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Brooker Creek fun, day and night
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Take a walk on the wild side this April at Brooker Creek Preserve.
TARPON SPRINGS - Brooker Creek Preserve is open for exploration in April day and night. Most events are free, unless noted otherwise and registration is required.

The Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve will lead a one-mile hiking experience along the Ed Center Trail at night. These special hikes are open to the public and limited to 20 people per hike on Friday April 11, at 7:50 p.m. and Saturday, April 25, at 8 p.m. A $3 per person donation is requested. Hikes are led by volunteers who are knowledgeable about nocturnal wildlife and will last approximately 90 minutes. Attendees should meet at the main parking lot at Brooker Creek Preserve. Participants can register for the hike through email or by calling 727-934-2680.

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 April 3 is “Where Does the Wind Blow” by Cindy Rink. On April 10, the featured story will be “Are you a Snail?” by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries followed by “The Very Quiet Cricket” by Eric Carle Campbell on April 17, and “Planting Rainbows” by Lois Ehlert on April 24.

A Brooker Creek naturalist will lead the way on Friday, April 11, 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. Cameras and questions welcome.

On Saturday, April 12, a bird hike for beginners will show participants how to identify the county’s common birds while walking along a one-mile trail. Water and binoculars are recommended for participants. The hike is from 8 to 10:30 a.m.

Brooker Creek Preserve contains several wetland habitats that are home to an interesting variety of plants and animals. Visitors can learn about the underwater world of the Preserve on Saturday, April 12, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

On Friday, April 18 and Friday, April 25, from 9 to 11 a.m., a local natural resources agent will lead a hike along two miles of boardwalks and natural trails at Brooker Creek Preserve. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, cameras and questions. Inquiries can also be researched in the resource room upon return to the education center.

On Saturday, April 19, participants can learn first-hand the many “footprints” that have been left through the years that affect 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.

Local dragonfly expert Paul Trunk will lead an exploration of the habitats at Brooker Creek looking for dragonflies on Saturday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Brooker Creek Preserve is an excellent area that is home to more than 20 species of odonates. Participants will learn about the natural history of dragonflies and their importance to a healthy ecosystem. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars and a camera.

There are many varieties of big birds across Pinellas County. A course on Saturday, April 19 from 10:30 a.m. to teaches about the large birds. Lynn Sumerson leads the class and will teach participants to identify the large birds and how they can be easily identified.

Photographers can learn how to find that perfect photo in a 90-minute presentation/hike on Saturday, April 26, at 8:30 a.m. A hike along the boardwalk and trails 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.

Participants can take a walk on the wild side on Saturday, April 26, 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 for participants. All ages are welcome although children younger than 6 may find the hike challenging. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

On Saturday, April 26, from 9 to 11 a.m., the Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve will be in the preserve’s wildflower garden for demonstrations. Participants should bring garden gloves and a hat. Morning snacks are usually provided.

Bats can be an extremely beneficial animal. AUF/IFAS Natural Resources Extension agent will lead a class on how and why to attract these flying mammals to yards on Saturday, April 26 10:30 a.m. to noon. The program is best suited for adults.

Windows to our Wildest Place is a collection of permanent, hands-on educational exhibits that help visitors understand how natural Florida has changed over time and the ecological footprints left by those changes. The exhibit is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

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.

To learn more about Brooker Creek Preserve and its upcoming programs and events, call 727-453-6800. To register for programs and events visit www.b­rooke­rcree­kpres­erve.­org. Videos featuring Brooker Creek Preserve can be viewed at www.y­outub­­/pcct­v1.
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