July Is Park and Recreation Month
So says the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), which started a tradition in 1985 that continues to this day. The Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) supports the initiative.
Among the benefits of parks and recreation:
In other words, “Find It All – At a Broward County Park.” Get out and enjoy. For more information on Broward County Parks, visit Broward.org/Parks.
- Parks and recreation programs enhance our quality of life by contributing to a healthy lifestyle, increasing communication skills, building self esteem, teaching life skills, and providing places for enjoyment.
- Parks and recreation programs boost the economy, enhance property values, attract new business, increase tourism, and reduce crime.
- Recreation builds family unity, strengthens neighborhood involvement, offers opportunity for social interaction, enhances education, develops creativity, and promotes cultural diversity.
- Our parks and trails ensure ecological beauty, provide space to enjoy nature, help maintain clean air and water, and preserve plant and animal wildlife.
- Recreation, therapeutic recreation, and leisure education are essential to the rehabilitation of individuals who have been ill or disabled.
Broward County will observe Independence Day on Friday, July 3, with all applicable Broward County regional parks charging the holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) on that day. All regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas will also be open on Saturday, July 4, with the weekend gate fee in effect at applicable parks. Deerfield Island Park
will be closed on July 3 but open on July 4.
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 July 7 at Miramar Pineland in Miramar, on July 9 at Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, on July 14 at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, on July 21 at West Lake Park in Hollywood, and on July 23 at Secret Woods.
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, the first Tuesday at Miramar Pineland, and the second Tuesday and the fourth Thursday at Secret Woods.
Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center also hosts Preschool Play ‘n’ Learn on Thursday, July 9 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. Long Key also holds Knee-High Naturalist events on a monthly basis. This month's event, to be held on Wednesday, July 29 from 10 to 11 a.m., is for children ages 3 to 5. The fee for both of these programs is $5 per child and preregistration is required.
For more information on a program or to preregister, call Miramar Pineland at 954-357-8776, 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. Miramar Pineland is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #2. Fern Forest is accessible via Routes #31 and #42. West Lake is accessible via Routes #12 and #14. Secret Woods is accessible via Route #6.
Summer Home Landscape Series
Are you an average homeowner who would like to add to the beauty of your home through landscaping? Then Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach has just the ticket for you: the Summer Home Landscape Series, which consists of four free lectures. The popular program runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on consecutive Thursdays.
Participants will learn ways to save money on their cooling and water bills, attract wildlife, and preserve native vegetation; they’ll improve the appearance of their yards and neighborhoods as well as increase property values.
Topics and presenters are as follows:
For more information, contact the nature center at 954-357-8884. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.
Keeping Your Pets Cool in the Summertime
Summertime, and the living is easy, right? Just because you’re enjoying sun and surf, however, don’t neglect your pet’s summer needs. Did you know, for instance, that July 5 is the busiest day for animal shelters? That’s because many pet owners don’t take precautions to prevent Independence Day stress. The fireworks you and friends and family find exciting may provoke confusion and exhaustion in your pet. Dogs, especially, are sometimes upset enough to crash through windows, jump fences, or break chains to escape, and are found the next day miles from home, exhausted and disoriented.
If loud noises disturb your pet – its reactions to thunderstorms should provide a clue – consider leaving the animal behind while you go out for Fourth of July festivities. At home, have someone remain inside with your pet while fireworks go off outside. For particularly sensitive animals, consult a vet about possibly prescribing tranquilizers.
Another summer hazard, especially in subtropical South Florida, is heat stress. Never take a pet with you in the car if it will be unattended for any length of time. An outdoor temperature of 85 degrees can translate to an interior temperature of 120 degrees in just 30 minutes.
Even at home, supply drinking water and shade if your pet is to be left outside on hot days. And if you “strut your mutt” in one of our parks, remember that early morning and after sundown are easier on the heat-sensitive pads of your dog’s paws.
And remember that well-behaved dogs on six-foot leashes are welcome in our regional and neighborhood parks but not in our nature centers and natural areas.
Butterflies may get most of the attention in the scientific order Lepidoptera, but moths can be just as fascinating, as you’ll readily learn when Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie celebrates the fourth annual National Moth Week by hosting Moth Day. It runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, and the emphasis will be on the importance of moths to the planet’s ecosystems. Activities will include presentations on moth life cycles, moth diversity, and moth gardening; plant giveaways; and pointers on how to view the moths you can find in your own back yard. From 8 to 10 p.m., naturalists will set up lights to attract moths for up-close viewing.
Moth Day activities are free, but there will also be a fee-based program ($5/child) called Magical Moths for Kids, on both Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26. Activities (including games, storytelling, crafts, and more) will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Long Key’s Discovery Room. For more info or to preregister, call the park at 954-357-8797.
Enjoy Healthy Meals This Summer
University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Broward Extension’s Family Nutrition Program (FNP) reminds you that, as a general rule, the more colors on your plate, the healthier your diet. Brighten your summer meals with colorful seasonal fruits and vegetables in reds, oranges, dark greens, purples, yellows, and blues. You’ll help reduce your risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic ailments.
1. Let USDA's MyPlate Be Your Guide (ChooseMyPlate.gov)
- Fruits: Add low-fat yogurt, granola, and nuts to fresh fruit to create a parfait. Eat fresh fruit daily.
- Vegetables: Have a salad as a side to dinner, or make half your plate fruits and vegetables like steamed carrots, and cabbage. Vary the veggies you eat weekly.
- Grains: Eat fiber-rich whole-grain rather than white bread; opt for brown rather than white rice.
- Protein: Choose lean turkey, roast beef, or ham. Remove skin from chicken and bake or broil rather than frying.
- Dairy: Include fat-free or low-fat milk at breakfast and other meals. Try calcium-rich low-fat yogurt and cheeses, too.
2. What’s for Lunch?
- A fresh turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with mustard, tomato, lettuce, and low- or nonfat cheese.
- A green salad with grilled chicken and fresh seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, red cabbage, carrots, and onions, or fruits like sliced strawberries, grapes, or tangerine segments.
- Vegetable, beef, or chicken soup with fiber-rich, nutrient-dense vegetables like green peas and diced sweet potatoes.
3. Make Healthier Menu Choices When Dining Out
- Cut back on calories by ordering an appetizer for your main dish, or splitting an entree.
- Choose baked, grilled, or broiled entrees and steamed rather than fried vegetables.
- Order sauces, dressings, and condiments on the side.
- Drink water, unsweetened tea, or low-fat or fat-free milk instead of sugar-laden beverages.
- Ask for half of large portions to take home with you.
4. Keep Food Safe
- Always wash your hands before preparing food and/or sitting down to a meal.
- Cook food thoroughly when dining in. When dining out, make sure food is cooked to your satisfaction – if not, send it back.
- Check expiration dates when cooking at home – when in doubt, throw it out.
- Refrigerate leftover food within two hours from the time it was originally served.
For more information, contact the FNP program coordinator at 954-357-5270 or 954-577-6410.
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).