Up for a Challenge (or Two or Three)?
Three of our parks are recruiting volunteers for their 100 Bags of Invasives Challenge. In accordance with the program name, the goal is to collect and remove a hundred bags of invasive plants from each park: Deerfield Island Park and Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100), both in Deerfield Beach, and Easterlin Park (954-357-5190) in Oakland Park. School, youth, and other groups or clubs of up to 50 (20 at Deerfield Island) are welcome to register and start working toward the 100-bag target. Call the park of your choice for more info on this initiative, which runs through the end of the year.
Exotic species (another name for invasives) will also be the focus of this month’s Saturday Stroll & Learn program at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek. It’s from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 18, and admission is free. For more info, call 954-357-5198.
Invasive non-native plants are a huge problem throughout our park system, and this challenge is just one of the ways we combat their spread. We also have many sites that regularly hold EcoAction Days. These volunteer workdays take place seasonally at some locations, year round at others.
- First Saturdays, Feb. 4 this month – Fern Forest, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797), Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776) – all 9 a.m.-noon
- Second Saturdays, Feb. 11 this month – Quiet Waters, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884), 9 a.m.-noon
- Third Saturdays, Feb. 18 this month – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161), 9 a.m.-noon, Deerfield Island, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Fourth Saturdays, Feb. 25 this month – various North Broward Natural Areas (954-357-5100), 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
For all these activities, participants should wear closed-toe shoes and bring gloves, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water. Long pants and long sleeves are also recommended. The required volunteer registration form is available online.
If you love both nature and photography, you’ll have an opportunity to combine those passions at two nature centers this month. On Saturday, February 18, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie will offer the second of two Photo Walks, starting at 9:30 a.m. The walks, led by both a naturalist and a photographer, are in conjunction with a Photo Contest co-sponsored by the Friends of Long Key (FOLK) volunteer group. The competition closes on February 28, with cash prizes to be awarded in five categories. Contest rules and entry form can be found on the FOLK Website. For additional details, call Long Key at 954-357-8797.
The next day, Sunday, February 19, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek hosts the latest installment of its ongoing Team/Family Shutterbug Photo Hunts, offered the third Sunday of the month from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The fee for this Nature Photography 101 class/expedition is $10 per team or family, and preregistration is required a week in advance (in this case, by February 12). For more info, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.
Lecture CircuitThe Lunch-and-Learn Nature Series for Adults continues at Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood this month with “Edible and Medicinal Plants in Florida.” The program will be from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, February 10, and preregistration is required a week in advance. The presenter will be Dr. Bradley Bennett, from the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University. The event includes lunch and a $10 donation is required to benefit the Friends of Anne Kolb volunteer group. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5161. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #4 and #12.
In addition to great facilities and programming, our parks, especially our nature centers, also provide places for the local or regional chapters of various organizations to meet, usually at the same time and same location every month.
- Thurs., Feb. 2, 7-9 p.m. – Friends of Anne Kolb – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Tues., Feb. 7, 7-9 p.m. – Broward County Master Gardeners & Master Naturalists – Extension Education (954-357-5270)
- Wed., Feb. 8, 7-9 p.m. – Florida Native Plant Society – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884)
- Thurs., Feb. 9, 6:30-9:30 p.m. – North American Butterfly Association – Extension Education
- Thurs., Feb. 9, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Florida Trail Association – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198)
- Thurs., Feb. 16, 7:30-9 p.m. – South Florida Audubon Society – Fern Forest (location alternates with Anne Kolb)
- Mon., Feb. 20, 7-10 p.m. – Rare Fruit & Vegetable Council – Extension Education (normally second Monday of month)
The Craftiness of Crabs
Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach is known for its programs focusing on plants (herbs, mushrooms) as well as animals (manatees, snakes). The park also regularly incorporates arts and crafts into its programs. No surprise, then, that The Curiosity of Crabs, which will run from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 25, will include both. The event, for ages 6 and up, costs $5 per person, and preregistration is required. Participants will learn about the nature center’s crustacean inhabitants, including blue land crabs, fiddler crabs, and mangrove tree crabs, then create a painting they can take home. For more info or to sign your kid up, call 954-357-8884. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.
Birds of a Feather
The abundant avian wildlife of South Florida are never far from our naturalists’ minds, and you’ll have three opportunities to look for bird species this month. Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach will continue its monthly Bird Walks, with one scheduled for Saturday, February 4, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tall Cypress Natural Area in Coral Springs follows suits the next day, Sunday, February 5, from 8 to 10 a.m. Both walks are free, but space is limited and preregistration is required by calling Quiet Waters Park, which coordinates the programs, at 954-357-5100. Deerfield Island is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #48, and Tall Cypress via Route #34.
Then, on Saturday, February 11, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek will offer an Intro to Birding Walk, from 10 to 11 a.m. The cost is $5 per person, and preregistration is required. Call the park at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.
And if you’d just like to stroll among birds (and butterflies) on your own, there’s a relatively new butterfly and bird sanctuary at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach. The small site is home to a variety of shrubs, trees, and other plants that play a role in the life cycles of both butterflies and birds, and there’s interpretive signage to guide and inform you. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #14.
The key to a beautiful home landscape that is also ecologically sound is educating yourself on what you put into the ground and what you do with it once it’s planted. For help with that, you can turn to Broward County Parks. From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, February 25, the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood will hold its next Go Native Plant Sale. The event emphasizes the right kinds of plants to grow in your home landscape. Gardening information and other activities will be offered as well. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-5161. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #4 and #12.
Parks FoundationThe Parks Foundation of Broward County is a 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2014 in support of the 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. Donations are accepted at BrowardParksFoundation.org.