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Outdoors & Recreation
Get outdoors this February at Weedon Island Preserve
Article published on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013
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[Image]
Photo courtesy of PINELLAS COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS
Visitors to Weedon Island are likely to see an osprey like this one.
ST. PETERSBURG – All ages are welcome to the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. recognition of the 10th anniversary of Weedon Island Cultural and Natural History Center on Saturday, Feb.16.

Sponsored by Friends of Weedon Island, this day is filled with commemorative speakers, special guided hikes, arts and crafts, video presentations and an indoor scavenger hunt. Light refreshments and cake will be served at noon. Guided hikes beginning at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. will include a Native American hike, a coastal ecology hike and a family hike. Arts and crafts, including fish printing and Play-Doh pottery will be offered in the classroom. Bring a plain T-shirt or reusable bag to make your own commemorative fish print.

Hiking

Hiking opportunities are plentiful at Weedon Island Preserve in February. Regular two-hour guided hikes begin at 9 a.m. each Saturday in February. Participants learn about the ecosystems and early residents of Weedon Island Preserve while hiking the coastal uplands and along boardwalks through mangrove forests. The hikes are best for ages 6 and older.

Become part of the Great Weedon Bird Quest on Friday, Feb. 8, from 8 to 10 a.m. Learn the identifying marks and behaviors of our feathered year-round residents and seasonal visitors while assisting in compiling an annual checklist of the preserve’s birds. This hike is designed to take advantage of all levels of birding experience.

Wee Time

Children ages 3 to 5 continue to be treated to 45 minutes of a selected story, crafts, games and hands-on activities that connect them to their environment through Wee Time at Weedon. From 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 14, the popular classic story of The Very Hungary Caterpillar by Eric Carle will tell the journey of a caterpillar as it transforms into a butterfly. The Thursday, Feb. 28, book will be The Snail’s Spell by Joanne Ryder, which uses imagination to understand the life of a small snail in a garden.

Birds of prey

On Saturday, Feb. 2, Dr. Gabriel Vargo, professor emeritus and avian education volunteer at Boyd Hill Nature Park, will look at the life history of majestic birds of prey. The presentation from 10 to 11 a.m., will include a live cast of local owls and a hawk. Dr. Vargo discusses the characteristics that make raptors successful predators: their ecology and natural history, their importance and role in the ecosystem and the problems they encounter in our human-modified environments.

All about sharks

Did you know there are about 350 different types of sharks? Beginning at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, you can learn all about one of the ocean’s most revered creatures. This two-hour Going Coastal presentation, recommended for all ages, introduces all types of sharks, where they live, what they eat and much more. As a winter special, Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Wednesday in February, March and April 2013, in addition to Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Saving money

Saving money is the topic of a Saturday, Feb. 9 workshop. Learn how much energy is wasted in the home every day, around the clock in the Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project’s advanced energy-saving class. Participants will receive free equipment and materials to help cut energy costs. This one-hour program beginning at 10 a.m. is suitable for the whole family, but please register for one ticket per household.

Citizen scientist

Join a national volunteer effort to record data collected on valuable plants and wildlife which will be used in scientific studies. You don’t have to be an expert to become a part of this Citizen Scientist Workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The 2 to 4 p.m. This training reveals how to collect local ecological information and provides an introduction to Nature’s Notebook. The workshop is free but registration is required as class size is limited. Participants must have access to a computer. Registration required as class size is limited. As a winter special, Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Wednesday in February, March and April 2013, in addition to Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Market to menu

A Pinellas County family and consumer sciences agent, along with a Pinellas County sea grant agent, present a market-to-menu program that incorporates seafood into a heart-healthy diet. This Wednesday, Feb. 20, presentation will provide valuable resources and cover information that will take the mystery out of the world of seafood. From choosing fish at the market, to selecting a recipe at home, you will be walked through the process of preparing seafood. This hands-on cooking demonstration, best for adults, begins at 2 p.m. As a winter special, Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Wednesday in February, March and April 2013, in addition to Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Archaeology

On Thursday, Feb. 21, as part of the ongoing archaeology lecture series, Mike Terrell, underwater archaeologist from The Florida Aquarium, will present his research on the Scottish chief and the Battle of Ballast Point. Advance registration required for this free, 7 to 8 p.m. presentation.

Birdlife

Did you know Pinellas Point once hosted a wading bird colony as far as the eye could see or that Robert Hoyt, a prominent Pinellas bird collector in his day, planted the original kapok tree? On Saturday, Feb. 23, Ron Smith, a long-time Pinellas birder, author and field trip leader, will talk about the history of birdlife dating from the late 1800s in this free, 2 to 3 p.m., Birds of Pinellas presentation.

Landscaping

Pinellas County Extension educators will be on hand to teach the design and maintenance of a Florida-friendly yard on Wednesday, Feb. 27. This 2 to 3 p.m. overview will feature the nine principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping.  Attendees will receive a copy of The Florida-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design, a 110-page booklet with photos and descriptions of hundreds of plants suitable for a Florida-friendly Yard.

On display

Connecting People and Place is an art-inspired, permanent hands-on educational exhibit of the area’s history, ecology and people at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center. The center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. It is closed all Pinellas County holidays.

To learn more about Weedon Island Preserve and its upcoming programs and events, call 453-6500. To register for programs and events visit www.weedonislandpreserve.org. Videos featuring Weedon Island Preserve can be viewed at www.youtube.com/pcctv1.

Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center is located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE., St. Petersburg.
Article published on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013
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