Discover Paradise at Weedon Island Preserve in May | Environment
Spring is being celebrated at Weedon Island Preserve with an array of fun-filled activities and educational opportunities for all ages. Historical exhibits, workshops, field trips and hikes are among the activities for toddlers to adults as well as families. And best of all – they’re free.
Weedon Island Preserve schedules numerous monthly hikes. Each Saturday throughout the summer, two-hour guided hikes beginning at 9 a.m. expose visitors to the ecosystems and the early residents of Weedon Island Preserve as they hike the coastal uplands and the boardwalks through mangrove forests. These hikes are best for ages 6 and older.
For those interested in creatures of the night the Saturday, May 5, hike is certain to be of interest.
As the sun fades below the horizon the night skies grow noisier as the winged wildlife emerge from its roosts. Beginning at 7:45 p.m., this 90-minute adventure allows guests to investigate screech owl coos and bat clicks and eavesdrop on bat conversations through technology. Hikers are encouraged to wear closed-toe shoes and appropriate clothing for an evening hike.
The guided hike on Friday, May 11, will be of particular interest to bird watchers. The group will learn to identify marks and behaviors of birds on this two-hour hike, which begins at 8 a.m. Binoculars are available.
Getting one’s feet wet is a distinct possibility on this 10 a.m. Saturday, May 12 two-hour Going Coastal: Coastal, Saltwater Seining workshop. After a classroom presentation participants hike to the sampling site, seeking further information on the invertebrates and fish living in the waters. Hikers must be able to walk a mile round trip. Bring closed-toe wading shoes, a water bottle, sun protection and appropriate clothes.
Beginning at 2 p.m., a special hike on Saturday, May 19 will feature “unseen” wildlife. A Sensing Nature volunteer will lead the way as the group learns about tracking wildlife and other nature clues that will unveil wildlife’s presence. Knowledge gained during this easy 90-minute hike introduces the group to some of Florida’s wildlife through their animal tracks, scats and signs. Closed-toe shoes and appropriate clothing are highly recommended.
At 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 26, a two-hour hike will begin for adult photographers to hone their skills. Following a classroom session highlighting specific wildlife behaviors and photo tips, guides will assist participants in capturing the natural beauty in their photos.
Especially for the wee ones
For 45 minutes on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, children ages 3 to 5 are treated to Wee Time at Weedon. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., they are presented with a variety of stories, crafts, games and hands-on activities that connect them to their environment. On Thursday, May 10, they will hear Ellie & Ollie Eel: A Tale of a Fantastic Voyage by Suzanne Tate relating amazing facts about eels, a fascinating type of fish. On May 24, they will hear Are you a Dragonfly? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries, introducing them to the world of the dragonfly.
Salty topics dissolving before our eyes
On Thursday, May 3, from 6:45 to 8 p.m., Dr. David Hastings, a faculty member and chemical oceanographer at Eckerd College will discuss ocean acidification and why it matters to Floridians. This program is recommended for high-school-age teens to adult. Advance registration is required. Refreshments will be available, donated by Friends of Weedon Island.ExhibitConnecting People and Place is Weedon Island Preserve’s art-inspired, permanent hands-on exhibit. It is especially meaningful as Pinellas County celebrates its 100 years of independence from Hillsborough County. The area’s history, ecology and people are presented at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center.
Health and management of our water sources
On Saturday, May 19, a three-hour workshop beginning at 9 a.m. will be held at Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center. The workshop, in a trade show format, is designed for volunteers and citizens interested in the health and management of our water resources, specifically community lakes and stormwater ponds. Free native plants and other items will be available for participants. To register, call (727) 464-4605 or (727) 453-3420 or email coordinators at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special opportunities are available for teachers to host summer field trips at Weedon Island Preserve. Most Thursdays and Fridays, beginning in June through the months of July and August, teachers can guide their students through the preserve. Only one group allowed per day with a maximum number of 50 students in the group. Tours will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register call (727) 453-6800 or visit http://weedonislandpreserve-schoolprograms.eventbrite.com
About Weedon Island Preserve
Weedon Island Preserve protects more than 3,700 acres of natural ecosystems and is located at 1800 Weedon Drive N.E. in St. Petersburg. The preserve is operated under Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department and is open to the public seven days a week, including holidays, from 7 a.m. to 15 minutes before sunset. Its many outdoor activities include walking trails, a fishing pier and a canoe/kayak launch.
The Cultural and Natural History Center in the preserve welcomes visitors Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is closed Sundays through Wednesdays and all Pinellas County holidays. The center features the permanent exhibit, Connecting People and Place, which is an art-inspired, hands-on educational approach to the area’s history, ecology and people.
To learn more about Weedon Island Preserve and its upcoming programs and events, call (727) 453-6500. To register for programs and events visit www.weedonislandpreserve.org. Videos featuring Weedon Island Preserve can be viewed on www.youtube.com/pcctv1.
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