jan 30th, 3:00 PM – Sunday Jan 31st, 10:00 AMIntroduction to Family Camping Overnight – Join us for a weekend of family fun at the Rye Preserve campground!  In this exciting sleep-over program your family will have an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Rye Preserve and learn the basics of car camping including what to pack, how to set up your tent, and how to build a fire. We will finish off the night with s’mores under the stars!   After a brief wrap-up the next morning, you will be free to explore and enjoy all the Rye Preserve has to offer. Program suitable for families with children of all ages. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Maximum of 6 people per campsite. No RVs, trailers, or generators are permitted. Bathrooms and showers are available on site. A central fire will be provided for participants.  If you would like to build your own campfire, firewood is available for $5 per bundle. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/133359755619. For more information please contact [email protected]. $22.40 Registration Fee per campsite, payable with exact CASH or CHECK.  No credit cards accepted. Rye Preserve – Ranger Station

Sunday Jan 31st, 10:30 AM – 11:45 AMRise & Shine Yoga – Revitalize and Rejuvenate your Mind, Body & Spirit! This yoga class is designed to blend awareness of breath, physical movement & mindfulness to promote clarity of mind while developing physical strength and stamina, increasing flexibility, burning calories and detoxifying the body! Increase your overall well-being by ending & beginning your week with this empowering & uplifting flow! Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Brandy Gray of MomWifeSOUL Yoga in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants must provide their own yoga mats. Online registration is highly encouraged as spaces are limited. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110006. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6042. $10 Participant Fee Payable online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

 

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