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Discover Pinellas - Pinellas County preserves shed light on the mysteries of nature

Published:   |   Updated: October 2, 2013 at 05:57 PM

PINELLAS COUNTY – Pinellas County’s Brooker Creek and Weedon Island preserves jump into fall with children’s programs, hikes and fascinating programs to entertain and shed light on the mysteries of nature. Unless otherwise noted, the programs are free but require advance registration.
 
Brooker Creek Preserve
 
Beginning at 10:30 a.m. each Thursday in October, youngsters continue to be treated to Book-Time at Brooker. For 45 minutes, tots ages 3 to 5 have the opportunity to connect to the wonders of the natural world through stories and crafts, games or other hands-on activities.
 
Join a local natural resources agent on Friday at 9 a.m. for this two-hour forestry hike along two miles of boardwalks and natural trails at the preserve. Come prepared with binoculars, cameras and questions. Inquiries can also be researched in the resource room upon return to the education center.
 
Brooker Creek Preserve is known for the number of free hikes available throughout the preserve. Each Saturday this month, 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.
 
A botany hike, best suited for adults, is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 11, from 9 to 11 a.m.  A Brooker Creek naturalist will guide the group while exploring the fascinating plants found on the preserve and identifying wildflowers, ferns, epiphytes, trees and more. The ecology of various plant communities will also be examined. Come prepared with a camera and questions.
 
On Saturday, Oct. 12, bird lovers will enjoy an 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.
 
Also on Saturday, Oct. 12, beginning at 10:30 a.m., join a Sensing Nature guide on this 90-minute easy hike to discover tracks, scats and signs of wildlife. The group will learn about tracking wildlife and other nature clues that will unveil wildlife’s presence.
 
Brooker Creek Preserve is located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. To learn more about its upcoming programs and events, call (727) 453-6800. To register for programs and events visit www.brookercreekpreserve.org.
 
Weedon Island Preserve
 
Hikers can find numerous opportunities at Weedon Island Preserve. Each Saturday this month, 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.
 
The Great Weedon Bird Quest takes place Friday, Oct. 11. The group will learn the identifying marks and behaviors of the area’s feathered year-round residents and seasonal visitors while assisting in compiling an annual checklist of the preserve’s birds. This two-hour hike, starting at 8 a.m., is designed to take advantage of all levels of birding experience. Binoculars and bird guides are available.  Advance registration required.
 
Wee-Time at Weedon is a program 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.
 
What a waste, seeing rainwater pouring out of gutter downspouts then down the street. On Saturday, Oct. 12, participants will learn how to save that water in a recycled plastic drum to be used later in landscapes. During this in this 10 to 11:30 a.m. workshop, each attendee will receive instructions and reference booklet, and will have the option of purchasing a rain barrel. The workshop is free and best for ages 10 and older. Rain barrels are available for purchase at the time of required registration.
 
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.

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