Brooker Creek Preserve
Brooker Creek Preserve’s popular Saturday hikes continue through December. On Dec. 1, 15 and 29 volunteer guides lead groups to see how the land has changed over time and the ecological footprints left by those changes. Closed-toe shoes, water and hat are recommended on this 90-minute, 0.75 mile walk beginning at 9 a.m. On Saturday, Dec. 22, trained volunteer guides will conduct a special, extended 2.8- to 4-mile walk from 9 to 11:30 a.m. All ages are welcome on these hikes. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult; those younger than 10 may find these hikes challenging.
A special 90-minute hike to identify birds common to Brooker Creek Preserve will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8 starting at 8 a.m. A leisure stroll along a one-mile trail to gather information on the birds heard and seen is a must for all bird lovers. Binoculars will be helpful. Bring water.
On Thursdays in December, the ever-popular book time for tots ages 3 to 5 continues. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., for 45-minutes, they have the opportunity to connect to the wonders of the natural world through stories and crafts, games or other hands-on activities. The book featured on Thursday, Dec. 6, is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. On Thursday, Dec. 13, Where Would I Be In An Evergreen Tree? by Jennifer Blomgren will be read to the children. The books on the following two Thursdays, Dec. 20, Forest Bright/Forest Night by Jennifer Ward and, Dec. 27, River Otters by Hope Irvin Marston round out the month.
For adult readers, the Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve host a Brooker Book Club meeting on the first Saturday of each month from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Selected book lists include novels by Florida authors, past and present, with archaeology, biography, politics and history storylines. The book selected to be discussed on Dec. 1 is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston. As seating is limited, advance registration is suggested.
Also on Saturday, Dec. 1, artists and storytellers, Hermann Trappman and Elizabeth Neily present Living in Paradise – Looking for the Ancient People of Florida’s Central Gulf Coast. These people, native to the Americas, were forever changed at the moment of contact with the European invaders more than 500 years ago. Who were the people living on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida and how did they see this new world? Get to know these first people of Florida, their environmental history and the archaeological evidence they left in this 90-minute program beginning t 10:30 a.m.
Interested in how to attract birds to your garden using Florida native plants? What birds can you expect in your Florida garden? How do you identify them? Join Lynn Sumerson on Saturday,Dec. 8, at 10:30 a.m. and learn why birds are attracted to gardens.
Birds of Prey, their adaptations for success and their roles in the ecosystem are the subjects of this one-hour presentation on Saturday, Dec. 15, beginning at 1 p.m. Several live birds of prey will be used to illustrate aspects of predator-prey relationships, adaptations that ensure their success as predators and their role in maintaining healthy, balanced ecosystems. The basic natural history of each species will also be discussed, along with the impact of humans on their habitats and populations.
The ongoing exhibit, Windows to Our Wildest Place, continues every Thursday through Saturday during regular center hours at Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center. These hands-on, educational exhibits help visitors understand how natural Florida has changed over time and the ecological footprints left by those changes.
Brooker Creek Preserve protects more than 8,700 acres of natural ecosystems and is located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. The preserve, the horse trails and the Friends Trail are open daily and holidays.
The Environmental Education Center in the preserve features interactive exhibits and 22 discovery-oriented experiences that are fun for the entire family. The Center is operated by the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department and is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed Sunday through Wednesday and all Pinellas County holidays.