Mother's Day for the Earth
Earth Day isn’t until April 22, but there are also Earth Month activities scheduled at Broward County Parks before, on, and after the big day.
On Saturday, April 8, Earth Day at Tradewinds Park will offer a variety of family activities, including hayrides, vendor and educational booths, model steam train rides, bounce houses, farm tours and demos, food trucks, and much more. Call Tradewinds at 954-357-8870 for fees and further information on the third annual event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The park’s regular weekend gate fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.
Then, on Earth Day itself, Saturday, April 22, Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach will have its fourth annual Earth Day Waterway Cleanup, from 9 a.m. to noon. Preregistration is required four days in advance of this volunteer workday, which is for ages 8 and up. Call Quiet Waters Park, which oversees the island, at 954-357-5100.
That same day, Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161) in Hollywood will host an Earth Day Hike, from 10 to 11 a.m., while Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198) in Coconut Creek will present an Earth Day Program, also from 10 to 11 a.m. The Anne Kolb hike is $3 per person; the Fern Forest event is free.
Finally, on Sunday, April 23, Anne Kolb will bring together the Sierra Club’s Broward Group and other environmental organizations for Earth Day 2017, featuring booths, displays, speakers, music, movies, nature walks, kayaking, demos, and other activities. The free event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nature by Foot
The English novelist Charles Dickens noted that “If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish,” and the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was of the opinion that “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking." U.S. President Harry Truman advised taking “a two-mile walk every morning before breakfast.”
And what better place to walk – or hike or stroll – than a park? Choose from a variety of nature-related outings this month. Nominal fees (typically $3 to $5) apply for some programs, which vary in length; preregistration may also be required.
- Sat., Apr. 1, 8:30 a.m. – Bird Walk – Deerfield Island Park (954-357-5110)
- Sat., Apr. 1, 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. – Family Exhibit Tour & Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Sun., Apr. 2, 8 a.m. – Bird Walk – Tall Cypress Natural Area (954-357-5110)
- Sat., Apr. 8, 9 a.m. – Scrub-a-Dub-Dub Cleanup & Hike – Deerfield Highlands Nature Preserve (954-357-5110)
- Sat., Apr. 8, 10 a.m. – Intro to Birding Walk – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198)
- Sun., Apr. 9, 10 a.m. – Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb (954-357-5161)
- Sun., Apr. 9, 7 p.m. – Night Hike – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
- Mon., Apr. 10, 10 a.m. – Tot Walk – Secret Woods (954-357-8884)
- Tues., Apr. 11, 9 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100)
- Fri., Apr. 14, 9 a.m. – Guided Hike – Tall Cypress (954-357-5110)
- Fri., Apr. 14, 7 p.m. – Sunset Adventure Hike – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797)
- Sat., Apr. 15, 9:30 a.m. – Geocaching Adventure Series – Helene Klein Pineland Preserve (954-357-5110)
- Tues., Apr. 18, 9 a.m. – Guided Hike – Easterlin Park (954-357-5190)
- Fri., Apr. 21, 7:30 p.m. – Night Hike – Woodmont Natural Area (954-357-5110)
- Fri., Apr. 21, 7:30 p.m. – Shooting Star Forest Stroll – Fern Forest (954-357-5198)
- Tues., Apr. 25, 9 a.m. – Guided Hike – Saw Palmetto Natural Area (954-357-5110)
- Fri., Apr. 28, 9 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters (954-357-5100)
- Sun., Apr. 30, 10 a.m. – Guided Nature Hike – Long Key (954-357-8797)
Broward County Parks has a long history of both educating people on the importance of native plants in their home landscapes, and making the right kinds of plants available for purchase. This month there’s one of our regular Go Native in Broward County Plant Sales, at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach on Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vendors will be on site, and there will be gardening information available and other activities going on. Admission is free. Secret Woods also hosts the monthly meeting of the local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, on the second Wednesday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. This month the meeting falls on April 12. For more information, call Secret Woods (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6) at 954-357-8884.
Lots of critters get a bad rap – reptiles, insects, and arachnids, in particular. But at Broward County Parks, we’re committed to educating the public about these strange, fascinating creatures.
On the last three Sundays in April, for instance, Fern Forest Nature Center will present its latest three-part Nature Lecture Series, emphasizing “Snakes” on the 16th, “Spiders & Insects” on the 23rd, and “Invasive Exotic Plants and Animals” on the 30th. The lectures are free, but donations to the Fern Allies volunteer group are encouraged. The programs run from noon to 1 p.m. and are followed by a question-and-answer session. There will be live animals used for the presentations, although the public will not be expected (or allowed) to handle them.
You can also get up close and personal with another ancient animal, the alligator, at Everglades Holiday Park, which offers live Gator Boys
shows at the conclusion of its popular airboat tours of the Everglades. Call 954-434-8111 for ticket and schedule information. The park also hosts a monthly Science Eye Nature Program
, with this month’s event, from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 15, focusing on “Florida Crocodilians.”
Up for a Challenge?
