Dragonflies and Wildflowers: Sarasota’s Calendar of Nature Events for April 2014

A monthly e-newsletter sharing our news and events
Sunrise bird walk
Join us in a sunrise birding adventure that will lead you through pine and scrubby flatwoods with wonderful views of Lemon Bay during your hike.Along the way you may encounter native plants and animals, a variety of shore birds (such as anhinga and snowy egret) and birds of prey (like bald eagle and osprey).

Wednesday, April 2, 8-10 a.m.  
570 Bay Park Blvd., Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guides: Sarasota Park Naturalists and Sarasota volunteers
Woodland stroll 

Join us as we lead you on a woodland stroll from upland habitats to the shores of Shakett Creek in Nokomis. Along the way, participants may see a variety of plant and animal species including live oaks, eastern red cedars, cabbage palms, bracken ferns, osprey, wading birds and other wildlife common to the area.

Thursday, April 3, 9-11 a.m.

Pocono Trail Preserve

189 Pocono Trail, Nokomis 

Space limited to 15.

Guide: Jeff Weber,  Environmental Specialist


Would you believe there are over 50 species of dragonflies that call Sarasota County home? You are invited to learn more about these fascinating creatures and enjoy their vibrant colors and amazing flight skills while walking through this unique 136-acre multi-use complex and park.
Saturday, April 5, 10:30 a.m.-noon 
1300 S. River Road, Englewood

Space limited to 15.

Guides: Don and Kathy Hess,

Sarasota County volunteers

Little Naturalist field trip for toddlers or preschoolers
Looking for an alternative to the typical playgroup? Then bring your toddler or preschooler to connect with nature in fun, creative ways at Sarasota County’s exciting nature program, The Little Naturalist. This program includes a short guided nature walk, a variety of hands-on nature themed activities, a snack and a story.

Tuesday, April 8, 10-11 a.m.  
4000 Honore Ave, Sarasota
Space limited to 18 children.
Guides: Sarasota County Park Naturalists
Looking for Virginia willow with Denny and Al
Join them for a search for the small native, deciduous shrub, Itea virginica, commonly known as Virginia willow. Found in swamps, stream banks, wet hammocks, or floodplain forests, the search just may lead to other discoveries along the way. Enjoy lively discussions about the botany found along Curry Creek as you walk through flatwoods, oak scrub and other habitats.

Wednesday, April 9, 9-11 a.m.  
1500 Pinebrook Road, Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guides: Denny Girard / Al Squires,  Sarasota volunteer guides
The search for spring wildflowers
Join in on the sleuthing as you hike on an informative journey of discovery. Your search along the trails through pine flatwoods and oak hammocks will bring glimpses of this preserve’s beautiful spring wildflowers.

Friday, April 11, 9-11 a.m.  
1500 Pinebrook Road, Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Jeff Weber,  Environmental Specialist 
Bike the wild Carlton! Join Sarasota County volunteer guides and SCORR (Sarasota County Off-Road Riders) members for a bike excursion while enjoying the wild and challenging wilderness trails of the beautiful Carlton. For the whole family!

Saturday, April 12, 9-11 a.m.

T. Mabry Carlton Jr., Memorial Reserve

1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice

Space limited to 20.

Guides: Randy Hurley and Steve Christian, Sarasota County volunteers

Birding diversity with Charlie SampleCalling all birding enthusiasts! Be tantalized and wowed by the vast array of bird species and nature. Don’t miss this opportunity to help document the birds found at the Carlton. You won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, April 12, 7:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.

T. Mabry Carlton Jr., Memorial Reserve

1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice

Space limited to 14.

Guide: Charlie Sample, Sarasota County volunteer


Pre-registration necessary via email to Charlie Sample atcsample41@verizon.net.

FREE FUN EVENT:  Celebrate County Day 2014Who are the people in your neighborhood? Bring the whole family and celebrate! Visit Gulf Gate Library at the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall and experience: – Indoor and Outdoor Exhibits – Kids Activities – Emergency Vehicle Demos – Games – Door prizes and more!

Saturday, April 12, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Gulf Gate Library in Westfield Sarasota Square

8201 S. Tamiami Trail,


(Inside Westfield

Sarasota Square Mall,

near JC Penney)

Early morning birding walk
Take this opportunity to learn how to find a variety of birds in pine and scrubby flatwoods as well as along the shores of Lemon Bay. Develop a greater appreciation of our winged wildlife during this educational guided walk.

Tuesday, April 15, 8-10 a.m.  
6200 Osprey Road, Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Nancy Edmondson,
Environmental Specialist 
Early morning birding walk
Looking for something fun and refreshing for an early morning jaunt? You and other folks interested in birding as an intellectual and recreational activity will develop a greater appreciation of our winged wildlife while enjoying the variety of natural plant communities.

Friday, April 18, 8-10 a.m.  
2695 Bridge St., Englewood
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Nancy Edmondson,
Environmental Specialist 
What’s that? Plant and wildlife ID hike 

Be our guest on a nature hike from upland habitats to the shores of Shakett Creek with a search to discover a variety of plant and animal species including live oaks, eastern red cedars, cabbage palms, bracken ferns, osprey, wading birds and other wildlife common to the area. You never know what you will find!


Saturday, April 19, 9-11 a.m.

Pocono Trail Preserve

189 Pocono Trail, Nokomis 

Space limited to 15.

Guide: Jeff Weber,  Environmental Specialist

EVENT: Monthly rain barrel workshop and sales  

Saturday, April 19, 10-11 a.m.   

Twin Lakes Park

6700 Clark Road., Sarasota

Contact: David Pouso, Environmental Specialist

Learn how the use of rain barrels can conserve water, save money by reducing the use of potable water in landscapes (lower utility bills), and reduce stormwater runoff by storing and diverting runoff from impervious surfaces (roofs). Practical tips on the construction and installation of rain barrels will be provided.


After the class, rain barrels are available for sale for $37 each, including tax and spigot assembly.  Payment can be made by cash or check.  To register for the free class, please use the IFAS link on the right hand side of this newsletter.

Family bike adventures 

Got bikes? It’s perfect weather to grab the whole family for an off-road wilderness bicycle ride through the beautiful Carlton Reserve. Expect to see lots of wildlife!

Sunday, April 20, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve

1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice 

Space limited to 12.

Guides: David Reynolds and family, 

Sarasota County volunteers


Pre-registration required by calling David Reynolds at
In Search of Blue Flag iris and spring plants with Denny and Al 

Join these amateur botanists as they help you search for beautiful Blue Flag iris and spring plants. Named for the nearby historic winter quarters of the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus and for the preserve’s primary habitat of hydric hammock, this interesting nature walk will lead you through a unique urban preserve under a canopy of oaks, red maple, hackberry, and American elms.

Wednesday, April 23, 9-11 a.m.

Circus Hammock

4572 17th St., Sarasota 

Space limited to 20.

Guides: Denny Girard and Al Squires,  

Sarasota County volunteers

EVENTS: Two events celebrating Arbor Day 2014  

Sarasota County, UF/IFAS Extension and FP&L are celebrating Arbor Day 2014 with two educational events. “Tree School,” focusing on best practices and proper tree care for commercial and property management audiences. CEU’s will be available, ISA, FNGLA.


‘Value of Trees and Pruning for Tree Health” – for family audiences.   There will be pruning demos, right tree/right place information, Q&A time available with a panel of experts, a commemorative tree planting at the UF/IFAS Extension Gardens, and a free pindo palm seedling (until supplies run out).


Both events will be at UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota.


‘Tree School’ – Commercial and Property Mgt audiences
  – Friday, April 25, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
‘Value of Trees Event’ – Family audiences
  – Saturday, April 26, 1 – 4 p.m. 
UF/IFAS Extension, Twin Lakes Park6700 Clark Road, Sarasota

Would you believe there are over 50 species of dragonflies that call Sarasota County home? To learn more about these fascinating creatures and enjoy their vibrant colors and amazing flight skills, join us while you hike and enjoy an old Florida nature experience.
Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m.-noon 
6968 Reistertown Road, North Port

Space limited to 15.

Guides: Don and Kathy Hess,

Sarasota County volunteers

Beginning birding for families  

Calling all birding families! Bring your family to join in on a birding nature journey into the wild. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from expert birders how to identify and document the vast array of birds on site.


Saturday, April 26, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice

Space limited to 14.

Guides: Venice Area Audubon and

Sarasota County volunteers

EVENT: 25th Annual Earth Day Festival  

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Oscar Scherer State Park and the Friends of Oscar Scherer Park, Inc. are hosting the 25th Annual Earth Day Festival. This fun and family-oriented event will feature live music, food vendors, tram tours ($5 per person and free for youth under 6 years of age), information and craft booths, demonstrations, native plants for sale, a photo exhibit featuring local photographers, as well as lots of activities for kids including a coloring contest, storytelling, and a puppet show! Additionally, the park’s normal entrance fees will be waived on this date in celebration of Earth Day.


Sunday, April 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Oscar Scherer State Park1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL
EVENTS: Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan (PDRP) Workshops – An invitation to learn more
County staff invites you to an informative workshop regarding Sarasota County’s draft PDRP. A PDRP identifies policies, operational strategies, and roles and responsibilities for implementation that will guide decisions that affect long-term recovery and redevelopment of the community after a disaster. There will be a short presentation and Q&A session.  Two locations and dates to choose:
Tuesday, April 29, 6-8 p.m.  
Twin Lakes Park – Green Room,6700 Clark Road, Sarasota
Wednesday, April 30, 6-8 p.m.
Venice Community Center – Rm A, 326 S. Nokomis Avenue, Venice
Be a part of the grand opening celebration!
Be a part of history and attend the Scherer Thaxton Preserve grand opening. This is the newest preserve addition to Sarasota County’s conservation lands.  The public is invited to enjoy 287 acres of trails through pine flatwoods, depressional wetlands, mesic hammock with wild flowers throughout, including a mile marked exercise trail around the lake. The celebration will have guest speakers, a brief ribbon cutting ceremony, light refreshments while they last, and guided nature walks.
Saturday, May 3, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.  
Scherer Thaxton Preserve
13125 Honore Ave, Nokomis
From Gulf to Lagoon 

Free nature walk from the Gulf shore to a lagoon off Lemon Bay led by ecologist Bruce Dayton at Blind Pass Beach. We discuss how water, wind, sand and living things interact to create our beautiful barrier islands (keys as we call them). The biological emphasis will be on habitats. Included are beach, dune, coastal hammock and mangrove. It is a fairly easy two hour stroll on beach, boardwalk, and a short trail.


Dates and locations to be announced.

Start time is 9 a.m.

Space limited to 15.

Guides: Jim Clubb and Bruce Dayton,

Sarasota County volunteers


For available dates, location and pre-registration, please call Bruce Dayton at 941-493-5087.

Lemon Bay Conservancy nature walks at Wildflower Preserve 

The Lemon Bay Conservancy is sponsoring a series of nature walks at Wildflower Preserve. Please check the website’s calendar for available dates.


All walks start in the parking lot located at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., south of Englewood, east of Placida Road.
For further information call Bill Dunson at 276-233-6364
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Sarasota County Government
Natural Resources
1001 Sarasota Center Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34240

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