Trek for CHEC
Runners and walkers are invited to the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center’s (CHEC) second annual Trek for CHEC event on Saturday, January 23. This event will feature competitive trail runs and fun walks for people of all ages on the nature trails at Alligator Creek Preserve, 10941 Burnt Store Road, in Punta Gorda. There will be a fabulous door prize, raffles, and more! Social distancing & safety protocols will be in place. CHEC’s mission is to build awareness and encourage conservation of this area’s rich natural resources while protecting the environment. Proceeds will help further environmental educational programs for children and adults. For more information, visit www.checflorida.org and click on the “Trek for CHEC” tab.
Auction to benefit LBC
Lemon Bay Conservancy’s (LBC) first event of the new year will be an on-line auction to be held January 25 - January 31. It will feature local kayak and fishing trips, wildlife art, handcrafted jewelry, wines and spirits, and some great post-pandemic travel packages! Go to www.lemonbayconservancy.org for a sneak peek at the fun items and more information on how to register to bid. All proceeds will go to LBC’s on-going environmental preservation, education, and advocacy programs.
UF/IFAS Extension Classes
If you are interested in gardening or the world of nature, you can find interesting and educational webinars offered at no charge by UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County. Learn about Florida snakes: the many benefits they provide and learn to ID common and venomous snakes on Monday, January 25, 9 to 11am. The “Edible Gardening” series continues with “Starting Seedlings” also on Monday, January 25, noon to 12:30pm. Upcoming in this series are “Growing in Your Lanai” on Monday, February 1, noon to 12:30pm and “Tomatoes 101” on Monday, February 8, noon to 12:30pm. “Understanding Your Soil” will provide information about Florida soil conditions, including growing advice on Wednesday, January 27, 1 to 3pm. “Weeds! Why They Just Won’t Go Away” will be of interest to anyone with a yard or garden on Wednesday, February 3, 2pm. “Cool Plants to Attract Butterflies and Pollinators” is offered on Monday, February 8, 1pm. Register for these free classes through ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com. You can also find a complete listing of classes on the site. For more information, call 861•5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mangrove Chapter Nature Walks
The Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society has scheduled socially distanced, masked walks for members and the general public to learn more about the native ecosystems in Florida. To see the schedule for these free field trips, visit mangrove.fnpschapters.org/events/calendar. You can also learn more about the Florida Native Plant Society and its mission to promote the preservation, conservation and restoration of native plants and native plant communities.
Master Gardener Program
Do you love gardening and would like to learn more about gardening in Florida and then share that knowledge with others? Charlotte County is now accepting applications for its next master gardener volunteer training class, which is scheduled to begin in March. Master gardeners are trained volunteers who assist consumer horticultural agents by answering horticultural questions over the phone, in person or through educational programs. Due to COVID, the class will be 100% virtually taught (until a time when it is safe to transition back to in-person.) To learn more about the program, visit sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/charlotte/master-gardener or call 764•4352. To apply, click on the “Sprouting Kit” to learn more about the role and responsibilities of a master gardener volunteer and complete the application program.
Centennial Fishing Derby
Charlotte County Community Services will be hosting the Centennial Fishing Derby through Sunday, January 31. This is a free “catch, photo and release” derby open to all ages. Fish any legal Charlotte County waters in this multi-species fresh and saltwater tournament. Qualifying fish are not required to be brought to a weigh station, but photo entries must have the official centennial derby measuring stick in them. Pick up your official centennial derby measuring stick at any Charlotte County recreation center or library. Prizes are awarded based on division and species. For the official rules, visit www.CharlotteCounty100.com.
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center and the Charlotte County Natural Resource Department will be conducting the following free programs to the public. All programs can be found at www.ChecFlorida.org. Advance registration is required for all walks and all participants are required to wear face masks. All walks begin at 9am. On these casual walks with CHEC volunteers, you will search and learn about plants, animals, fungi, and more that live in Charlotte County preserves. Prepare for each walk with plenty of water, insect repellent, sunscreen, and clothing that will protect you from insects and plants. For more information or to register, call at 575•5435.
Friday, January 22, 9am - Join CHEC on a guided walk through 308-acre Tippecanoe Environmental Park, 2400 El Jobean Road. This Charlotte County park includes habitats such as scrub, pine flatwoods, marsh, and wetlands. Meet behind the Charlotte County Sports Park. Register at 575•5435. Masks required.
Tuesday, January 26, 9am - Join CHEC on a guided walk through the old-growth pine flatwoods and mangrove fringe of 125-acre Ann Dever Regional Park, 6961 San Casa Drive. Meet at the San Casa entrance. Register at 575•5435. Mask required.
Seagrass Wading Trips
Friday, January 29 and Wednesday, February 17, 10am to noon - Join CHEC for a wading adventure through the seagrass beds of Lemon Bay! All participants will be guided approximately a half-mile to the wading site, where they will collect and view creatures of the bay. Participants will need to wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that may get wet during the trip. Participants are also encouraged to wear sun protection and insect repellent and to bring plenty of drinking water. Advance registration is required. Call 575•5435 for more information or to register. Meet in the Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road, in the parking lot near the restrooms at 10am. Mask required.
Tuesday, January 29, 9am - Join CHEC on a guided walk through Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Park, a 487-acre Charlotte County property of mature pines, dry prairie, marsh wetlands, and freshwater ponds. Its location adjourning state lands make it an important wildlife corridor. Meet at the parking lot on US 41, (15801 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda.) Register at 575•5435.
Note: February guided walks were not yet available as of press deadline.
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