"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
- American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
If you have an 8-to-11-year-old who loves nature AND needs something constructive to do before heading back to school, we have just the ticket for you. The final session of Nature Detectives summer day camp at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek will be the week of July 31-August 4, from 9 a.m. to noon daily. Each day participants will explore a different habitat found at the nature center through crafts, hands-on experiences, and other activities. The cost is $75 for the week, and preregistration is required by calling the nature center at 954-357-5198. Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.
Reminder: Two More Lectures
Secret Woods Nature Center’s Summer Home Landscape Series is winding down, with two installments left in the long-running free program. Both sessions are on Thursdays, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. On August 3, Commercial Horticulture Agent Michael Orfanedes will present “Proper Techniques for Tree Trimming & Pruning.” The series closes on August 10 with “Tomato Gardening in South Florida,” presented by expert Elaine Farquharson.
After the lecture series, you’ll no doubt want to pick up some plants that will enable you to put what you’ve learned to work in your own home landscape. You can do that on Saturday, August 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when the nature center will host a Go Native Plant Sale, featuring local nurseries and other vendors.
For more information on the lectures or the plant sale, call the park at 954-357-8884. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.
Native vs. Invasive - It's Up to You
Speaking of home landscaping, we urge you to choose native plants over invasive plants. Natives create essential wildlife habitat, showcase Florida’s natural heritage, and create a sense of place. Invasives can take over wildlife habitat and choke out native plant regeneration.
It’s never too soon to start exposing your kids to the joy and beauty of nature. That’s why we have several programs designed to do just that. Nature Tots, for ages 2 to 4, has been around the longest and involves several parks, where it runs from 10 to 11 a.m. once a month: on the first Tuesday at Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776) in Miramar; second Thursday at Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198) in Coconut Creek; third Tuesday at West Lake Park (954-357-5161) in Hollywood; and fourth Thursday at Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884) in Dania Beach.
Two of these parks recently introduced similar monthly programs: K2 Nature Tots, for ages 5 to 7, is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on select Tuesdays (this month on August 1) at Miramar Pineland; and a Tot Walk, for ages 2 to 4, is offered from 10 to 11 a.m. on the second Monday at Secret Woods.
At Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie, there are also two monthly programs geared to children ages 3 to 5. Preschool Play 'n' Learn is held on the second Thursday from 10 to 11 a.m., while Knee-High Naturalist meets on the last Wednesday of the month, also from 10 to 11 a.m.
Each naturalist-led session of these programs features age-appropriate activities for the tots and their parents, such as games, crafts, storytelling, and outdoor adventures. Different themes may be explored monthly. The fee is $5 per child, and preregistration is required. Fern Forest is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42, Secret Woods via Route #6, and West Lake via Routes #4 and #12. (There are currently no routes that serve Long Key or Miramar Pineland.)
Keep Your (Summertime) Cool
While we want you to enjoy our parks, nature centers, and natural areas year round, we also want you to make sure you stay safe and healthy while having outdoor fun. We’re in the midst of the summer heat at its hottest, so be sure to drink lots of water when you’re being active outside. Water helps keep our bodies healthy by regulating our temperatures, protecting our organs, and helping break down the food we eat. Because water makes up so much of our bodies – 75 percent of muscle, 10 percent of fat – you have to drink water to stay healthy.
Our bodies lose water through activity, breathing, and sweating. When our bodies lose too much, we get dehydrated. Common signs include extreme thirst, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and/or not sweating. Here are some steps to take if this happens to you or you see someone showing symptoms while being active in the sun:
- Stop the activity immediately.
- Get out of the sun and find a shaded place to rest.
- Slowly sip water or some kind of cool fluid.
- Get checked out as soon as possible to ensure you are okay.
The goal is to stay hydrated, so drink before, during, and after any outdoor activities.
(This information brought to you in part by the Family Nutrition Program of our Extension Education Section. For additional information, call 954-357-5270.)
Thanks to a series of bond referendums with land-acquisition components – in 1978, 1989, and 2000 – Broward County Parks and Recreation Division is now responsible for the management of nearly 3,500 acres of natural lands, comprising portions of many of our regional parks as well as 21 natural area sites with varying degrees of public access.
The dozen natural areas listed below are open from dawn to dusk, except for Pine Island Ridge and Snake Warrior’s Island, which are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during Eastern Standard Time, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time. Call Tree Tops Park (954-357-5130) for more info on Pine Island Ridge, and Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776) for more on Snake Warrior’s Island. For all other sites, call 954-357-8190.
- Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub, Pompano Beach
- Deerfield Highlands Nature Preserve, Deerfield Beach
- Helene Klein Pineland Preserve, Coconut Creek
- Highlands Scrub Natural Area, Pompano Beach
- Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area, Coconut Creek
- Military Trail Natural Area, Deerfield Beach
- Pine Island Ridge Natural Area, Davie
- Saw Palmetto Natural Area, Coconut Creek
- Snake Warrior’s Island Natural Area, Miramar
- Tall Cypress Natural Area, Coral Springs
- West Creek Pineland Natural Area, Coconut Creek
- Woodmont Natural Area, Tamarac
…And Everything Else
Other nature-related programming at Broward County parks in August. Many programs require fees and/or preregistration; contact the relevant park for details.
- Fri., Aug. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Fun Friday Nature – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797)
- Fri., Aug. 4, 12:15-12:45 p.m. – Bite-Sized Learning Lunch – Easterlin Park (954-357-5190)
- Sat., Aug. 5, 6-8 a.m. – Sunrise Paddle – West Lake Park (954-357-5161)
- Sat., Aug. 5, 8:30-11:30 a.m. – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Woodmont Natural Area (954-793-6558)
- Sat., Aug. 5, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Sun., Aug. 6, 10-10:45 a.m. – Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Mon., Aug. 7, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Moonlight Paddle – West Lake
- Tues., Aug. 8, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100)
- Fri., Aug. 11, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – West Creek Pineland Natural Area (954-357-8109)
- Fri., Aug. 11, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. – Fun Friday Nature – Long Key
- Fri., Aug. 11, 7:30-8:30 p.m. – Twilight Forest Stroll – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198
- Sat., Aug. 12, 9-10:30 a.m. – Scrub-a-Dub-Dub Cleanup & Hike – Deerfield Highlands Nature Preserve (954-357-8109)
- Sat., Aug. 12, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
- Tues., Aug. 15, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Easterlin
- Fri., Aug. 18, 8-9 p.m. – Night Hike – Helene Klein Pineland Preserve (954-357-8109)
- Sat., Aug. 19, 9-11:30 a.m. – Paddling EcoTour – West Lake
- Sat., Aug. 19, 9:30-11:30 a.m. – Geocaching Adventure Series – Military Trail Natural Area (954-357-8109)
- Sun., Aug. 20, 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Team/Family Shutterbug Photo Hunt – Fern Forest
- Tues., Aug. 22, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Military Trail
- Fri., Aug. 25, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters
- Sun., Aug. 27, 10-11 a.m. – Guided Nature Hike – Long Key
- Sun., Aug. 27, noon-1 p.m. – Super Science Sunday – Secret Woods
- Sun., Aug. 27, 1-4 p.m. – Jamming in the Park – Secret Woods
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 Division. 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.