Education Programs & Events

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Program Spotlight

Sunset Tai Chi at the NEST Second Mondays 6:30 PM

Summer Camps

Freshwater Fishing Camp at Jiggs Landing

Session 1: June 6-10 Camp Full
Session 2: June 13-17 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Saltwater Fishing Camp at Emerson Point

Session 1: July 11-15 Camp Full
Session 2: July 18-22 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Paddleboard Camp AT ROBINSON PRESERVE

Session 1: June 8-10 Camp Full
Session 2: June 22-24
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Wednesday- Friday
Ages 7-12 | $200

Aquatic Adventure Camp at Robinson Preserve

Session 1: July 25-29 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Archery Camp at Rye Preserve

Session 1: June 20-24   Camp Full
Session 2: June 27-July 1 Camp Full
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday - Friday
Ages 9-12 | $150

Want to sign up for a camp?

Register Today

EcoEvents: Outdoor Education Programs & Events Calendar

All of our public events are open to individuals and immediate family members. For groups we ask that each family register individually. Large group reservations for public programs will not be accepted. If you have a school, camp, club, or other group that would like to participate in a program, please contact [email protected] to set up a private program.

Initial value

Events at a Glance

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Ongoing/As Needed, RIP Squad Volunteer Days, Location Chosen Based on Need

Kid’s Programs

  • 5/4, Soar in 4, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
  • 5/7, Youth Archery, Rye Preserve
  • 5/12, Tree Tots: Water Wonder, Robinson NEST
  • 5/13, Tall Tails Tribe: Nurturing Nature, Emerson Point Preserve
  • 5/18, Stroller Stroll, Perico Preserve
  • 5/19, Green Explorers: Expedition Estuary, Emerson Point Preserve
  • 5/20, Home School Science Club: Fire, Emerson Point Preserve
  • 5/21, Native Little One Art Club: Nature is Magical!, Robinson Preserve NEST
  • 5/21, Science by the Sea: Watersheds, Emerson Point Preserve
  • 5/21, Homeschool Science Club: Lunch with Flowers, Robinson Preserve NEST

Adult and Teen Programs

  • 5/12, Craft Club, Robinson Preserve NEST
  • 5/14, Master Gardener Tour, Riverview Pointe Preserve
  • 5/14, Craft Club, Robinson Preserve NEST
  • 5/20, Wildlife Spotlight: Mangroves, Leffis Key Preserve
  • 5/21, Master Gardener Tour, Rye Preserve
  • 5/21, Hike with a Librarian, Robinson Preserve

Programs for All Ages

  • 5/4, 5/11, 5/18, 5/25, Tortoise Talk, Robinson Preserve
  • 5/6, Explore Nature! Outreach Booth: Manatees, Portosueno Park
  • 5/7, 5/14, 5/21, 5/28, Saturday Mornings at the NEST, Robinson Preserve NEST
  • 5/7, Seeing Stars with the Bishop, Robinson Preserve Expansion
  • 5/15 – 16, Lunar Eclipse Watch Party, Robinson Preserve Expansion
  • 5/19, Seashell Shore Walk, Coquina Beach
  • 5/27, 5/28, Escape Room: Sinking Ship, Emerson Point Preserve

Adventure and Recreational Programs

  • 5/9, Sunset Tai Chi, Robinson Preserve NEST
  • 5/7, 5/14, 5/21, 5/28, Robinson Runners, Robinson Preserve NEST

NEST and Canopy Zone Closures

  • 5/6, 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • 5/20, 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM

MAY 2022 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Download a printable version of the May Calendar of Events

Wednesday, May 4th, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PMSoar in 4 Family NightSoar in 4 occurs the first Wednesday of each month in downtown Bradenton. Families visit demonstration tables (facilitated by Manatee County teachers, non-profit organizations, and volunteers) to learn how to use various materials to support the ‘spotlight book,’ as well as incorporate take-home items to continue to play, create, learn, and explore at home together. These monthly events provide families with the resources and information to become their child’s best ‘first teacher’ at home. All activities are aligned to classroom learning. Program suitable for children and their families. Program sponsored by Soar in 4 in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. No reservations required. For more information please visit https://soarin4.org/. The Bishop Museum

Friday, May 6th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMExplore Nature! Outreach Booth: ManateesStop by our education table at beautiful Portosueno Park and learn all about manatees! These gentle giants are our county's namesake and are frequent visitors of the park. Enjoy interactive activities to learn about the amazing anatomy of manatees, and discover how you can help protect them in the wild. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Portosueno Park

Saturday, May 7th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMYouth Archery (2 Sessions)Set your sights on the exciting outdoor activity of archery! This program will provide participants with basic archery instruction, familiarization with archery equipment, and instruction in shooting techniques that create successful archers. All equipment will be provided for use. Program is suitable for children ages 6 to 16. Program sponsored by the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Two identical sessions are offered.  Please register for only one session each month. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://mayryearchery.eventbrite.com. For more information please contact [email protected]. Rye Preserve

Saturday, May 7th, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PMSeeing Stars with The BishopCelebrate Astronomy Day at Robinson Preserve! We will have hands-on astronomy fun followed by an evening of stargazing in the Robinson Preserve Expansion. Learn how to identify heavenly bodies and how you can stargaze at home too. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by Suncoast Remake Learning Days, presented by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and The Patterson Foundation, and The Bishop Museum in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://bishopscience.org/events/seeing-stars-with-the-bishop/. Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Lot

Monday, May 9th, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PMSunset Tai Chi at the NESTJoin us for this monthly class on the lawn of the NEST! At sunset on the second Monday of the month, Dr. Brian Nell, a certified Tai Chi instructor, will lead the group through the gentle movements of Tai Chi. This is a great way to shake off the stressful work week. Improve your balance, loosen your joints, and improve flexibility as you relax and breathe. This class is perfect for beginners and will include an exploration of several different styles of Tai Chi and Qigong. This class is held rain or shine - in case of weather, we will move into the NEST. Program Suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=100004. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST Lawn

Thursday, May 12th, 10:00 AM – 11:00:00 AMTreetots: Water WonderBring your little fish for a water sensory exploration program. Engage your little guppy's senses through movement, song, and water, inspiring nature exploration. Experience the different states of water and the animals that live below the surface. TreeTots is an interactive activity for babies and young toddlers to become acquainted with the natural world. Program suitable for newborns to 2 years old. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Thursday, May 12th, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PMCraft Club – Calling all crafty folks! Do you knit, paint, scrapbook, or create from other media?  Maybe you need a space away from prying eyes to complete your masterpiece. Carve out some crafting time and get inspired by joining our monthly Craft Club. You bring the projects, and we will supply the space, helpful crafting hints, and positive energy. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/227789523597. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Friday, May 13th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMTall Tails Tribe: Nurturing NatureIn honor of the moms and dads in our community, let us celebrate all the wildlife who also care for their wee ones. From seahorses to scrub jays, discover the different ways wildlife nurture, guide, and help babies move to adulthood. Through games, exploration, and activities your tots will discover the amazing natural wonders, big and small, found in your very own backyard. Program suitable for preschool-age children. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

Saturday, May 14th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Riverview PointeCasually stroll through to enjoy the beautiful Riverview Pointe Preserve and learn about Florida's native plants and inhabitants of a coastal environment. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Tour begins in the parking area of DeSoto National Memorial Park and enters into Riverview Pointe Preserve. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking on uneven terrain. Bring a water bottle and wear sun and insect protection. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167373712279. For more information please contact [email protected]. Riverview Pointe Preserve – Parking at DeSoto National Memorial

Saturday, May 14th, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMForaging Florida: Edible & Medicinal Plants in Your BackyardDid you know that your backyard is filled with an incredible array of plant allies, many of whom have surprising abilities to heal and nourish? Have you always wanted to forage for Florida’s wild food, but aren’t sure where to start? Join Certified Clinical Herbalist and Master Naturalist Melissa “Misha” Nell, MS for a leisurely stroll around the Reasoner Tract and NEST grounds, tuning in to *all* the plants - yes even the exotics! - to learn to identify medicines, edibles, and poisons too. You will learn sustainable, safe, and practical foraging tips and tricks so that you can confidently harvest to help support the health of your family and friends too. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110009. $20 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Sunday, May 15thMonday, May 16th, 10:30 PM – 1:00 AMLunar Eclipse Watch PartyNo magnification is needed to observe this eclipse, but telescopes will be available to watch lunar features and observe other deep sky objects. The partial eclipse starts at 10:27 PM and the total eclipse will be from 11:29 PM to 12:53 AM. Program suitable for all ages. Participants should bring their own camp/lawn chairs and dress warmly. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/304855459887. Robinson Preserve – Expansion Parking Lot

