The remarkable diversity of Nature in February

Quite a variety of events in our parks this month – from Currey Creek to Red Bug, Phillippi to the Pocono, plus the Grand Opening Celebration at Siesta Beach. Enjoy the height of the season!


A monthly nature e-newsletter sharing our nature news and events
Land Management in an Urban Preserve at Curry Creek Preserve


Join Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist, who will identify a number of special challenges facing land managers in charge of managing sensitive, natural habitats in urbanized areas at Curry Creek Preserve, an urban natural area site. Learn about the innovative ways Sarasota County staff manages fire dependent habitats, mitigates wildfire danger, protects rare species and balances the needs of public recreation.
Tuesday, February 2, 9 – 11 a.m.    
Curry Creek Preserve (East entrance)
1500 Pinebrook Rd., Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info here for this event.
Urfer Family Park Walk with Denny and Al


Join Sarasota County volunteers, amateur botanists and Florida Native Plant Society members, Denny Girard and Al Squires, as they lead you on a walk at Urfer Family Park, Sarasota’s first Gold Leed Certified Park. Enjoy the meandering trails from a wetland boardwalk through a scrub and pine flatwoods area, while sharing their boundless knowledge of botany.
Wednesday, February 3, 9 – 11 a.m.    
4000 Honore Ave., Sarasota
Space limited to 20.
Guides:  Denny Girard and Al Squires, Sarasota County Volunteers
Registration info here for this event.  
Friends of the Legacy Trail
2016 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. On-line registrations are necessary.
Wednesday’s and Thursday’s,
Now through April, 14 
9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12 p.m.
509 Collins Road, Laurel
Guides: Friends of the Legacy Trail Volunteers
Registration info here for this event.
Phillippi Farmhouse Market
Sponsor: Friends of Sarasota County Parks (FOSCP)
Local fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants for sale as well as local foods and artisan crafts. Enjoy live music and free parking. Plenty of volunteers ready to assist you. Pets on a leash are always welcome at the market.
During market hours, enjoy FREE narrated historical tours of the Edson Keith Mansion starting at 10 a.m. The tour includes the history of the early beginnings of the Sarasota Community. 
Wednesday’s now through April, 2016 – 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
5500 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
For more information on the PhillippiFarmhouse Market or how to become a vendor: Call 941-275-9397 or
Some Local History Walk

Walk along Sleeping Turtles Preserve North’s woodland trails with Sarasota County’s Environmental Specialist, Nancy Edmondson, while discussing some of the history along the Myakka River. Old aerial maps will be compared to the landscape existing today, as well as describing some aspects of the property as a home site in the 1980s.

Thursday, February 4, 9 – 11 a.m.
3462 Border Road, Venice
Spaced limited to 20.
Guide: Nancy Edmondson, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info here for this event. 
Demonstration Garden Tours at Shamrock Park
Join the master gardener volunteers as they provide free demonstration garden tours and advice on Florida gardening.
Meet at the central garden area near the Nature Center.

Thursday, February 4, 9 -10 a.m.
3900 Shamrock Dr., Venice
No registrations necessary.
All welcome! For more information call 941-861-5000. 
Phillippi Estate Park February Events
Brown Bag Concerts, 2/4/2016
Free concerts every Thursday in February and March, at noon at the park Gazebo. Please bring a lunch and a lawn chair.
Quick Draw Painting Contest, 2/17/2016
Starts at 9 a.m. until noon. Judging will take place at Phillippi Farmhouse Market. More info:
Chasers Gala Art Weekend
Friday, February 26, 5-8 p.m., Master Artists Show & Light Chasers 5th Annual Show
Saturday, February 27, 5-8 p.m., Paint Sarasota Paint Out!
Sunday, February 28, noon-5 p.m., Last Chance to View and Buy
5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
For more information, please call

Friday Morning Fitness Walks!


Join Sarasota County Park Naturalist, Angela Kaiser, for Friday morning fitness walks at Lemon Bay Park! You will take a brisk walk every Friday along the 2 mile loop trail through Lemon Bay’s beautiful and picturesque pine flatwoods. Walks will leave from the Arbor at the end of the parking lot promptly at 9 a.m. This fitness walk will be every Friday until May 27. Be sure to join us for exercise, fresh air and fun!
Friday’s: February 5, 12, 19, and 26
9 a.m.
570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood
Space limited to 20.
Guide:  Angela Kaiser,
Sarasota County Park Naturalist 
No registrations necessary. Just show up and join us!
Fun, Fascinating Facts about Plants!


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 and Sarasota County Environmental Specialist, Nancy Edmondson, for a leisurely walk and discover fascinating facts about the plants that grow there.
Friday, February 5 and 12, 9 – 11 a.m.    
5472 Kenisco Rd., Venice
Space limited to 20.
Guides:  Tina Sebastian, Sarasota County volunteer and Nancy Edmondson, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info here for this event.  
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, February 6, 7:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.           
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice
Space limited to 14.
Guide: Charlie Sample,
Sarasota County Volunteer
Registration info here for this event.  
Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society Public Speaker Series and Events


Tuesday, February 9, 7 p.m.
570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood
Learn about native plants and their natural habitats, with featured speaker, Jim Knoy. His knowledge of local conservation lands will be illustrated through his photography. Information about the speaker
and examples of his photography may be seen at
Saturday, February 27, 9 a.m.
2000 S River Rd., Englewood
Join us for a slow stroll with Denny Girard at Myakka State Forest. The forest consists primarily of mesic flatwoods with a mixture of longleaf and slash pine with a palmetto understory and numerous depression marshes. To get there from Englewood, take River Rd. until the main park entrance is reached, just beyond the Winchester Blvd. light. Entrance is on the right. For information, call Denny Girard at 941-474-1492, or email him at . Everyone is welcome. 
For more information about future Mangrove Chapter activities and events, visit or Our meetings, field trips and special events are free and open to the public.
Take a Woodland Stroll on the Pocono


Join Sarasota County Environmental Specialist, Jeff Weber, as he leads you on a leisurely stroll through the shady woodlands at Pocono Trail Preserve in Nokomis. Enjoy the beautiful live oak and cabbage palm hammocks, occasional glimpses of wading birds along the shoreline, and learn about the history of this interesting area.
Wednesday, February 10, 9 – 11 a.m. 
189 Pocono Trail East, Nokomis
Space limited to 15.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info 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 American Littoral Society Biologist, Chuck Idelberger, 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, February 13, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.    
570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood
Space is unlimited.
Guide:  Chuck Idelberger, American
Littoral Society Biologist
Please call Chuck Idelberger directly at
 941-488-8998 to register.
Pooches at the Preserve


Leash up your pooch and join Red Bug Slough Preserve’s staff for a fun and informative dog-friendly nature walk through the preserve. Enjoy the shaded trails with your four-legged companion and learn about dog etiquette, dog safety in natural areas, owner responsibilities and a wide variety of additional “pooch-tacular” information. Please only two leashed dogs per person, and be sure to bring pet waste bags and dog treats (optional). Remember, all dogs must be on leash at all times.
Wednesday, February 17, 9 – 11 a.m. 
5200 Beneva Rd., Sarasota
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info here for this event.
Explore the Seasonal Changes at Lemon Bay Park


Join Sarasota County volunteer guides, amateur botanists and Florida Native Plant Society members, Denny Girard and Al Squires, as they lead you on a leisurely stroll at Lemon Bay Park. Learn about the seasonal changes and the diversity of habitats that can be found in the park and the many species of plants and animals that depend on them. You may encounter native plants and animals, like snowy egrets, ospreys, and protected species, like gopher tortoises, and bald eagles.
Wednesday, February 17, 9 – 11 a.m.
570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood
Space limited to 20.
Guides:  Denny Girard and Al Squires, Sarasota County Volunteers
Registration info here for this event. 
Sunset Walk by the Myakka River

Enjoy a leisurely stroll at the end of the day along the “Wild and Scenic” Myakka River at Sleeping Turtles Preserve North with Sarasota County’s Environmental Specialist, Nancy Edmondson. See how the look of a preserve changes in the late afternoon. Please remember to bring flashlights, as sunset is 6:23 p.m.

Friday, February 19, 5 – 6 p.m.
3462 Border Road, Venice
Spaced limited to 20.
Guide: Nancy Edmondson, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info here for this event. 

You are invited!

