Kick Off the New Year with a Walk in the Woods

St. Lucie County

St. Lucie County

Kick start your New Year by reconnecting with nature as St. Lucie County’s Environmental Resources Department continues its weekly educational nature series with nearly a dozen different events to choose from.

These free programs give participants an opportunity to explore some of the 42 miles of hiking trails that are located throughout the county’s nearly 11,000 acres of Environmentally Significant Lands.

The January Nature Series includes:

  • Friday, Jan. 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – New Year’s Family Hike at 10-Mile Creek Preserve, 3401 Gordy Road, Fort Pierce. Join a local naturalist for a fun New Year’s Day Tradition – the family hike.  A wonderful way to ring in the new year by enjoying the fine Florida weather and time with family and neighbors in the community – people and wildlife. Appropriate for all ages.
  • Saturday, Jan. 2 from 10 a.m. to noon – Upland by the Lagoon Hike at DJ Wilcox Preserve, 300 Michigan St., Fort Pierce. Explore this unique intracoastal habitat with mighty pines, scrub oaks, and wildflowers. We’ll be watching for our resident winter migrant birds, enjoying blooming upland wildflowers and looking for anoles sunning on trees.
  • Sunday, Jan. 3 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Pristine Pinelands Day Hike, 7601 VPI Grove Road, Port St. Lucie. Bring your lunch and plenty of water for this half-day hike as we journey deep into the pristine forest of Pinelands Preserve. This is a flourishing ecosystem with a variety of wildlife; we’re likely to see everything from white-tailed deer to American Bald Eagles, alligators, and butterflies. Bring binoculars and discover the wilds of Pinelands Preserve.
  • Monday, Jan. 4 from 10 a.m. to noon – Geocache Treasure Hunt at St. Lucie Village Heritage Park, 305 Torpey Road, Fort Pierce. Do your kids dream of treasure hunting? Are you a big kid at heart? Join us and learn about present day treasure hunting using GPS units – geocaching! It’s a great outside activity for the whole family with an opportunity to combine technology with nature. Appropriate for all ages; however, minors must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Sunday, Jan. 10 from 9 to 10 a.m. – Serenity in the Scrub Hike at Indrio Scrub Preserve, 4100 Old Dixie Highway, Fort Pierce. Take a tour through one of Florida’s most imperiled ecosystems – nestled within the city of Fort Pierce. Learn about the significance of scrub to Florida’s wildlife and the endemic species that call it home. Be sure to bring water and wear your hiking shoes as we explore the treasures of this hidden gem.
  • Saturday, Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon – Leave No Trace Hiking at Richard E. Becker Preserve, 3398 Selvitz Road, Fort Pierce. Enjoy this educational hike with valuable information to help residents more responsibly interact with conservation green spaces. Unknowingly, the combined activities of outdoor recreationists can negatively impact protected lands if proper etiquette is not observed.  Learn about the principals of Leave No Trace, something which all nature enthusiasts should know and pass on to our future land stewards.
  • Sunday, Jan. 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Moonlight Paddle at White City Park, 2081 W. Midway Road, Fort Pierce. Enjoy a scenic paddle down the north fork of one of America’s most biodiverse rivers, the St. Lucie River, and travel back in time to Old Florida as we explore green riverbanks, birds, insects and listen for night sounds. Enjoy the sunset and the moonrise as we watch for wildlife to emerge at dusk. Kayaks, US Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices, and paddles provided (you may also provide your own equipment if desired).
  • Monday, Jan. 18 from noon to 1:30 p.m. – Precious Pollinators Hike at Steven J. Fousek Natural Area, 8551 Carlton Road, Port St. Lucie. Immerse yourself into the world of the most beloved pollinator, the butterfly. As we hike through the shady tropical hammocks of Paleo Hammock Preserve, we’ll see butterflies, which are not only beautiful, but have one of the most important jobs in Florida’s ecosystem.  Zebra Longwing butterflies, Long-tailed skippers and many other pollinator species await your visit.
  • Sunday, Jan. 24 and Saturday, Jan. 30 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. – Introduction to Paddle Boarding at George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce. New to Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)? Then this beginner SUP class is for you. Paddle Boarding has become of one of the most popular ways to explore the local waterways and is a great way to get a workout. During this short class, participants will learn all about this sport’s equipment, different beginner paddle strokes, paddleboard safety, and how to safely get on and off the board.  This introductory class or previous paddleboard experience will be a requirement for future St. Lucie County guided paddleboard tours. Paddleboards with ankle leash, paddle, and personal floatation device will be provided to participants at no charge. Reservations are a must, as space is limited.
  • Sunday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to noon – Return to the Wild at Steven J. Fousek Natural Area, 8551 Carlton Road, Port St. Lucie. A transformation from habitat, to ranch and groves, and back to habitat again is a major feature of this preserve.  Explore native plants and animals, as well as remnant agricultural plants, while we look for butterflies, birds, and evidence of resident mammals.

These educational programs are free, but space is limited, so registration is required. For more information and to register, contact the Environmental Resources Department at 772-462-2525 or visit

These hikes are geared toward ages 12 and older, unless otherwise noted. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. Proper footwear and water are required for all programs. Please leave pets at home.

Purchased through a voter-approved bond referendum, St. Lucie County manages more than two dozen preserves that are open to the public for passive recreation. For a list of all St. Lucie County parks and preserves visit the interactive map at




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