Nature events for April in the Parks

April is the coolest month – in Sarasota’s parks


A monthly e-newsletter sharing our nature news and events
Birding at Manasota Scrub Preserve


Join avid birder, Nancy Edmondson, as you explore Manasota Scrub Preserve searching for spring migrant and resident birds, identifying many species. Gain a greater appreciation of our winged wildlife. Meet in the parking lot area.


Wednesday, April 1, 8-10 a.m.       

2695 Bridge Street, Englewood
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Nancy Edmondson, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist


Register here for this event.

Be a Florida Scrub-jay Docent

Join a Park Naturalist to learn about our most threatened species, the Florida Scrub-jay, the only species of bird endemic to Florida and one of only 15 species of birds endemic to the United States. Help teach others the importance of protecting them and what we can all do to help.

Wednesday, April 1,  10 a.m.  (Last one of the season.)
3900 Shamrock Dr., Venice
Meet under the roof of the Nature Center
For more information, contact Brooke Elias via or call 941-861-5000
Sunrise Bird Walk at Lemon Bay Park


Join respected local birders and Sarasota County volunteers in a sunrise birding adventure that will lead you through pine and scrubby flatwoods with wonderful views of Lemon Bay. Along the way you may encounter native plants and animals, a variety of shore birds (such as Anhinga’s and Snowy Egrets) and birds of prey (like Bald Eagles and Ospreys).

Wednesday, April 1, 8-10 a.m.
570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood
Guides: Sarasota County Volunteers


No registrations necessary.

Friends of Sarasota County Parks (FOSCP)
Phillippi Farmhouse Market
Local fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants for sale as well as local foods and artisans handicrafts. Live music, free parking, and volunteers ready to assist you. FREE docent guided tours of Edson Keith Mansion:  Meet at 10 a.m. Pets on leash welcome.
Wednesday’s now through April 29
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
5500 S. Tamiami Tr.,  Sarasota 

For more information on the Phillippi Farmhouse Market or how to become a vendor: Call 941-275-9397 or email


Demonstration Garden Tours at Shamrock Park

Master gardener volunteers will be giving free demonstration garden tours and advice on Florida gardening. Meet at the central garden area near the Nature Center.

Thursday, April 2, 9 -11 a.m.  
3900 Shamrock Dr., Venice
No registrations necessary.For information call 941-861-5000
Brown Bag Concert Series

Bring your lunch, a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the concert located at the park gazebo area. Free admission and free parking


Good Time Groove Big Band


Thursday,  April 2, 12-1 p.m.       


5500 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

No registrations needed.

FREE admission – FREE parking


Fitness in the Park:

Fit as a Fiddle for Fifty-Plus


Fresh air, meet new people, get healthier and stronger! Enjoy a gentle workout walk improving health, balance and overall fitness with a series of fitness stops along the trails. Goals: Minimize risk of falls, increase sense of well-being and quality of life. Wear athletic shoes, sun screen, hat, and bring drinking water. 1 mile paved and unpaved trails.


Friday’s, until April 24, 9-10 a.m.         

4000 Honore Ave., Sarasota
Guides: Sarasota County Park staff
No registrations necessary.

Birding Diversity at the Carlton Reserve


Calling all birding enthusiasts! Be tantalized and wowed by the vast array of bird species and nature found at the beautiful Carlton Reserve. Join local birder, Charlie Sample, as he leads you on a birding nature journey. Don’t miss this opportunity to help document the multitude of bird species on the Carlton Reserve outback. You won’t be disappointed!
Saturday, April 4, 7:15 a.m.-1 p.m.           
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice
Space limited to 14.
Guide: Charlie Sample, Sarasota County Volunteer

Register here for this event.

A Walk Around the Lake with Denny and Al

Explore the south end of Sleeping Turtles Preserve South’s meandering lake trails canopied by old live oaks and pines with Florida Native Plant Society members Al Squires and Denny Girard. It’s early spring and you may find early blooming plants such as Psychotria nervosa (Wild coffee, a Florida native shrub with white blossoms), early blooming pawpaws and both kinds of Lyonia. Who knows what wildflowers will be blooming!

Wednesday, April 8, 9-11 a.m.    