Siesta Beach Grand Opening Celebration!


The community is invited to see what’s new at the country’s No. 1 beach!Join Sarasota County and its partners in celebrating the completion of the Siesta Beach improvement  project.

This family-friendly celebration includes:

  • Entertainment
  • Food and beverages
  • Recreational activities
  • Beach sports
  • Arts & crafts
  • Special guests
  • Walking tours of the new amenities and improvements
Saturday, February 20, 9 a.m.

Siesta Beach

948 Beach Road, Siesta Key
For more information, contact the Sarasota County Contact Center @  941-861-5000.

Monthly Rain Barrel Workshop and Sales


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.

Saturday, February 20, 10 – 11 a.m.
3951 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice 
Contact: David Pouso, Sarasota CountyEnvironmental Specialist, 941-861-5000


To register for this free class go to Eventbrite.

Family Bike Adventures at the Carlton Reserve
Got bikes? It’s perfect weather to grab the whole family to join 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, February 21, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.    
1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice
Space limited to 12
Guides: David Reynolds and Gary Vasbinder
Please call David Reynolds at 941-412-5575 or Gary Vasbinder at 941-893-7729 directly for registration and meeting place.
Mangroves and the Tidal Estuary Ecosystem Walk and Talk


Join UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County Community and Employee Educator, Alyssa Vinson, for a walk and talk at Pocono Trail Preserve to identify the three native species of mangroves. Along the way, participants will learn to identify common companion species, discuss the importance of the mangrove ecosystem and review mangrove trimming guidelines.
Monday, February 22, 9 – 11 a.m.    
189 Pocono Trail East, Nokomis
Space limited to 15
Guide: Alyssa Vinson, Sarasota County Community and Employee Educator
Register on EventBrite here. For further information, please contact UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County at 941-861-9806 or

What’s In the Name, Manasota Scrub?


What is the meaning behind Manasota Scrub Preserve’s name and what are some of the historical uses of this property? Join Sarasota County Environmental Specialist, Nancy Edmondson, on a walk, as she compares historical aerials to present day landscape features to illustrate some changes over time.
Tuesday, February 23, 9 – 11 a.m.
2695 Bridge Street, Englewood
Space limited to 20.
Guide: Nancy Edmondson, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info here for this event.
What’s Blooming, Buzzing and Hatching
at Shamrock Park?

Ever wonder where wildflowers bloom – and when? How many kinds of butterflies and dragonflies live here? Or which eggs, like the gopher tortoise’s, may be hatching? And when do Florida Scrub-jays learn to fly? Join Park Naturalist, Brooke Elias, on ‘fourth Thursday’s’ though May 26th, on a stroll to explore the annual rhythms and cycles of Shamrock Park and Nature Center.

Thursday, February 25, 9 – 11 a.m.     
3900 Shamrock Dr., Venice
Guide: Brooke Elias, Sarasota County Park Naturalist
Registration info here for this event. 
“What’s that?” Plant and Animal ID Hike at Curry Creek Preserve


Join Sarasota County Environmental Specialist and super sleuth, Jeff Weber, at Curry Creek Preserve, an urban natural area site. He will lead you on a fun informative journey of discovery through pine flatwoods and oak hammocks highlighting both native and non-native plants and animals of the preserve.
Thursday, February 25, 9 – 11 a.m.      
Curry Creek Preserve (East entrance)
1500 Pinebrook Rd., Venice
Space limited to 15.
Guide: Jeff Weber, Sarasota County Environmental Specialist
Registration info here for this event.
For more nature based events for you and your family, please be sure to visit the links on the right column of this newsletter.


Go outside

and play!


Do you have a beautiful

bird photo to share?


The Herald Tribune is seeking

beautiful bird photographs

to share on their on-line gallery.


Send your best pictures to:
The Herald Tribune staff just may include
your photo in this wonderful on-line bird gallery.
Registration Process for Nature Events


Look for ‘View Activities’ (if you already have an account), orSIGN UP HERE (if you need to open up a

new household account).


Attached here are directions to help you set up an account to sign up for a free nature event.

Please remember the 3 R’s.
Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle, when visiting your parks and environmental lands!

Please use appropriate containers for recycles and trash.

When visiting a preserve or environmental 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.

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

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