Nature Events for the New Year

A monthly e-newsletter sharing our nature news and events
‘Trees for Sarasota’ Workshop

Tired of looking at yet another palm tree? Want something interesting in your landscape? Join us for a fun free evening exploring the trees of Sarasota County, with discussions on the best trees for our Florida landscaping and the benefits of planting these trees in your home landscape.

Tuesday, January 6, 6-7 p.m.  
Nature Center classroom
3900 Shamrock Dr., Venice
Sponsors: UF/IFAS Extension and Sarasota County
For more information, contact Alyssa Vinson via  or call 941-861-5000

Winter Plants and Nesting Eagles Walk in Venice

with Denny and Al


Join amateur botanists and Florida Native Plant Society members, Denny Girard and Al Squires on a winter walk guiding you through

scrub, flatwoods, and coastal woodlands that border beautiful Lemon Bay. Along the way, they will share information about winter native vegetation, searching for Florida scrub-jays that make their home on this preserve as well as keeping an eye out for nesting bald eagles.


Wednesday, January 7, 9-11 a.m.     

6200 Osprey Road, Venice

Space limited to 20.
Guides: Denny Girard and Al Squires, Sarasota County volunteers
Register here for this event.
Be a Florida Scrub-jay Docent

The Florida Scrub-jay is the only species of bird endemic to Florida. One of only 15 species of birds endemic to the United States and it’s living right here in Sarasota County! Join a Park Naturalist at Shamrock Park to learn about our most threatened species. Help teach others the importance of protecting them and what we can all do to help.

First Wednesday – monthly until April 2015, 10 a.m.  
3900 Shamrock Dr., Venice
Meet under the roof of the Nature Center
For more information, contact Brooke Elias via or call 941-861-5000
Friends of the Legacy Trail
                 2015 Surrey Ride Program! 
The Friends of the Legacy Trail (FLT) Surrey Program offers a way for mobility challenged residents and visitors who would otherwise be unable to share in The Legacy Trail to enjoy the experience. You will be able to sit back and enjoy the ride on a 4-passenger, 4-wheeled canopy covered bicycle while FLT volunteers provide the pedal-power.  Registrations necessary.


Wednesday’s and Thursday’s, January 7 through March 26
10 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1 p.m.
509 Collins Road, Laurel
Guides: Friends of the Legacy Trail Volunteers
Register here for this event.   
Phillippi Farmhouse Market
         Sponsors: Friends of Sarasota County Parks (FOSCP)


Local fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants for sale as well as locally prepared foods and local artisans with their creative handicrafts. Live music, ample free parking, and friendly volunteers to assist you.

FREE docent guided tours of Edson Keith Mansion:  Meet at 10 a.m.Pets on leash welcome. Closed on December 24.

Wednesdays 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


Land Management in an Urban Setting

Join Jeff Weber as he shares tools and techniques used to manage an urban natural area site. You will get a “behind the scenes” glimpse into the decision making processes involved in developing a comprehensive management strategy. Visitors will see firsthand the results of various management practices that have been successfully used at the preserve.


Friday, January 9, 9-11 a.m.   

5200 Beneva Road, Sarasota
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Register here for this event.

Fitness in the Park: Fit as a Fiddle for Fifty-Plus


Looking for an opportunity to get a little fresh air, meet new people and get healthier and stronger? Join Park staff for a walk that improves health, balance and overall fitness. Enjoy a series of exercise equipment along the trail for fitness stops.  A gentle workout, (not for advanced fitness buffs) with the goal to minimize risk of falls and increase your sense of well-being and quality of life. Wear comfortable athletic shoes, sun protection, hat, and bring drinking water. Approximately 1 mile on paved and relatively even unpaved trails.


Friday’s, now through April 24, 2015, 9-10 a.m.        

4000 Honore Ave., Sarasota
Guides: Sarasota County Park staff
No registrations necessary.
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 some of the many interesting fishes and other animals that inhabit the bay.
Saturday, January 10, 9:30 -11:30 a.m.
570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood
Guide: Chuck Idelberger, Sarasota County Volunteer


To register for this event:

Please call Chuck Idelberger at 941-488-8998 or Kenya Leonard at941-915-1244 for details. 

Woodland Stoll at 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 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.

Wednesday, January 14, 9-11 a.m.      

189 Pocono Trail, Nokomis

Space limited to 15.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Register here for this event.
‘Prescribed Fire Benefits Florida’s Listed Species’ Program

Join Sarasota County Naturalist and Wildland Firefighter Angela Kaiser for a program on Prescribed Fire and its benefits to our local wildlife and the natural areas around you. Learn what you can do to protect your home from wildfire, how wildlife survives a fire, and the benefits of prescribed fire.

Thursday, January 15, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.  
Nature Center classroom
3900 Shamrock Dr., Venice
Angela Kaiser, Sarasota County Naturalist and Wildland Firefighter
For more information, contact Angela Kaiser via  or call 941-861-5000

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 volunteer guide and 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, January 17, 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.

Monthly Rain Barrel Workshop and Sales 


Saturday, January 17, 10-11 a.m.    
Green Room,
6700 Clark Rd., 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. Rain barrels are available for sale for $37 each, including 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 Carlton Reserve volunteer guide 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, January 18, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.           
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice
Space limited to 12
Guides: David Reynolds and Gary Vasbinder, Sarasota County Volunteers

To register for this event: 

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

‘The Advantage of Invasive Plant Control’ Walk and Talk


Join Denny Girard and Al Squires as they teach you about out-of-control, non-native plants and what impacts they cause in our natural areas. This will be an informal walk and talk with plant samples displayed on picnic tables. Meet at the pavilion.

Wednesday, January 21, 9-11 a.m.           
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guides: Denny Girard and Al Squires, Sarasota County Volunteers

Register here for this event.

What’s that? Plant and Wildlife ID Walk

Join 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 Red Bug Slough Preserve,

one of many natural areas available through the Sarasota County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program.

Monday, January 26, 9-11 a.m.   
5200 Beneva Road, Sarasota
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Register here for this event.
  • Prescribed Burn Demos – live!
  • Special guest speakers
  • Fire equipment on display
  • Helicopter 1 water drop demo
  • Guided nature walks
  • Kids games
  • Free food and more!
Bring the family to see a first-hand look at how prescribed burns protect our communities and property from wildfires, maintaining Florida’s natural ecosystems for present and future generations. Lots of exhibitors, games and live demonstrations for your family to enjoy. Just a few of the exhibitors that you will be enjoying:

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office – Air One, Sarasota County History Center, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office – Mounted Patrol, Sarasota K-9 Search and Rescue, Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD),Wildlife Center of Venice, Wildlife Inc. and many more!


Saturday, January 31, 2015 – 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice
Free event for the whole family!
Archaeological Walking Tour

Archaeologist Ryan Murphy will discuss the Phillippi Flake Scatter and the Prodie Shell Midden as you stroll the estate and learn about the interesting pre-history of the area. From 5,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C., the native population sharpened and produced stone tools on site. TheProdie Shell Midden dates approximately between 400 A.D. and 800 A.D. and represents the Manasota encampment. Be a part of this free informative history walk – no registration necessary.

Wednesday, February 11, 11:30 a.m.
Approx. 45 minutes
5500 S. Tamiami Tr.,  Sarasota
Guide: Ryan Murphy, Sarasota County
History Center’s Archaeologist
Meet at the Keith Farmhouse next to the Edson Keith Mansion.

No registrations necessary.

For more information call 941-316-1309.


Registration Process for Nature Events


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


For additional help with account set-up, call 941-861-7275 during weekday business hours.  

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

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