With Earth Day being recognized on April 22, there are a number of ways people can learn about South Florida’s ecosystem, help clean up the environment, and celebrate the earth at a Broward County park.
There are numerous free or low-cost classes and nature walks offered in our nature centers where one can learn about South Florida’s ecosystem, native plants, landscaping options, and more. In addition, the Extension Education Urban Horticulture section opened six Master Gardener Public Service Centers where the public can get advice on weeds, native plants, and pest identification. Operating days and hours vary. The centers are located at:
- C.B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Rd., Pembroke Pines, 954-357-5170
- Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, 3700 N.W. 11th Place, Lauderhill, 954-357-5400
- Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area, 5591 N.W. 74th Place, Coconut Creek, 954-357-5100
- Plantation Heritage Park, 1100 S. Fig Tree Ln., Plantation, 954-357-5135
- Tradewinds Park & Stables, 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek, 954-357-8870
- T.Y. Park, 3300 N. Park Rd., Hollywood, 954-357-8811
The public can also participate in organizations that provide education about nature such as the Broward County Audubon Society, Florida Trail Association, Broward Native Plant Society, and the Broward Sierra Group. Many of these groups host regular meetings in our nature centers. There are other Broward County resources, too, such as NatureScape Broward.
For more information on environmental events and programs, visit our Website at Broward.org/Parks.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
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 are two Native Plant Sales, one at Secret Woods Nature Center on Saturday, April 5, and another at Fern Forest Nature Center on Saturday, April 26. Both are 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.
You can also learn another way to grow plants at the SecretWoods Nature Center's ongoing series of Propagation Classes, which continues from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, with "Tissue Culture.” Participants will learn to germinate seeds and reproduce plant tissue under simple sterile conditions that are easily reproduced at home by any garden enthusiast. Secret Woods also hosts a meeting of the Florida Native Plant Society, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9.
For more information, call Fern Forest (accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42) at 954-357-5198 or Secret Woods (Route #6) at 954-357-8884.
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.
This month’s events will be on April 10 at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, on April 15 at West Lake Park in Hollywood, and on April 24 at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach.
The monthly program runs 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, the third Tuesday at West Lake Park, and on the fourth Thursday at Secret Woods Nature Center.
Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center also hosts Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn on April 10 from 10 to 11 a.m. This program, open to participants ages 3 to 5, may include games, hands-on activities, crafts, storytelling, songs, and a nature walk or animal encounter. This month’s theme is “Butterfly Flutterby.” The fee for this program is $5 per child and preregistration is required.For more information on a program or to preregister, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198, West Lake at 954-357-5161, Secret Woods at 954-357-8884, or Long Key at 954-357-8797. 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.
Choose from a variety of nature-related hikes and walks this month:
- Fri., Apr. 4, 7:30 p.m. – Night Hike by the Seashore – Hollywood North Beach Park (954-357-5161) – $5/person
- Sat., Apr. 5, 8:30 a.m. – Bird Walk – Deerfield Island Park (954-357-5100) – $3/person
- Sat., Apr. 5, 9:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m. – Guided Nature Walks – Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884) – Free
- Sat., Apr. 5, 1 p.m. – Trail Stroll – Anne Kolb Nature Center (954-357-5161) – Free
- Sat., Apr. 5, 7 p.m. – Nature at Night Hike – Deerfield Island Park (954-357-5100) – $5/person
- Sun., Apr. 6, 13, 20, & 27, 1 p.m. – Guided Nature Walks – Fern Forest Nature Center (954-357-5198) & Secret Woods Nature Center (954-357-8884) – Free
- Sat., Apr. 19, 7 p.m. – Nature at Night Hike – Woodmont Natural Area (954-357-5100) – $5/person
- Sun., Apr. 27, 10 a.m. – Guided Nature Hike – Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center (954-357-8797) – Free
YouTube Spotlight - Airboat Rides at Everglades Holiday Park
Broward County Parks has its own YouTube Channel at www.YouTube.com/BrowardCountyParks. Ride through the river of grass at Everglades Holiday Park. Watch our video and see what could be waiting for you next time you visit.
SWIM Central is the Broward County Commission's primary resource and referral service for available swim programs in cooperation with various cities and nonprofit organizations. Call 954-357-SWIM (7946).