TARPON SPRINGS - Those lucky enough to be at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Center on Thursday mornings will hear the sound of children delighted by the wonders of the world as seen through stories and hands-on activities.
Book-Time at Brooker is designed for children ages 3 to 5 and is held for 45 minutes each Thursday at 10:30 a.m. The book to be shared with the group on March 6 is “Izzy Lizzie Alligator” by Susan Tate. On March 13, the featured story will be “Today is Monday” by Eric Carle followed by “Kiwi has no Wings” by Andrew Crowe and Peter Campbell on March 20 and “The Surprise Garden” by Zoe Hall on March 27.
For the rest of the family, hikes and special programs bring March alive. Most programs at Brooker Creek are free but register is required. Visit www.brookercreekpreserve.org for information.
A special hike aimed at identifying birds common to Brooker Creek Preserve will take place on Saturday, March 8, at 8 a.m. This leisurely 90-minute stroll along a one-mile trail gathering information on the birds heard and seen is a must for all bird lovers. It will be helpful to have binoculars and water on this hike.
Join a Brooker Creek naturalist on Wednesday, March 14, to explore the fascinating plants found on the preserve and identify wildflowers, ferns, epiphytes, trees and more. The ecology of various plant communities will also be examined during a 90-minute hike beginning at 10 a.m. Bring a camera and questions.
On Saturday, March 15. learn first-hand the many “footprints” that have been left through the years that effect the preserve today. The 0.75-mile guided walk will be offered 9 to 10:30 a.m. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are a must; water and hat recommended. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult; those younger than 6 may find the hike challenging.
Several live birds of prey will be used to illustrate aspects of predator-prey relationships, adaptations that ensure their success as predators and their role in maintaining healthy, balanced ecosystems in a program offered on Saturday, March 15, from 10 to 11 a.m. Participants will learn the basic natural history of each species along with the impact of humans on their habitats and populations.
On Friday, March 21, an experienced naturalist will guide visitors along boardwalks and natural trails at Brooker Creek Preserve from 8 to 11 a.m. This is a learning experience for everyone so come prepared with binoculars, cameras, and questions. Questions that cannot be answered by the hike guide will be researched in the Resource Room upon return to the Education Center. Advance registration required.
Photographers can learn how to find that perfect photo in a 90-minute presentation/hike on Saturday, March 29, at 8:30 a.m. A hike along the boardwalk and trails that would make good subjects for photos that reflect the season will follow a brief classroom session with local photographers and master naturalists Karl and Kathleen Nichter. The Nichters will highlight seasonal features that help participants capture the natural beauty of the preserve.
See how the land has changed over time and discuss the ecological footprints left by those changes on this 2.8 to four-mile walk, offered on Saturday, March 22 from 9 to 11 a.m. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are a must and water and hat recommended. Those younger than 10 may find this hike challenging and all children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
On Saturday March 22, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the focus is on the native Florida wildlife population, how rapid growth is hurting it, and what can be done to change it. Learn to create a habitat that encourages wildlife. By making a few basic changes to landscaping plans a yard that will provide habitat for a variety wildlife can be created. The program is best suited for adults.
On Friday, March 28, from 9 to 11 a.m., join a local natural resources agent and hike along two miles of boardwalks and natural trails at Brooker Creek Preserve. Come prepared with binoculars, cameras and questions. Inquiries can also be researched in the resource room upon return to the education center.
On Friday, March 28, a local natural resources agent will lead a forestry hike along two miles of boardwalks and natural trails at Brooker Creek Preserve from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Questions can also be researched in the resource room upon return to the education center.
On Saturday, March 29, from 9 to 11 a.m., join the Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve and get your hands dirty in the preserve’s wildflower garden. Bring garden gloves and hat. Morning snacks are usually provided.
Take a walk on the wild side on Saturday, March 29, and learn why the preserve has been called “Our Wildest Place” during this 0.75-mile guided hike from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Sturdy closed-toe shoes are a must, and water and a hat are recommended. All ages are welcome although children younger than 6 may find the hike challenging. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Brooker Creek Preserve protects more than 8,700 acres of natural ecosystems and is located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. The preserve, the horse trails and the Friends Trail are open daily, but closed on Christmas Day and the day after Thanksgiving.
Pinellas County Extension offers classes, programs and activities at the Environmental Education Center. The center features interactive exhibits and 22 discovery-oriented experiences that are fun for the entire family. The center is operated by the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department and is open Thursday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed all Pinellas County holidays.