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March 2013 Nearby Nature
Broward County > Parks > The Latest > March 2013 Nearby Nature

Nearby Nature Banner

Focus on Miramar Pineland
Find Culture – At Tradewinds Park’s Butterfly World
Find the Stars
Listen To Learn
Water of Life
Explore the Great Outdoors
Prescribed Fire Announcement
Advisory Board Notice
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 Miramar Pineland

Upon its March opening, Miramar Pineland will be one of the most diverse sites in the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division: part regional park, part nature center, and part natural area. At approximately 157 acres, it is a unique combination of scrubby flatwoods to the north and restored wetlands and associated prairie to the south. Its slash pine forest, in the northern half, is one of the largest intact resources of its kind in the county. The two distinct vegetative communities are separated by fairly deep ravines that were cut when the site was once popular with off-road-vehicle enthusiasts.

The land that would eventually become Miramar Pineland was platted in 1908 by the Everglades Sugar and Land Co., which was owned by Robert Parsell Davie (future namesake of the Town of Davie) and the Colorado sugar tycoon J.R. McKinney. As with much of the Everglades, this land was purchased from the state’s Internal Improvement Fund, established in 1855 to distribute wetlands to anyone willing to drain and farm them.

Sugar was never actually farmed on the site, however, which was used instead for cattle farming when the tract later came under the ownership of Royal Dairy Farms. The bare remains of a long-gone windmill and a concrete trough linger as reminders of the property’s previous grazing activities.

The site has been greatly transformed over the last century. As part of the historical headwaters of the Snake Creek, it was once covered with typical Everglades vegetation, including sawgrass and clumps of bayhead tree islands. It was also connected to an active Seminole canoe route that flowed east to settlements along the Atlantic Ocean and west to the Big Cypress area of the Everglades. With the onset of the drainage, however, the site shifted into a drier pineland community, characterized by large, sprawling pines that date back 70 to 80 years.

The grazing cattle also affected the landscape, keeping it fairly open and restricting the spread of the pines and other canopy species, as well as prohibiting the growth of a thick understory. It’s also likely that new grasses for cattle feed were introduced, and ranchers might have pulled up vegetation such as saw palmetto to keep the understory clear for the cattle.

Of the site’s original 97.62 acres, almost 70 were purchased from the Estate of Emil Morton in 1989, through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Bond Issue acquisition program; the remaining 27.64 acres were donated. Additional acreage was acquired in 2001, using a combination of funds from the 2000 Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond program and grants from the Florida Communities Trust (FCT). The City of Miramar was a partner in the FCT project.

Since its purchase the land has had debris removed from it, and initial treatment and removal of exotic invasive plants has been completed, with the site now regularly monitored for exotics and treated again as needed. A slash pine forest with limited understory, grassy meadows, and bare sandy spots occupy a low ridge rising above the adjacent terrain in the northern portion of the area. The southern half of the site is a remnant sandy slough from the Snake Creek drainage system.

Amenities at the park include a pineland trail, a wetland boardwalk, a playground, a splash pad, and picnic areas (including rental shelters). A future interpretive center will include an assembly hall, interpretive displays, restrooms, and office and storage space.

Miramar Pineland was placed on the Urban Wilderness Inventory in 1996. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit’s University Breeze line.

Find Culture – At Tradewinds Park’s Butterfly World

Add a little culture to your life on Saturday, March 9, when Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park will host two concerts (at noon and 2 p.m.) by the Indiana Wesleyan University Chorale. The group’s concerts consist of a diverse repertoire of music, including sacred classics, hymns, spirituals, and contemporary compositions. These shows, held in the Grand Plaza Concert Hall, are free with paid admission to Butterfly World, which runs $24.95 for ages 12 and up, $19.95 for ages 3 to 11, and free for 2 and under. For more information, call Butterfly World at 954-977-4434 or visit Tradewinds Park’s regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will also be in effect. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34.

Find the Stars

Hollywood may turn out every year for the Academy Awards, but another kind of star – the heavenly kind – inhabits the South Florida sky every night. And every quarter the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAAA) gets together at Fern Forest Nature Center to discuss all things astronomical.

The free program is called An Evening With the Stars, and the latest installment starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 15. Speakers will cover basic telescope techniques and general astronomy information. For more details, call Fern Forest at 954-357-5198. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #31 and #42.

The SFAAA also opens the Fox Observatory at Markham Park every Saturday evening, weather permitting, from dusk to midnight. For more information on the SFAAA, call 954-384-0442 or email

Listen To Learn

Learn all about “Cuttings” at this month’s Propagation Lecture at Secret Woods Nature Center. This middle installment in the three-lecture series includes hands-on instruction in various techniques. The program is for ages 12 and up and runs $5/person (plus applicable Florida sales tax). For more information, call Secret Woodsat 954-357-8884. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

Also concluding this month: the latest installment of the Lunch and Learn Nature Series, the lecture program that has been so popular at the Anne Kolb Nature Center. The final of three presentations, from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 22, will be on the topic “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of South Florida.” The guest lecturer is Ricardo Zambrano, a wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Preregistration is required a week prior to the event. A $7 donation to the Friends of the Anne Kolb Nature Center volunteer group gets you in and gets you lunch. For more information, call Anne Kolb at 954-357-5161. The nature center is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12.

Water of Life

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 Water Matters Day, scheduled for Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tree Tops Park. Now in its 11th year, the county’s signature water event – this year’s theme is “Preserve. Protect. Conserve.” – 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. The Broward County Board of County Commissioners, Broward Workshop, the School Board of Broward County, and the South Florida Water Management District partner for the event.

Admission to Water Matters Day is free, although Tree Tops’ regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect. For more information, visit

Then, from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 16, the county’s largest environmental event, the 36th annual Waterway Cleanup, returns to Broward. The event, with the theme “Where Blue Meets Green,” 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 more than two dozen sites will participate, including the Anne Kolb Nature Center, Franklin Park and Reverend Samuel Delevoe neighborhood parks, Markham Park, and Secret Woods Nature Center.

Last year the event attracted more than 2,000 volunteers to work at waterfront locations and on floating sites on the Intracoastal Waterway. Approximately 20 tons of trash and debris was collected from the county’s roughly 300 miles of navigable waterways, canals, and shorelines.

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 at 954-524-2733, visit, or email Anne Kolbis accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12; Franklin via Routes #11, #36, and #40; Delevoe via Routes #11 and #40; Markham via Route #23; and Secret Woods via Route #6.

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 Tall Cypress Natural Area on Sunday, March 10, and at Woodmont Natural Area on Sunday, March 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 (plus applicable Florida sales tax). 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. Tall Cypress is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #34, Woodmont via Routes #57 and #62.

Prescribed Fire Announcement

The Florida Forest Service and Broward County Parks and Recreation Division are planning a Prescribed Fire for the natural area contained within Tradewinds Park. This management activity is tentatively scheduled to take place within the four-month time frame of early March through June 30, weather permitting.

Prescribed fires are conducted only by professional firefighters and administered only when weather parameters are suitable. The final decision to conduct a burn is made daily by senior staff, after reviewing the predicted fire weather forecast for a particular day. A media release will be sent out when favorable weather conditions are expected. Smoke from the prescribed fire is possible and is expected to be minimal, although it is dependent on actual weather and wind conditions occurring throughout the duration of the burn.

Prescribed fire is a safe way to apply a natural process, ensure ecosystem health, and reduce wildfire risk. Lands burned with prescribed fire experience an increase in native wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife. To learn how to protect your forest or to learn more about prescribed fire, visit

Part of Broward County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESL) Bond Program, Tradewinds Natural Area is located one-quarter-mile south of Wiles Road, just west of
Florida’s Turnpike, within Tradewinds Park North. The site encompasses six acres of pine flatwoods and features a half-mile equestrian trail, north of the Tradewinds Park Stables.

For further information about the Broward County Natural Area Prescribed Fire Program or to be added to our “day of fire” notification list, please contact the Natural Resources and Land Management Section of the Parks Planning and Development Group at 954-357-8154.

Advisory Board Notice

The public is invited to the next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Friday, March 1. The meeting will take place at Secret Woods Nature Center, 2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach 33312; 954-357-8884. More information is available here.

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 videoand see what could be waiting for you next time you visit.

Follow Us – On Twitter

Broward County Parks is 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) – Bike America (Quiet Waters Park) Butterfly World (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park & Target Range, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park & Target Range) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – 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 & Velodrome, Sunview Park, Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Observatory (Markham Park & Target Range) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park & Stables, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Target Range (Markham Park & Target Range) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) 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

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