Invasive plants – also known as exotics – are non-native plants that have been introduced into the South Florida landscape, whether deliberately or inadvertently. While many such plants pose no threat to the environment, some grow out of control, altering ecosystems, including those in our parks, by outcompeting native vegetation and gradually displacing native plants and animals. Along with such large trees as Australian pines and melaleuca, the list of top unwanted invasives includes air potato, Brazilian pepper, and lantana.
As part of an ongoing effort to help rid our parks of problem plants, three sites are recruiting individuals and groups for an initiative called the 100 Bags of Invasives Challenge. The project starts on April 1 and runs through the end of the year, with volunteers aiming to collect a hundred bags of invasive plants at each participating park: Deerfield Island Park and Quiet Waters Park, both in Deerfield Beach, and Easterlin Park in Oakland Park.
After each park meets its goal, there will be a group award and celebration. Groups are limited to 50 or fewer members at Easterlin and Quiet Waters, 20 or fewer at Deerfield Island, and all volunteers must be registered. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and long-sleeved shirts. The program is open to all ages, although minors must have parental consent.
A similar but shorter-term program called the 100 Bags for the Earth Challenge is already under way at Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776) and will run through Earth Day, April 22.
For additional program details, call or visit the park of your choice. Deerfield Island (954-357-5100) is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #48, Easterlin (954-357-5190) and Quiet Waters (954-357-5100) via Route #14.
…And Everything Else
Other nature-related programming at Broward County parks in April. Many programs require fees and/or preregistration; contact the relevant park for details.
- Sat., Apr. 1, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workdays – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198), Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797), Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Tues., Apr. 4, 10 a.m.-noon – Nature Tots – Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Tues., Apr. 4, 3:30-5 p.m. – K-2 Nature Kids – Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Tues., Apr. 4, 7-9 p.m. – Master Gardener/Master Naturalist Meeting – Plantation Heritage Park (954-357-5135)
- Thurs., Apr. 6, 2 p.m. – Marine Advisory Committee Meeting – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
- Thurs., Apr. 6, 7-9 p.m. – Friends of Anne Kolb Meeting – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Thurs., Apr. 6, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Sierra Club Meeting – Fern Forest (954-357-5198)
- Fri., Apr. 7, 12:15-12:45 p.m. – Bite-Sized Learning Lunch – Easterlin Park (954-357-5190)
- Sat., Apr. 8, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workdays – Secret Woods, Snake Warrior’s Island Natural Area (954-357-8776)
- Sat., Apr. 8, 2-4 p.m. – Hop Into Spring – Secret Woods (954-357-8884)
- Sun., Apr. 9, 9-11:30 a.m. – Basic Kayak Class – West Lake Park (954-357-5161)
- Sun., Apr. 9, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. – Music at the Mangrove: Music Club of Hollywood Scholarship Auditions – Anne Kolb (954-357-5161)
- Sun., Apr. 9, 2-4 p.m. – Dan Barrow Memorial Bluegrass Jam – Fern Forest (954-357-5198)
- Mon., Apr. 10, 7:30-10 p.m. – Rare Fruit & Vegetable Council Meeting – Extension Education (954-357-5270)
- Tues., Apr. 11, 7-9 p.m. – Moonlight Paddle – West Lake (954-357-5161)
- Thurs., Apr. 13, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Fern Forest (954-357-5198)
- Thurs., Apr. 13, 10-11 a.m. – Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn – Long Key (954-357-8797)
- Thurs., Apr. 13, 6:30-9:30 p.m. – North American Butterfly Association Meeting – Extension (954-357-5270)
- Thurs., Apr. 13, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Florida Trail Association – Fern Forest (954-357-5198)
- Sat., Apr. 15, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workdays – Anne Kolb (954-357-5161), Deerfield Island (954-357-5110)
- Sun., Apr. 16, 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Team/Family Shutterbug Photo Hunt – Fern Forest (954-357-5198)
- Tues., Apr. 18, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – West Lake (954-357-5161)
- Sat., Apr. 22, 9-11:30 a.m. – Paddling EcoTour – West Lake (954-357-5161)
- Sat., Apr. 22, 9 a.m.-noon – Global Youth Service Day – Long Key (954-357-8797)
- Sun., Apr. 23, noon-1 p.m. – Super Science Sunday – Secret Woods (954-357-8884)
- Sun., Apr. 23, 1-4 p.m. – Jamming in the Park – Secret Woods (954-357-8884)
- Wed., Apr. 26, 10-11 a.m. – Knee-High Naturalist – Long Key (954-357-8797)
- Thurs., Apr. 27, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Secret Woods (954-357-8884)
National County Government Month
Since 1991, the National Association of Counties has designated April as National County Government Month and encouraged counties to actively promote the services and programs they offer. “Broward at Work” highlights facilities and activities that make living in Broward so desirable. One such facility we have promoted recently is the newly opened Marine Environmental Education Center at historic Carpenter House at Hollywood North Beach Park. This is just one example of a County program that enhances our quality of life and expands educational opportunities; others can be found at Broward.org/CountiesMatter.
Parks Foundation of Broward County
The Parks Foundation of Broward County is a 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2014 in support of Broward County Parks and Recreation. The foundation welcomes individual memberships and corporate partnerships at all levels to help promote our parks and programs, preserve our natural areas, and provide more green space for our community.