September teems with discovery at Pinellas County preserves. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free but require advance registration.
BROOKER CREEK PRESERVE
(727) 453-6800. www.brookercreekpreserve.org
Book Time: Beginning at 10:30 a.m. each Thursday in September, youngsters continue to be treated to the ever-popular Book Time. For 45 minutes, tots ages 3 to 5 connect to the wonders of the natural world through stories and crafts, games or other hands-on activities.
Ecological Hikes: On Saturday and Sept. 21 and 28 hikers see how the land has changed over time and the ecological footprints left by those changes on a 0.75 mile walk. Closed-toe shoes, water and hat recommended on this 90-minute hike beginning at 9 a.m. Best for ages 6 and older. Advance registration required.
Bird Watch: On Saturday bird-lovers will enjoy this 8 to 10:30 a.m. hike to identify common birds of Brooker Creek Preserve. Meander along the one-mile trail to gather information on the birds seen and heard. Binoculars will be helpful. Bring water.
Birds of Prey: On Sept. 21 From 10:30 to noon, several live birds of prey will be used to illustrate aspects of predator-prey relationships, adaptations that ensure success as predators and their role in maintaining healthy, balanced ecosystems. The basic natural history of each species is also discussed along with the impact of humans on their habitats and populations.
Windows to Our Wildest Place: Don't miss Brooker Creek Preserve's ongoing exhibit Windows to Our Wildest Place. These permanent, hands-on educational exhibits help visitors understand how natural Florida has changed over time and the ecological footprints left by those changes.
Brooker Creek Environmental Education Center is located at 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; closed all Pinellas County holidays.
WEEDON ISLAND PRESERVE
(727) 453-6500. www.weedonislandpreserve.org
Weedon Hikes: Weedon Island Preserve continues the numerous opportunities available for hikers. Each Saturday in September, hikers can learn about the ecosystems and early residents of the preserve while hiking the coastal uplands and boardwalks through mangrove forests. This two-hour hike, beginning at 9 a.m. is best for ages 6 and older. Advance registration required.
Great Weedon Bird Quest: This popular two-hour hike starts at 8 a.m. Friday. The group will learn the identifying marks and behaviors of our feathered year-round residents and seasonal visitors while assisting in compiling an annual checklist of the preserve's birds. The hike is designed to take advantage of all levels of birding experience. Binoculars and bird guides are available. Advance registration required.
Photograph Program: A special two-hour program designed for adult photographers is scheduled for Sept. 21. A brief classroom session will begin at 8 a.m. when volunteers highlight seasonal features of the preserve and specific wildlife behaviors to help participants capture the natural beauty of Weedon Island Preserve. Advance registration required.
Wee-Time: This program is designed to introduce preschool children to the wonders of the natural and cultural world. The second and fourth Thursday of each month, children are treated to a variety of stories and hands-on activities that connect them to their environment. This 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. activity is recommended for ages 3 to 5.
Wetlands Discussion: Learn how to interpret the characteristics that define wetlands at 1 p.m. Saturday. During this one-hour presentation, learn to read the story that the plants and soils tell us about these wetlands. Identification of hydrologic indicators, hydric soils and some key wetland plants will be covered. This class is helpful for those wanting to extend their knowledge of wetland systems and for those who want to learn how to identify some common wetland plants. Advance registration required.
You Have Guns and So Have We: On Sept. 19, the archaeology lecture series will present this ethno-historic perspective on Seminole Indian combat behaviors. Much of the 7 to 8 p.m. literature has focused on the origins and causes of warfare rather than the behaviors associated with it. By tracing the combat behaviors of the Seminoles back through time to those of their ancestors, the group is able to see the evolution of the combat behaviors used by the warriors during the apex of their militancy - the infamous Second Seminole War. Advance registration required.
Connecting People and Place: This art-inspired, permanent hands-on educational exhibit reveals the area's history, ecology and people.
Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center is located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg and is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; closed all Pinellas County holidays.
For more information about Pinellas County services and programs, visit www.pinellascounty.org.