Skip navigation links
Find Parks & Hours
Find Nature
Things To Do
The Latest
Get Involved
About Us
Skip navigation links
Media Information
Press Kit
Subscribe to Our Publications
Media Releases
February 2013 Nearby Nature
Broward County > Parks > The Latest > February 2013 Nearby Nature

Nearby Nature Banner

Focus on Tall Cypress Natural Area
Birds of a Feather
How Does Your Garden Grow?
By Land, By Water, By Air
Lichen Love Affair
Presidential Plant Life
Explore the Great Outdoors
YouTube Spotlight – Butterfly Island at Secret Woods Nature Center
Follow Us – On Twitter
Nature To Go
Your Opinion Counts!
Nature Centers of the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division
Special Attractions
Mission Statement
Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Focus on Tall Cypress Natural Area

A decade and one year ago – on February 7, 2002, to be precise – Broward County and the City of Coral Springs turned a dream into a reality for Save What’s Left, an environmental conservation group originating at Coral Springs High School. Tall Cypress Natural Area, a 66-acre site rich in natural resources, opened on that date, and the grass-roots school organization had been instrumental in saving the natural area from development. Today Tall Cypress – one of the last remaining stands of basin swamp and pine flatwoods in the county – is jointly owned by the city and Broward County, which manages it.

The site contains a dense, continuous canopy of cypress trees that transitions to slash pines. Interspersed within this canopy are shallow willow and pond apple depressions, sabal palm heads, red maples, and strangler fig trees. The understory of sword and leather ferns, saw palmetto, swamp lily, soft-leaved wild coffee, beautyberry, and other basin swamp plants is so thick that it is extremely difficult to traverse this urban forest by foot – hence the 2,090-foot elevated boardwalk with two covered overlooks that enables visitors to experience the natural area without disturbing it.

In terms of animal species, the site is one of the most diverse purchased through the 1989 Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) Bond program. Due to the density of vegetation and the lack of disturbance, the site is ideal habitat for heavily forested woodland species. Resident and migratory birds documented here include the great horned owl, pileated woodpecker, great egret, little blue heron, cardinal, bluejay, and many species of warbler. Among the plentiful reptiles are the Florida box turtle, Florida softshell turtle, cornsnake, eastern garter snake, and green anole lizard. The site is also home to many species of butterflies, including white peacock, malachite, gulf fritillary, and Julia.

Along with the boardwalk, Tall Cypress also includes among its amenities a concrete trail, restrooms, interpretive signage, seating areas, an amphitheater, and a small parking lot.

For more information about this natural area, contact Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100 or email Tall Cypress is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.

Birds of a Feather

Did you know there’s a thriving colony of burrowing owls at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill? Find out more about these enigmatic creatures when the park – which is better known for its sports facilities, corporate pavilions, and water park – hosts a rare volunteer-led Nature/Bird Walk, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 16. While other birds may be sighted on the walk, the emphasis is on the park’s population of burrowing owls, and the walk will focus on the park’s natural area and burrowing owl habitat. The walk is free, although the park’s regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.

Florida burrowing owls, the only ground-nesting owls in the state, are listed as a Species of Special Concern by the state and are also protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act. That’s because the birds are threatened by the loss of habitat and by such urban predators as snakes, opossums, raccoons, and even cats and dogs. When Central Broward Regional was built in 2005, a priority was ensuring that the burrowing owls already living on the site be preserved and protected.

Here are a few interesting tidbits about burrowing owls:

· They’re sometimes called the “howdy bird” because of their habit of bowing and bobbing when approached.

· Burrowing owls have 13 distinct calls, more than any other North American owl. One of them mimics the sound of a rattlesnake.

· Females incubate the eggs while the males stand sentry at the entrance to the nest and hunt for food. A male will bring the food back to the entrance, and the female will take it inside to the owlets.

· Baby owls emerge from the burrow when they are 10 to 14 days old. Their parents teach them to hunt by bringing them dead or injured insects to pounce on.

· Males are often lighter-colored than females, thought to be due to sun-bleaching from standing guard while the females incubate the eggs underground.

Another program will be held on Saturday, March 23. The walks last up to two hours, depending on the level of interest of participants and the amount of bird and wildlife activity on view. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5400. Central Broward Regional is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #18, #40, and #81.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Stock up on native plants, herbs, and vegetable plants when the Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood hosts a Go Native Plant Sale. The free event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, February 9, and all ages are welcome.

Over at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, you can learn another way to grow plants at the park’s ongoing series of Propagation Classes, which continues from 2 to 3 p.m. the next day, Sunday, February 10, with installment one, “Seeds.” Participants will get hands-on instruction in various techniques, and you’re welcome to bring your own seeds. Secret Woods also hosts a meeting of the Florida Native Plant Society, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 13. Future sessions focus on “Cuttings” and “Grafting.”

For more information, call Anne Kolb at 954-357-5161 or Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12, Secret Woods via Route #6.

By Land, By Water, By Air

Whether they live on the ground, swim in the water, or take to the air, several varieties of animals are center stage at Broward County Parks this month. Butterflies are the topic of the Delightful Flight program at Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach, offering an up-close look at some South Florida species. It’s from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 10, and the fee is $1.50 per person. The focus shifts to Wonderful Reptiles on Saturday, February 16, when visitors will meet some of the nature center’s reptilian residents. The free program is from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Both programs are for all ages.