2800 N. River Road, Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guides: Denny Girard and Al Squires, Sarasota County volunteers
Photo by Florida Native Plant Society member
Register here for this event.

Your Input is Important:

Parks, Preserves and Recreation

Road Map for the Future

Sarasota County is developing a Parks, Preserve and Recreation Master Plan in conjunction with the cities, which will become the road map for parks and natural lands in our county. The plan will guide how the County provides park services and sets priorities.

Community input is essential to the success of the plan. We need YOU to tell us what’s working, what is needed and what’s most important to you and your family.

You are invited. Join us in the conversation and help us plan for the future at the following public workshops:

Monday, April 6, 6-7:30 p.m.    

326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice
Tuesday, April 7, 6-7:30 p.m.
6207 West Price Blvd., North Port
Wednesday, April 8, 6-7:30 p.m.
7112 Curtiss Ave., Sarasota
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.

Woodland Stoll on the Pocono


Join Jeff Weber as he leads you on a woodland stroll from upland habitats to the shores of Shakett Creek at Pocono Trail Preserve. 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.

Two dates to choose:


Wednesday, April 8 and

Tuesday, April 28, 9-11 a.m.      

189 Pocono Trail E., Nokomis

Space limited to 15.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Register here for this event.
University of Florida/IFAS Sarasota County Extension ServicesFlorida Friendly Basics: Free Workshops


Wicked Weeds:

Tired of battling weedy invaders? Learn how to accurately identify common yard invaders. Covering: lawn weeds, common invasive species, and many methods for controlling unwanted plant pests.


Friday, April 10, 3-4 p.m. 

570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood


Tired of our sandy soil? Learn how to create happy and healthy plants for next to no cost. It’s all about composting! Examples of compost and a discussion of many different forms of compost systems that are used in home gardens and how to use our compost effectively.


Saturday, April 18, 10-11 a.m.

Twin Lakes Park

Green Building, 6700 Clark Rd., Sarasota


To register for these or other great UF/IFAS workshops, check out the education line-up at Eventbrite.

Walk and Talk:

Fascinating Facts about Plants on the Preserve


Did you know that sea purslane has been used to clean stagnant waters? Have you heard the legend that inspired the name of Spanish moss? Join Florida Master Naturalist Tina Sebastian for a leisurely walk while discovering fascinating facts about the plants that grow there. Two dates to choose:


Friday, April 10 and Friday, April 24, 9-11 a.m.

5472 Kenisco Road., Venice

Space limited to 20.
Guide: Tina Sebastian, Sarasota County volunteer
Register here for this event.

Join the Lemon Bay F.I.S.H. Project!


Calling all F.I.S.H. – Folks Interested in Submerged Habitats! Get a little wet, have a little fun and learn a lot! Join us on a search for marine life in Lemon Bay. Using hand and seine nets, you will search shallow waters and seagrass beds, observing, collecting, and discussing the natural history of many interesting fishes and other animals that inhabit the bay.


Saturday, April 11, 9:30 -11:30 a.m.

570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood

Space is unlimited.
Guide: Chuck Idelberger, American Littoral Society Biologist

To register for this event: Please call Chuck Idelberger at

941-488-8998 for details.

What’s that?!

Plant and Animal ID Hike at Pocono Trail Preserve


Join super sleuth, Jeff Weber, as he leads you on an informative fun journey of discovery through oak hammocks highlighting native and non-native plants and animals. Enjoy hiking thru the preserve (once the site of the famed Pollyanna Inn in 1922), while catching glimpses of eastern red cedars, cabbage palms, Boston ferns and views of Dona Bay.


Friday, April 17, 9-11 a.m.      

189 Pocono Trail E., Nokomis

Space limited to 15.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County
Environmental Specialist
Register here for this event.

Monthly Rain Barrel Workshop and Sales 


Saturday, April 18, 10-11 a.m.    
6050 Longwood Run Blvd., 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 will be provided. Rain  barrels for sale for $37 each, includes tax and spigot assembly.  Cash or check accepted.

To register for this free class: Please use the IFAS link on the right hand column of this newsletter.

