Nearby Nature May 2012
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Focus on Pine Island Ridge Natural Area
BYOK (Bring Your Own Kayak)
Incredible Edibles
May is Air Quality Awareness Month
Think Greenery
Winged Wonders
YouTube Spotlight – Kayaking at Anne Kolb 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 Pine Island Ridge Natural Area

This 102.2-acre natural area, located in the Town of Davie, was formerly owned by the Belcher family and is now surrounded by the Forest Ridge residential community. The overall site, which opened to the public in February 1990, can be described as a sandy ridge rising above former Everglades flatlands. At its highest elevation, 29 feet above sea level, it is also the highest natural point in Broward County.

The gently undulating topography of the ridge serves as a reminder that, although the Atlantic Ocean is now roughly 10 miles away, it once deposited fine sands and created dunes here 100,000 years ago. Sea levels fluctuated greatly during the most recent ice age, approximately 20,000 years ago, but eventually the Florida peninsula emerged and the ancient barrier island that is now Pine Island Ridge became a sandy inland ridge. That ridge became an island once again approximately 5,000 years ago when the Everglades formed – not an island at the edge of the ocean, but an island surrounded by an inland freshwater river of sawgrass.

Archaeological surveys have confirmed sites within Pine Island Ridge as the locations of hunting camps of the ancient Tequesta Indians. More recently, in the 1800s, as the historian Patsy West has written, “The Pine Island complex was probably one of the first permanent habitation sites occupied by the Seminole in southeastern Florida.”

West goes on: “During the Second Seminole War [1835-1842], Pine Island became known as the legendary refuge for the Seminole. The Island was in the uncharted Everglades where the military had never set foot, and appeared to be secure.” As West points out, Sam Jones, the Miccosukee war chief also known as Abiaka, was closely linked to the series of islands that included Pine Island Ridge and nearby Long Key. One of his primary residences was on Long Key, and Pine Island Ridge is where he was repeatedly besieged by U.S. government forces that wanted to corner and capture him. (The warrior is commemorated with a statue in Tree Tops Park, adjacent to Pine Island Ridge.) 

Today Pine Island Ridge is a high hammock forest dominated by live oaks and slash pines. Vegetation includes hackberry, red bay, marlberry, wild coffee, beautyberry, swamp fern, and giant sword fern. Wildlife includes gopher tortoises, great horned owls, migratory warblers, red-bellied and pileated woodpeckers, Cooper’s hawks, and atala butterflies. The site is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, a series of nearly 500 sites throughout the state selected for their excellent bird-watching and bird-education opportunities.

Site amenities include interpretive signage throughout; a paved trail originating in Tree Tops Park and branching out to an interpretive shelter and to the Forest Ridge residential community; and equestrian trails that connect Tree Tops with Westridge, a Town of Davie park.

For more information on Pine Island Ridge, call Tree Tops Park at 954-357-5130.

BYOK (Bring Your Own Kayak)

Wanted: Kayakers to help clean up the shoreline of Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 12. To make things interesting, pretend you’re on a Kayak Treasure Hunt., complete with “treasure-hunting supplies” you’ll retrieve when you arrive at the park’s marina. Prizes will be awarded for the most unusual finds. Treasure hunters ages 18 and up are encouraged to bring a hat, gloves, and plenty of drinking water. Preregistration is required by calling Quiet Waters Parkat 954-357-5100. Deerfield Island is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #48 and #50

Incredible Edibles

Introduce your family to the wonderful world of growing your own herbs when Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach offers a Herbilicious Herb Class, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 10. Participants will learn about cultivating herbs and making tinctures, as well as other modern uses for herbs. They’ll also leave with their own starter herb gardens.

Preregistration is required by calling the nature center at 954-357-8884, and a $20 donation to the Friends of Secret Woods volunteer group is requested. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.


The name of the late environmentalist and County Commissioner Anne Kolb lives on not only in the county’s largest nature center, in Hollywood, but also in the Anne Kolb Memorial Trail, which traverses re-created plant communities at Plantation Heritage Park such as high and low hammocks, pinelands, a coastal strand forest, and a basin, along with a newly planted meadow/prairie.

The trail will be the subject of a Restoration Project on Saturday, May 5, when volunteers will work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to hand-remove unwanted vegetation from the trail and replace it with native species. Participants should bring a hat, gloves, sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water. No equipment will be provided, so volunteers are also encouraged to bring such items as shovels. Parking is provided at the park’s main building, where you can complete the necessary paperwork at the office and receive a list of do’s and don’ts before being directed to the work location.

For more information, call the park at 954-357-5135. Plantation Heritage is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #30.

May is Air Quality Awareness Month

May is Air Quality Awareness Month, and the Broward County Air Quality Program would like to provide tips on things you can do conserve energy, improve air quality and your health, and reduce your carbon footprint. Here are easy changes everyone can make to help:

· Give your car a break. Take Tri-Rail or the bus, walk, bike, and/or carpool.

· Unplug unused electronics. When electronics are not being used, unplug them from the outlet or keep them plugged into a power strip and switch it off.

· Adjust your thermostat up two degrees.

· Take shorter showers. Showers account for two-thirds of all water heating costs.

· Use reusable cloth shopping bags.

· Reuse a mug or water bottle.

· Wash clothes in cold water.

· Use recycled paper and print on both sides.

If you take all of the above these actions, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,500 pounds, which is equivalent to the emissions of 127 gallons of gasoline.

Also remember to check the Air Quality Index. This is especially important for children, the elderly, and those with respiratory ailments. Call 954-519-1280 for today’s Air Quality Index.

You can also sign up for Enviroflash, which will immediately notify subscribers, via e-mail or pager, when the Air Quality Index falls out of the “good” category. The e-mail provides information on what precautions should be taken. Visit to sign up.

Finally, “like” us on Facebook at Broward Environment for environmental updates and events.

Think Greenery

Looking for some plants to spruce up your home landscape? Look no further than the Broward County Plant Affair. The popular annual event takes place the weekend of May 5 and 6 at Plantation Heritage Park in Plantation, where you’ll find a plant show and sale with up to 30 vendors. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. both days. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5135. Plantation Heritage is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #30.

Winged Wonders

Learn how to identify and attract local butterflies to your own back yard when Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park South in Coconut Creek holds a Butterfly Gardening Workshop. The workshop, which is free with paid admission to the internationally famous attraction, starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, and no reservations are required. A free photo guide to butterflies is included, and butterfly-gardening plants will be available for purchase in the garden center. For more information, call Butterfly World at 954-977-4400, or visit Tradewinds Park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.

If you can’t get enough of the colorful insects, head on over to Secret Woods Nature Center in Dania Beach the next day at noon, when the park hosts Delightful Flight. The half-hour program, which costs $1.50 per person, provides an up-close look at some of Florida’s butterflies, as well as information on how to attract them to your garden. For more information, call the nature center at 954-357-8884. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

YouTube Spotlight – Kayaking at Anne Kolb Nature Center

Broward County Parks now has its own YouTube Channel at If you’ve never gone kayaking at West Lake Park in Hollywood, you’ll get a glimpse of this urban oasis. Watch our video and be transported to the tranquil mangroves and calm waters that surround the park 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 Webpage 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

Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Butterfly World (Tradewinds 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 Parks/Tracks (Brian Piccolo Park, Quiet Waters 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 nearly 6,500 acres, encompassing 18 regional parks and nature centers, six neighborhood parks, and 21 natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, skate parks, 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
Chip LaMarca
Ilene Lieberman
Stacy Ritter
John E. Rodstrom Jr.
Barbara Sharief
Lois Wexler


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