For more information, call Secret Woods at 954-357-8884. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

Lichen Love Affair

Experiencing nature at night is something to behold, and the Lichen Love Affair is a great way to spend an evening in the great outdoors. Watch as lichens light up under the glow of black lights and learn about their complicated yet colorful relationships. Join us for this unique experience at Easterlin Park on Friday, February 15, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. This program is for ages 6 and up, and there is a $5-per-person fee. The program begins at the park office and preregistration is required.

To preregister or for more information, call Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100. Easterlin is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #14.

Presidential Plant Life

Learn how various United States Presidents helped to conserve our nation’s natural resources at the Nature and Presidents Program at Anne Kolb Nature Center on Sunday, February 17, from 3 to 4 p.m. This program is for children ages 6 to 12 who are accompanied by an adult.

For more information and for fees, call the nature center at 954-357-5161. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12.

Explore the Great Outdoors

Broward County offers residents and visitors beautiful and tranquil surroundings that have become part of our community’s identity. Still, there are some areas of the County that are just as they were decades ago. Explore some of these natural oases by taking part in the Natural Area Exploration Series. This month’s explorations will take place at Highlands Scrub Natural Area on Sunday, February 10, and at Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area on Sunday, February 24. Both hour long naturalist-led nature hikes are from 2 to 3 p.m., and are open to participants ages 3 and up. The cost of this program is $5 per person or $25 per person for the series pass, which allows you to attend as many of the hike in the series as you would like. There will be two additional dates in March and two more in April. Participants are advised to bring drinking water and binoculars to wear, closed-toed shoes, and long sleeves/pants. Preregistration is required.

To preregister or for more information, call Quiet Waters Park at 954-357-5100. Highlands Scrub is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #50, Hillsboro Pineland via Route # 18.

YouTube Spotlight – Butterfly Island at Secret Woods Nature Center

Broward County Parks now has its own YouTube Channel at Stroll through a tranquil butterfly garden at Butterfly Island at Secret Woods Nature CenterWatch our video and see what could be waiting for you next time you visit.

Follow Us – On Twitter

Broward County Parks in now on Twitter! Follow us at @BrowardParks and keep up to date with important information, events, programs, and other happenings. Twitter accounts have also been created for five of our parks including Secret Woods Nature Center (@SecretWoodsNC) in Dania Beach. Visit the Broward County Government Stay Connected Web page to follow your favorite park.

Nature To Go

You can now take a little bit of Broward County nature home with you – thanks to a series of nature posters produced and sold by Broward County Parks. The six posters, all photographed in the county’s parks, nature centers, and natural areas, feature American white waterlilies, burrowing owls, a gray fox, live oak trees, a prairie iris, and a queen butterfly. The posters look great either framed or unframed, and they’re a distinctive way to bring a taste of nature into your home or office. They also make excellent gifts.

The offices at seven facilities have the posters available for purchase: the Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park in Hollywood, Fern Forest Nature Center in Coconut Creek, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center in Davie, Markham Park in Sunrise, Plantation Heritage Park in Plantation, Tree Tops Park in Davie, and T.Y. Park in Hollywood.

The high-quality posters, which measure 18 inches by 24 inches, retail for $10, including Florida sales tax. You can also purchase posters by mail from Broward County Parks and Recreation, 950 N.W. 38th St., Oakland Park, FL 33309. Mail-order posters are $15 (includes Florida sales tax, shipping, and handling), with checks/money orders payable to Broward County Parks and Recreation. For more information, e-mail

Your Opinion Counts!

We’d like to know what you think about our programs and facilities. Please take a moment to tell us how we’re doing by filling out this survey.

Nature Centers of the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division

Anne Kolb Nature Center

751 Sheridan St., Hollywood


Deerfield Island Park

1720 Deerfield Island Park

Deerfield Beach


Fern Forest Nature Center

201 Lyons Rd. South Coconut Creek


Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center

3501 S.W. 130th Ave.



Secret Woods Nature Center

2701 W. State Rd. 84 Dania Beach



For more nature activities, please go to

Special Attractions

Airboat Rides (Everglades Holiday Park) – Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Butterfly World(Tradewinds Park) – Bike America (Quiet Waters Park) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park) – Exhibit Halls (Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park, Fern Forest Nature Center, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, Secret Woods Nature Center) – Golf Facilities (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Softball/Baseball Fields (Brian Piccolo Park, Sunview Park, Tradewinds Park) – Observatory (Markham Park) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park) – Target Range (Markham Park) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park)

Mission Statement

The Parks and Recreation Division is dedicated to providing a countywide park system with diverse facilities and recreation opportunities, along with natural area conservation and research-based educational outreach, to enhance the well-being of residents, businesses, and visitors.

Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities. Hours and fees vary by location. For more information, visit


Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in County programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Sue Gunzburger
Dale V.C. Holness
Kristin Jacobs
Martin David Kiar
Chip LaMarca
Stacy Ritter
Tim Ryan
Barbara Sharief
Lois Wexler

Subscribe/Unsubscribe to the Nearby Nature Newsletter

Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.