Family Bike Adventures at the Carlton Reserve


Got bikes? It’s perfect weather to grab the whole family to join volunteer guides David Reynolds and Gary Vasbinder for an off-road wilderness bicycle ride through the beautiful Carlton Reserve. Expect to see lots of wildlife! Must be able to ride an off-road type bicycle.
Sunday, April 19, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.           
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice
Space limited to 12
Guides: David Reynolds and Gary Vasbinder

To register for this event: 

Please call David Reynolds directly at 941-412-5575 or Gary Vasbinder at 941-893-7729 for specific requirements.

Spring Flowers in the Park with Denny and Al

Join amateur botanists and Florida Native Plant Society members, Denny Girard and Al Squires as they lead you on a walk from a wetland boardwalk through a scrub and pine flatwood area while exploring for spring’s flowering plants. Experience Urfer Family Park’s meandering trails while enjoying the natural lands and plants.

Wednesday, April 22, 9-11 a.m.    

4000 Honore Ave., Sarasota
Space limited to 20.
Guides: Denny Girard and Al Squires, Sarasota County volunteers
Photo by Florida Native Plant Society member
Register here for this event.
Land Management in an Urban Setting at Manasota Scrub Preserve


Join Nancy Edmondson, as she shares tools and techniques used to manage Manasota Scrub Preserve, an urban natural area site. Participants will receive insight into the decision making processes involved in developing a comprehensive management strategy for the preserve. You will see firsthand the results of various management practices that have been successfully used at the preserve.


Wednesday, April 22, 9-11 a.m.

2695 Bridge Street, Englewood
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Nancy Edmondson, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist


Register here for this event.

Sarasota County’s

Comprehensive Plan Update Needs Your Help!

Sarasota County’s economy and quality of life are inextricably linked with a healthy environment. Clean waterbodies, clean air, and a balance of natural land and developed areas all contribute to making Sarasota County a desirable place to live, work, and play.

The Comprehensive Plan Update will take the form of a series of seven Cycles; Environmental Systems, Mobility, Economic Development, Public Utilities, Land Use and Urban Design, and Quality of Life. Each Cycle will last about 8-9 weeks, and includes online surveys, workshops and educational materials.

Cycle 1, addressing Environmental Systems in Sarasota County is now open, until April 30, 2015. Click here to learn more and take the first survey!


Upcoming workshops:
Thursday, April 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.        
326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice
Monday, April 27, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
William L. Little Health and Human Services Center Auditorium
2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
For more information, please contact the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or to be added to their mailing list,   

What’s that?!

Plant and Animal ID Hike at Curry Creek Preserve

Join Sarasota County Environmental Specialist and super sleuth, Jeff Weber, as he leads you on an informative fun journey of discovery through pine flatwoods and oak hammocks highlighting both native and non-native plants and animals of the preserve.


Thursday, April 23, 9-11 a.m.   
1500 Pinebrook Rd., Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Register here for this event.
Save the Date! Festival Of Roses

Roses, Roses, Roses!  Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources together with The Bradenton-Sarasota Rose Society are please to invite you to a FREE Festival of Roses. Look what’s happening:

  • Old Garden Rose Tour (Over 70 to see!)
  • Rose arrangements made by Rose Society members
  • Classes on simplified rose selection and care in Florida
  • Sale of roses (Both cut rose bouquets, rose arrangements and rose bushes on sale while they last)
  • Free seminars with the Rose Doctor that will diagnose your rose growing issues
Saturday, May 9, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Edson Keith Mansion at
5500 S. Tamiami Tr.,  Sarasota 

For more information about the Festival of Roses: Call Vincent Celeste at

941-358-6991, email or visit


Please remember to Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle, when visiting your parks and natural lands!


Please use appropriate containers for recycles and trash.

When visiting a preserve or natural land where there are limited trash receptacles, please remember to ‘Pack it in. Pack it out.’  Leave nothing but your footprints. Thank you for caring.


For more information on the three R’s for your home and business, visitSarasota County Solid Waste for useful information.


Registration Process for Nature Events

Attached here are directions to set up an account and to sign up for a free nature walk.


About Us
Sarasota County
Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources
1660 Ringling Boulevard
Sarasota, Florida 34236

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Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, religion, or genetic information.  Persons with disabilities who require assistance or alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), or who wish to file a complaint, should contact: Sarasota County ADA/ Civil Rights Coordinator, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34236, Phone: 941-861-5000, TTY: 7-1-1 or 1-800-955-8771, Email: