"None of us are getting out of here alive,
so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought.
Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean.
Say the truth that you're carrying in your heart like hidden treasure."
-Anthony Hopkins (1937- ), British actor
Starry, Starry Nights
Back in the 1940s, the MGM movie studio boasted that it had “more stars than there are in heaven,” and on Sunday, March 4, thousands of today’s stars will gather in Hollywood (the California one) to watch the 90th Academy Awards. But other kinds of stars, the real ones in the heavens above, dot the South Florida sky every night, and every quarter members of the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) get together at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek to discuss them – and, more important, look at them – along with planets and other astronomical phenomena.
The free program is called An Evening With the Stars
, and the latest installment falls on Friday, March 16, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Speakers will share basic telescope techniques and other general astronomy information. The SFAAA
also runs the Fox Observatory at Markham Park
in Sunrise, which opens every Saturday, weather permitting, from dusk to midnight. There’s no charge to visit the observatory other than the park’s regular weekend gate fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free). For more details, call Fern Forest
at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit
Routes #31 and #42.
If stars aren’t enough, you can take in the moon, too, at other March programs at other locations. On Friday, March 2, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie offers a Full-Moon Hike
, with a naturalist leading participants out onto the trails to watch the moonrise through the ancient oaks while listening to stories, myths, and legends about the moon. The park more or less repeats the program, with a twist, on Saturday, March 31, with a Once-in-a-Blue-Moon Hike
. Both hikes are from 7 to 8 p.m. and cost $5/person, with preregistration required by calling Long Key
In between, two more programs take advantage of that "blue moon" (a.k.a., the second full moon in the same month). On Thursday, March 29, West Lake Park in Hollywood hosts a Moonlight Paddle event, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Participants pay $35 each for a naturalist-guided canoe/kayak tour of the lake’s waterway trails. For more information or the required preregistration, call the park at 954-357-5161. The next night, from 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 30, Hollywood North Beach Park is the site for a Night Hike by the Seashore. It costs $5/person, and preregistration is required with nearby Anne Kolb Nature Center, either in person or by phone (954-357-5161).
Happy Birthday to MEEC!On Saturday, March 3, it will be exactly one year since Broward County Parks and Recreation Division and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) jointly opened the Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at Carpenter House at Hollywood North Beach Park. The one-of-a-kind facility is home to its resident mascot, a female green sea turtle named Captain, who has a long, colorful history you can learn about at this interactive interpretive center, which offers displays on topics ranging from sea turtle conservation to marine debris.Saturday’s family-friendly Anniversary Celebration, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature face painting, a photo booth, arts and crafts, food trucks, and raffles for such prizes as an opportunity to go on a local shark-tagging expedition with researchers from NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute, and an annual Parks Passport that covers the gate fee at all regional parks. Raffle tickets are $1 each, $5 for six, and you don’t have to be present to win.For additional information, call the MEEC at 954-357-5125, or email MEEC@Nova.edu.
Water is an integral component of the quality of life to both residents and visitors alike in Broward County. This month two major events in parks attest to the importance water holds in our lives, in terms of both recreation and daily life.
The first event that will focus on water quality and conservation is the County’s largest environmental event, the Broward County Waterway Cleanup. The event, now in its 41st year, is organized by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) in cooperation with civil, public, and private partners, to promote environmental awareness and responsibility. This year nearly three dozen sites will participate, including Anne Kolb Nature Center, Deerfield Island Park, Markham Park & Target Range, Secret Woods Nature Center, Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park, and Tradewinds Park & Stables.
The volunteer-driven event regularly attracts nearly 1,700 volunteers to work at waterfront locations and on floating sites on the Intracoastal Waterway, collecting more than a dozen tons of trash and debris from the County’s roughly 300 miles of navigable waterways, canals, and shorelines. This year’s event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, with Trash Bash activities – refreshments, live entertainment, door prizes – immediately following.
Participants should wear clothes that they don’t mind getting dirty, as well as gloves and shoes. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and drinking water are also recommended. For more information, call MIASF’s Nicole Hoekstra at 954-524-2733, visit WaterwayCleanup.org or email Nicole@MIASF.org.
