September 2013 Nearby Nature
Broward County > Parks > The Latest > September 2013 Nearby Nature

Nearby Nature Banner 

Focus on Native Plants
Fun for the Little Ones
Labor Day Hours
Starry, Starry Nights
Wanted: Hard-Working Nature Lovers
Beat the Heat
Nature at Night
Advisory Board Notice
YouTube Spotlight – Airboat Rides at Everglades Holiday Park
Follow Us – On Twitter
Nature To Go
Your Opinion Counts!
Nature Centers of the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division
Special Attractions
Mission Statement
Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Focus on Native Plants

In subtropical South Florida just about anything you stick in the ground has a good chance of growing, which is why so many plants classified variously as non-native, invasive, or exotic can thrive. Such plants may have been introduced intentionally. Australian pines, for example, were originally planted throughout the region as shade trees and windbreaks; now they’re out of control in many areas. Likewise melaleucas, which were once recommended as ornamental landscape trees but are now considered a nuisance plant.

Other times unwitting home landscapers cultivate the wrong kinds of plants, thanks to misinformation from such seemingly reliable sources as books, friends, nurseries, and the Internet. A home landscape including, say, areca and Chinese fan palms, wandering Jew vines, lantana shrubs, flowering four o’clock and ground orchids, and such trees as schefflera, weeping fig, mimosa, and orchid trees might seem like a good plan, but all these plants wreak varying degrees of havoc on the native environment. Even such fruit trees as mango, guava, and sapodilla come with their own sets of problems. And forget about tossing out houseplants that have outgrown their containers – they can easily take root and spread until they run amok.

That, simply put, is the potential problem. Non-native, invasive, and exotic plants can go wild in our yards, parks, and natural areas and on our roadsides and canal banks. The vast majority pose so serious threat, but some grow out of control, competing with native vegetation and gradually displacing it, forever altering ecosystems that have developed over millions of years.

The most notorious invasive plants – the aforementioned Australian pines and melaleucas, along with Brazilian pepper – have long been targeted by intensive campaigns to curb their spread. But you can also do your part simply by paying closer attention to what you grow in your own yard. Don’t trust older editions of landscaping guides, which may contain outdated information, and don’t buy plants just because they’re pretty or your friends or neighbors recommend them. And by all means don’t put indiscriminate faith in the Internet, which is rife with misinformation.

The key is educating yourself on what you put into the ground and what you do with it once it’s planted, and for help with that you can turn to Broward County parks. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 1, Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach will hold its Go Native in Broward County Plant Sale, which emphasizes the right kinds of plants to grow in your home landscape. Then, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek will have its Fall Into Foliage Native Plant Sale, a comparable event. Gardening information and other activities will be offered at both events.

For more information, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198 or Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. The nature centers are accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42 (Fern Forest) and #6 (Secret Woods).

Fun for the Little Ones

It’s no secret that Nature Tots has been teaching tykes to appreciate the great outdoors for years. The program was the brainchild of a park naturalist in 2003.

The one-hour programs, for ages 2 to 4 accompanied by an adult, focus on a different theme each month, with each site’s naturalist free to embellish on it according to his/her style. A typical program might start with stories, songs, or arts and crafts and end with a short nature walk.        

The dates for this month will be September 12 at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, and September 17 at West Lake Park in Hollywood, and September 26 at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach.

Programs run from 10 to 11 a.m. The fee is $5 per child, and preregistration is required. Programs are on the second Thursday at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, the third Tuesday at West Lake Park, and the fourth Thursday at Secret Woods.

For more information on program or to preregister, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198 or Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42. West Lake is accessible via Route #12. Secret Woods is accessible via Route #6.

Labor Day Hours

All Broward County regional parks (including water parks and campgrounds), and all nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas will be open on Monday, September 2, Labor Day. Deerfield Island Park and the administrative offices of the Parks and Recreation Division will be closed.

Starry, Starry Nights

The South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) opens the Fox Observatory at Markham Park in Sunrise every Saturday evening, weather permitting, for free stargazing from dusk to midnight.

The SFAAA also hosts the quarterly program An Evening With the Stars at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, where speakers cover basic telescope techniques and general astronomy information. The next session will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 20, and the program is free and for all ages.

For more information, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198 or the SFAAA at 954-384-0442, or email info@sfaaa.com. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42, while Markham is accessible via Route #23.

Wanted: Hard-Working Nature Lovers

The Parks and Recreation Division is responsible for managing 21 designated natural areas throughout Broward county, with some of them already open to the public and others at various stages of development. Volunteers are crucial to maintaining the historic plant and animal communities found in these areas, many of which periodically schedule Natural Area Workdays that emphasize removing invasive plants threatening to overrun the sites’ native habitats.

Four such workdays have been announced for Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: September 21 and October 5 at Tall Cypress Natural Area in Coral Springs, and November 16 and December 7 at Miramar Pineland. Volunteers must preregister by emailing lbriggs@broward.org, and participants must wear closed-toe shoes and long pants; long sleeves, hats, and sunscreen are also recommended. Gloves, eye protection, and drinking water are provided.

These workdays not only help the natural areas in question, they also provide informal laboratories for participants to learn more about Broward County’s ecosystems. For high school students who volunteer, the hours they contribute count toward the service hours required for graduation.

Beat the Heat

With summer coming to a close, you’ve probably noticed that subtropical heat and humidity are still lingering. That’s no reason to stay cooped up indoors – not when you can take refuge in our North Broward Natural Areas, some of which will host Beat the Heat Hikes, every other weekend running through September. These hourlong naturalist-led hikes will take you through scrub, pine flatwood, and cypress habitats as you learn about how plants and animals adapt to summer heat.

Saturday hikes (this month September 14 and 28) will be at Highlands Scrub Natural Area in Pompano Beach, 8 to 9 a.m. Sunday hikes will consist of three morning hikes – two at Helene Klein Pineland Preserve in Coconut Creek (which also includes a side trip to nearby West Creek Pineland Natural Area), from 8 to 9 a.m. on September 1, 15, and 29, and the others at Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on September 1, 15, and 29.

Participants are encouraged to wear sunscreen and bring drinking water. Please note that restrooms are available only at Hillsboro Pineland. The hikes are free, although preregistration is required by calling Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100.

Nature at Night

One night, two choices for nature outings in different areas of the county: Friday, September 20. From 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Hollywood North Beach Park will offer another Night Hike by the Seashore. Participants will learn techniques for observing creatures of the night while hiking the beach and adjacent coastal areas. The fee is $5/person, and preregistration and prepayment are required through the nearby Anne Kolb Nature Center, 954-357-5161. Hollywood North Beach is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #4 and #12.

There’s also a night hike much farther inland, as in the Full Moon Hike at Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, from 8 to 9 p.m. A naturalist will lead hikers along the nature center’s trails to watch the moonrise through the oaks while listening to stories, myths, and legends from around the world. The fee is also $5/person. For required preregistration or more information, call Long Key at 954-357-8797.

Advisory Board Notice

The public is invited to the next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Friday, September 13. The meeting will take place at Anne Kolb Nature Center, 751 Sheridan St., Hollywood 33019; 954-357-5161. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12. For more information, follow this link.

YouTube Spotlight – Airboat Rides at Everglades Holiday Park

Broward County Parks now has its own YouTube Channel at www.YouTube.com/BrowardCountyParks. Ride through the river of grass at Everglades Holiday ParkWatch our video and see what could be waiting for you next time you visit.

Follow Us – On Twitter

Broward County Parks is now on Twitter! Follow us at @BrowardParks and keep up to date with important information, events, programs, and other happenings. Twitter accounts have also been created for several of our parks. Visit the Broward County Government Stay Connected Web page to follow your favorite park.

Nature To Go

You can now take a little bit of Broward County nature home with you – thanks to a series of nature posters produced and sold by Broward County Parks. The six posters, all photographed in the county’s parks, nature centers, and natural areas, feature American white waterlilies, burrowing owls, a gray fox, live oak trees, a prairie iris, and a queen butterfly. The posters look great either framed or unframed, and they’re a distinctive way to bring a taste of nature into your home or office. They also make excellent gifts.

The offices at seven facilities have the posters available for purchase: the Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park in Hollywood, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie, Markham Park in Sunrise, Plantation Heritage Park in Plantation, Tree Tops Park in Davie, and T.Y. Park in Hollywood.

The high-quality posters, which measure 18 inches by 24 inches, retail for $10, including Florida sales tax. You can also purchase posters by mail from Broward County Parks and Recreation, 950 N.W. 38th St., Oakland Park, FL 33309. Mail-order posters are $15 (includes Florida sales tax, shipping, and handling), with checks/money orders payable to Broward County Parks and Recreation. For more information, e-mail ParksMarketing@broward.org.

Your Opinion Counts!

We’d like to know what you think about our programs and facilities. Please take a moment to tell us how we’re doing by filling out this survey.

Nature Centers of the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division

Anne Kolb Nature Center

751 Sheridan St., Hollywood

954-357-5161

Deerfield Island Park

1720 Deerfield Island Park

Deerfield Beach

954-357-5100

Fern Forest Nature Center

201 Lyons Rd. South Coconut Creek

954-357-5198

Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center

3501 S.W. 130th Ave.

Davie

954-357-8797

Secret Woods Nature Center

2701 W. State Rd. 84 Dania Beach

954-357-8884

 

For more nature activities, please go to broward.org/parks.

Special Attractions

Airboat Rides (Everglades Holiday Park) – Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Bike America (Quiet Waters Park) Butterfly World (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park & Target Range, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park & Target Range) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Exhibit Halls (Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, Fern Forest Nature Center, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, Secret Woods Nature Center) – Golf Facilities (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Softball/Baseball Fields (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, Sunview Park, Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Observatory (Markham Park & Target Range) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park & Stables, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Target Range (Markham Park & Target Range) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park)

Mission Statement

The Parks and Recreation Division is dedicated to providing a countywide park system with diverse facilities and recreation opportunities, along with natural area conservation and research-based educational outreach, to enhance the well-being of residents, businesses, and visitors.

Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities. Hours and fees vary by location. For more information, visit broward.org/parks.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least five (5) business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event.

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Sue Gunzburger
Dale V.C. Holness
Kristin Jacobs
Martin David Kiar
Chip LaMarca
Stacy Ritter
Tim Ryan
Barbara Sharief
Lois Wexler

Subscribe/Unsubscribe to the Nearby Nature Newsletter

Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.