Learning comes “naturally” at the Lyonia Environmental Center, which is planning 31 hikes and educational programs in January.
Upcoming programs include:
- Scrub strolls: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Monday and Friday. Environmental specialists will lead free hikes through Lyonia Preserve. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes, bring water, and be prepared to hike on unpaved sugar-sand trails.
- Tiny trekkers – Space exploration: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4. Children ages 2 to 5 can read a book about space, take a short hike, and make a craft to take home.
- Clean green in the New Year: 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5. Learn how to save money and the planet with some tried-and-true homemade cleaning products.
- New year, new you hike: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. LEC staff will lead a hike through Lyonia Preserve, home to the Florida scrub jay.
- A comet’s tale: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. Seth Mayo, curator of astronomy at the Museum of Arts & Sciences, will take participants on a classroom exploration of the fascinating nature of comets. He’ll also comment on the comet ISON, which was destroyed by a close encounter with the sun in late November.
- Extraordinary exotics: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12. LEC staff will explain what to consider when purchasing exotic pets. Following the discussion, participants will meet the center’s bearded dragon and African pygmy hedgehog.
- Discover the night sky: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. Join Ed Williams for a classroom presentation on astronomy, followed by the unveiling of LEC’s new Dobsonian telescope. Participants will take it outside and look for the Orion constellation, Orion nebula, Pleiades, Jupiter and the moon.
- Swallow-tailed kites: 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17. Ken Meyer, founder and director of the Avian Research and Conservation Institute, will discuss how his organization protects swallow-tailed kites by studying their ecology and behavior.
- Manatees: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. LEC staff will explain the importance of these majestic creatures, where they live, what they eat, and why we should protect them.
- Look who’s caching now: 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18. In this classroom exploration, LEC staff will explain how scrub jays cache their acorns for the winter. The program will include a prize drawing.
- Owl pellets: 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Learn about owls’ anatomy, diet and lifespan as you dissect an owl pellet. Participants will meet a live owl. The fee is $5 per person.
- Ocala National Forest: 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23. Florida Master Naturalist Roger Fulton will share photos and stories of the 110 miles of trails he hiked in the 363,000-acre forest.
- Sinkhole exploration hike: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. Examine the geology that surrounds the sinkholes in Lyonia Preserve during this guided hike. Bring water and wear closed-toe shoes.
- Invasive animal species: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. Learn how non-native animals affect our native animal populations during this classroom adventure, then meet the center’s resident hedgehog and bearded dragon.
- Beat the winter blues hike: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26. Take a guided hike of Lyonia Preserve’s “blue” trail and learn about scrub animals. Bring water, wear closed-toe shoes, and be prepared to hike on sugar sand trails for about three miles.
All of January’s programs are free with the exception of the Jan. 19 owl pellet workshop. Reservations are requested and may be made by calling 386-789-7207, ext. 21028.
Lyonia Environmental Center offers a unique insight into Volusia County’s fragile ecosystems through hands-on displays and computer-based learning modules. It’spart of the Deltona Regional Library complex at 2150 Eustace Ave. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
Learn what’s happening at the LEC at www.lyoniapreserve.com.