Then on Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tree Tops Park, Water Matters Day will take place. Now in its 16th year, the County’s signature water event educates residents on what they can do to protect our drinking-water supplies. Among the relevant topics covered will be water conservation techniques, smart irrigation, and native landscaping.
This family-oriented event features live music, educational booths and exhibits, giveaways (including native plants), hands-on activities, children’s workshops, and more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Admission to Water Matters Day is free, although Tree Tops’ regular weekend gate fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. For more information, visit Broward.org/WaterMatters.
…And Everything Else
Other nature-related programming at Broward County parks in March. Many programs require fees and/or preregistration; contact the relevant park for details.
- Fri., Mar. 2, 12:15-12:45 p.m. – Bite-Sized Learning Lunch – Easterlin Park (954-357-5190)
- Sat., Mar. 3, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workdays – Fern Forest, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797), Miramar Pineland (954-357-8776)
- Sun., Mar. 4, 11 a.m.-noon – Mangrove Adventure Hike – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161)
- Tues., Mar. 6, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Miramar Pineland
- Wed., Mar. 7, 6-7 p.m. – Pineland at Night Hike – Miramar Pineland
- Thurs., Mar. 8, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Fern Forest
- Thurs., Mar. 8, 10-11 a.m. – Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn – Long Key
- Thurs., Mar. 8, 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Florida Trail Association Meeting – Fern Forest
- Sat., Mar. 10, 9 a.m.-noon – EcoAction Volunteer Workday – Secret Woods
- Sat., Mar. 10, 10-11 a.m. – Intro to Birding Walk – Fern Forest
- Sun., Mar. 11, 2-4 p.m. – Dan Barrow Memorial Bluegrass Jam – Fern Forest
- Tues., Mar. 13, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters Park (954-357-5100)
- Wed., Mar. 14, 9-11:30 a.m. – Basic Kayak Class – West Lake Park (954-357-5161)
- Wed., Mar. 14, 7-8 p.m. – Sunset Hike – Miramar Pineland
- Wed., Mar. 14, 7-9 p.m. – Florida Native Plant Society Meeting – Secret Woods
- Fri., Mar. 16, noon-2 p.m. – Lunch-and-Learn Nature Series for Adults: Conservation & Research at Zoo Miami – Anne Kolb
- Sat., Mar. 17, 10-11 a.m. – Saturday Stroll & Learn: Ethnobotany – Fern Forest
- Sun., Mar. 18, noon-1 p.m. – Investigate It! – Secret Woods
- Sun., Mar. 18, 2:30-4:30 p.m. – Team/Family Shutterbug Photo Hunt – Fern Forest
- Tues., Mar. 20, 9-10 a.m. – Naturalist-Led Tour – Easterlin
- Tues., Mar. 20, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – West Lake
- Tues., Mar. 20, 11 a.m.-noon – Investigate It! – Secret Woods
- Thurs., Mar. 22, 10-11 a.m. – Nature Tots – Fern Forest
- Fri., Mar. 23, 9-10 a.m. – Guided Hike – Quiet Waters
- Sat., Mar. 24, 8:30 a.m.-noon – Snake Plant Strike Force Volunteer Workday – Highlands Scrub Natural Area (954-357-8109)
- Sun., Mar. 25, 9-11 a.m. – Neighbors for Nature – Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub (954-357-8109)
- Sun., Mar. 25, 10-11 a.m. – Guided Nature Hike – Long Key
- Sun., Mar. 25, noon-2 p.m. – Neighbors for Nature – Highlands Scrub
- Sun., Mar. 25, 1-4 p.m. – Jamming in the Park – Secret Woods
- Sun., Mar. 25, 1:30-3 p.m. – Music at the Mangrove: Young Artists Ellis Duo Competition Winners – Anne Kolb
- Sun., Mar. 25, 2-4 p.m. – Hop Into Spring – Secret Woods
- Wed., Mar. 28, 10-11 a.m. – Knee-High Naturalist – Long Key
- Sat., Mar. 31, 9-11:30 a.m. – Paddling EcoTour – West Lake
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. Donations are accepted at BrowardParksFoundation.org.