Wednesday, May 18th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AMStroller Stroll: PericoRound up your baby buggies, and your little ones for a strolling naturalist-led walk through the county's wild spaces and read along with our story walk. Open your child’s eyes to the sights, smells, and feel of Florida’s great outdoors while learning about our preserve space. Meet other nature explorer families with similar-aged kids. Program suitable for children and their families. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034. Perico Preserve

Thursday, May 19th, 9:00 AM – 10:30 AMSeashell Shore WalkCalling all beachcombers and seashell enthusiasts! Join us for a relaxing walk on the beach to search for seashells and learn to identify them. This program will explore what makes mollusks unique and the amazing adaptations that help them to survive in the wild. Learn about ethical seashell collecting methods while discovering a new appreciation for our beautiful shorelines. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/316991870217. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Coquina Beach – South- Longboat Key Bridge

Thursday, May 19th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PMGreen Explorers: Expedition EstuaryDip into our waterways and hike through the estuary to discover a wild habitat that bridges land to the water and saltwater to fresh. Using hands-on discovery, and the participant's own creativity attendees will have a chance to play in nature. Green Explorers is a low structure, highly social, and experienced-based activity. Program suitable for all ages, recommended for 5 to 12-year-olds. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6034.  Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

Friday, May 20th, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AMWildlife Spotlight: MangrovesJoin us on a relaxing walk through the mangroves at Leffis Key! Florida is home to three species of mangrove trees that are specially adapted to live in a salty environment. They provide crucial nursery and feeding habitat for many local fish, crabs, and mollusks, and help to protect our coastlines. Learn how to identify mangroves and discover the important role they play in our ecosystem. Program suitable for adults. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/317011077667. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6036. Leffis Key Preserve

Friday, May 20th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: FireLearn how to start a fire as we discover the importance of fire in Florida ecosystems. Explore the animals that take shelter from fires in burrows, enjoy a fiery demonstration, and end with a fire-roasted smoky-sweet treat. Recommended for students ages 8-13 Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/317033093517. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

Saturday, May 21st, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AMMaster Gardener Tour: Rye PreserveTake a hike through upland habitats along the beautiful Rye Branch and learn about Florida's native plants, natural history, and early settlement of the area. Program suitable for all ages. Program sponsored by UF IFAS Extension Master Gardener Program in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/167452445773. For more information please contact [email protected]. Rye Preserve

Saturday, May 21st, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AMHike with a LibrarianOne thing we have learned during the Covid-19 pandemic is the importance of connections, not only with our fellow humans and pets but also with nature. Hike with a Manatee County Librarian along the trails of Robinson Preserve and discuss a non-fiction book while enjoying  Florida's scenery. After the discussion, a Manatee County Parks & Natural Resources guide will talk about the plants, flowers, trees, and wildlife found at the preserve. If there is still time after the talk, we will walk around the park at a leisurely pace. The entire walk will be about one mile in length. Book title to be decided. Program Suitable for adults. Reservations are not required. For more information please visit https://manateelibrary.libcal.com/event/8959519 or contact [email protected] or call (941) 748-5555 ext. 3466. Robinson Preserve – North Entrance

Saturday, May 28th, 12:30 PM – 3:00 PMNative Little One Art Club: Nature is Magical!Students of Native Little One Art Club will follow a mindful rhythm and focus on learning through play, place, and project-based learning. In this program, we will discuss how we can identify species in our backyards and notice patterns. We will decorate our own nature journals to keep, create plant superhero cards, and create magic wands out of organic treasures. Students will also create a mini terrarium to take home. Program suitable for ages 4 to 10 years old. Program sponsored by Native Little One in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Registration and payment are required prior to attendance. Reservations are required. To register please contact [email protected] or call (941) 447-8862. $35 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Tuesday, May 31st, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PMHomeschool Science Club: Lunch with Flowers, Weeds, and Other Green GoodiesLearn how to eat the weeds, trees, and flowers too! Certified Clinical Herbalist and Master Naturalist Melissa “Misha” Nell, MS will teach how to forage, or collect plants, safely and sustainably. Class will begin with a plant walk, meeting and learning to identify kid-friendly herbal allies. Then we’ll head indoors to make tasty treats from what we find. We’ll create a variety of snacks from plants collected on our walk, and a few special herbs Misha brings too. Participants will also create their own herbal recipe book, and plant seeds to start their own Florida native edible garden too! Program suitable for ages 8 to 16. Program sponsored by Cypress Pillar Healing Arts in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110009. $20 Registration Fee Payable Online. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Recurring Programs

