Learn about Volusia County’s conservation lands and land management practices during free Explore Volusia programs in December. Environmental specialists will lead a variety of outdoor adventures and volunteer and learn programs.
Registration is required; call (386) 736-5927.
Upcoming events include:
Longleaf eco-buggy ride: 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2. Take a ride through the uplands of Longleaf Pine Preserve as you learn about the importance of the Florida scrub habitat and a keystone species, the gopher tortoise. The group will travel from scrub to wet flatwoods and compare the biodiversity during the transition. Meet near 4201 Pioneer Trail, New Smyrna Beach. The address will take you about a quarter mile east of the meeting location. Signs will mark the way.
Bat house installation: 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5. Install new bat houses during this volunteer and learn program at Hickory Bluff Preserve. Volunteers will learn the truth about many of the myths surrounding bats. Meet at Hickory Bluff Preserve, 598 Guise Road, Osteen.
Storm drain marking: 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9. Mark storm drains with “no dumping” signs and learn about nonpoint source pollution and water quality issues during this volunteer and learn program. Afterward, volunteers can help local waterways by informing friends and neighbors that storm drains flow directly to local waterways. This event will take place in DeLand; the location will be announced.
Explore Volusia challenge: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13. A guide will share details about the monthly challenge and help you navigate the iNaturalist app. Meet at Deep Creek Preserve, 964 S SR 415, New Smyrna Beach.
Sand pine removal: 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14. Help remove sand pine trees from the scrub habitat in an area that is not generally open to the public during this volunteer and learn program. Volunteers will learn about the dynamics of scrub habitat and participate in removing sand pine trees. They can also take home a “Charlie Brown” tree for the holidays. Meet at the Providence Road entrance to Lyonia Preserve in Deltona. Directions will be provided upon registration.
Frisbee golf and learn: 9 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15. Learn about local flora and fauna while enjoying an introduction to Frisbee golf. Bring a Frisbee and meet at Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve, 2317 Creek Shore Trail, New Smyrna Beach.
Palm Bluff bike-about: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Explore distinct natural plant communities during this ride through St. Johns River Water Management District’s Palm Bluff Conservation Area. With the wide variety of habitats, this is a great place for birding. Visitors may see a variety of species, including bluebirds, brown-headed nuthatch, turkeys, wading birds and raptors. Meet in Samsula in the parking area east of County Road 415, about 9.5 miles south of State Road 44 and 1.9 miles north of Howland Boulevard.
Indian River Lagoon paddle: 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20. Explore the northern end of the Indian River Lagoon while paddling from Riverbreeze Park to surrounding areas. Participants may see manatees, dolphins and many species of birds. Bring a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard along with a life preserver and whistle. Meet 250 H.H. Burch Road, Oak Hill.
Holiday beach cleanup: 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. Learn about the gifts we get from the ocean and some simple things we can do to give back to the ocean during this volunteer and learn adventure. Volunteers will clean up the beach and learn other ways we can help this ecosystem. Meet at Dahlia Avenue Beach Park, 3625 S. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach Shores.
Bike for whales: 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 22. Take a five-mile, leisurely ride from Esther Park to Ponce de Leon Inlet and back. Participants will search the nearshore area for the endangered right whale. While the group may not see one of these magnificent creatures due to their limited population, participants will learn about their feeding, migrations and general biology. Wear a helmet and bring your own bicycle. Large-tired bikes are recommended. Meet at 551 Esther St., New Smyrna Beach.
Participants should bring water and insect repellent and wear comfortable clothes and hiking or walking shoes.