Wednesday, May 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, 3:30 PM – 4:00 PMTortoise TalkJoin us for this informal program on the Valentine House lawn as we take our education tortoise out to graze! In the wild, foraging is an integral part of a gopher tortoise’s lifestyle, so we encourage it as much as possible. Stop by and say hello, get a chance to meet him up close, and ask any questions you may have. Learn all about what tortoises need to survive, how we care for our tortoise, and what efforts we can take to protect these important members of our Florida ecosystems. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Valentine House Lawn

Saturday, May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 8:00 AM – 9:00 AMRobinson RunnersJoin us weekly to breathe in the fresh air, challenge yourself, and create a community. Savor the trip along the 1.6 and 3.2-mile routes through Robinson Preserve and notice as life becomes a little more vibrant. The group leader will offer a warm-up, then participants may run, walk, or stroll at their own pace followed by a cool-down stretch offered at the finish.  Participants will be rewarded for their efforts by our partners Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition. Program suitable for adults. Program sponsored by Fit 2 Run and Bayshore Nutrition in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://raceroster.com/events/2022/57766/robinson-runners. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM - Saturday Mornings at the NESTJoin us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of discovery. Walk the grounds of the historic Reasoner Tract and observe botanical giants collected from around the world. Explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panoramic views, and make an exciting exit from the building via slide. Learn about upcoming programs and exciting new additions to Robinson Preserve. Program suitable for all ages. No reservations required. For more information please contact [email protected]. Robinson Preserve – Mosaic NEST

Saturday, May 27th, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM and Saturday, May 28th, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Escape Room: Sinking ShipBecome one of Florida’s first commercial fishermen and solve interactive puzzles to escape an arduous journey at sea.  Find hidden clues and collect the items you will need to break free from the ship’s hold. Will you escape or remain trapped under the captain’s hand? Program suitable for all ages. Sessions are limited to 6 participants. Parents or guardians are allowed to accompany their children throughout the experience. Reservations are required. To register please visit https://parks.mymanatee.org/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/search.html?primarycode=110008. For more information please contact [email protected] or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044. $10  Registration Fee – Payable Online. Emerson Point Preserve – Large Pavilion

 ONGOING/AS NEEDED: RIP SQUAD VOLUNTEER WORKDAY - Join this group that works directly with County natural areas land managers on various wildlife habitat improvement projects. Email announcements are sent out a few days in advance of each event that detail the purpose, goals, and meeting information for each upcoming event. Program suitable for volunteers ages 16 and older. To receive email announcements about the RIP squad volunteer events, please email [email protected]. Location and time TBA - chosen based on need.


Kayaking with Manatee County

Participation Requirements for Manatee County Kayaks

In order to utilize one of Manatee County’s sit on top kayaks for a volunteer, Kayaking for Beginners, Kayaking for First Timers, or Beginner Level Kayak Trip, or to participate in any paddling program, participants:

  • Must be 16 years of age or older
  • Must not exceed the manufacturer’s weight limit for the vessel
  • Must have the ability to follow verbal and/or visual instructions independently while in the kayak
  • Must have the ability to respond to instructions and/or call out in the event of an emergency
  • Must have the ability to wear a properly fitted personal flotation device
  • Must have the ability to enter and exit the kayak independently or with the assistance of a companion
  • Must be able to move the kayak through the water independently in a stable manner and return it to the launching area
  • Must have the ability to breathe independently
  • Must have the ability to tolerate 60-80 degree Fahrenheit water and bright sunlight for 2 hours
  • Must have the ability to remain seated, maneuver, and balance independently while on the water

In order to utilize one of Manatee County’s sit on top kayaks for a summer camp program, participants:

  • Must be 9 years of age or older (note: age limit is lower as this program is specifically designed as a direct instructional for this age group; guide to paddler ratio is much lower)
  • Must not exceed the manufacturer’s weight limit for the vessel
  • Must have the ability to follow verbal and/or visual instructions independently while in the kayak
  • Must have the ability to respond to instructions and/or call out in the event of an emergency
  • Must have the ability to wear a properly fitted personal flotation device
  • Must have the ability to enter and exit the kayak independently or with the assistance of a companion
  • Must have the ability to breathe independently
  • Must be able to move the kayak through the water independently in a stable manner and return it to the launching area
  • Must have the ability to tolerate 60-80 degree Fahrenheit water and bright sunlight for 2 hours
  • Must have the ability to remain seated, maneuver, and balance independently while on the water

In the event of capsize for any program, one:

  • Must have the ability to get out from under the watercraft independently
  • Must have the ability to right oneself and remain face up in the water with the aid of a personal flotation device