County plans Explore Volusia programs

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Learn about Volusia County’s conservation lands and land management practices during free Explore Volusia programs in March.

With social distancing in mind, each program will be limited to eight persons. Participants must register at least 48 hours before the program by calling 386-736-5927. Only registrants will be allowed to participate.

Environmental specialists will lead the following outdoor adventures.

Longleaf lunch and learn: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 3. Pack a lunch and ride Volusia County’s eco-buggy through Longleaf Pine Preserve, where you can enjoy natural Florida scenery while learning about the importance of the lands. The eco-buggy will stop at the pavilion where you can eat lunch and learn about the problems associated with micro-plastics and marine debris. Meet at the preserve’s west entrance, 3637 E. New York Ave. DeLand. Participants will need to walk one-tenth of a mile to load onto the eco-buggy; if you are not able to make the walk, mention this at registration so other arrangements can be made.

Spruce Creek hike: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 6. Learn about the importance of estuaries while hiking through Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Park. Participants will try their hand at seine netting and learn how to identify fish, birds and plants. Meet at 3251 N. Dixie Highway, New Smyrna Beach.

Tiger Bay eco-buggy ride: 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 10. Join staff from DeBary Hall and Environmental Management on this ecobuggy ride into the past. Participants will learn about local flora and fauna, along with the area’s rich history, while exploring Tiger Bay State Forest and Old Daytona Road. Meet at 4316 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach.

Blue Spring paddle: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11. Explore the waters near Blue Spring State Park while learning about local wildlife and the area’s history. During this seven-mile paddle, participants will paddle through history by taking old logging canals back through Snake Creek. Bring a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard, along with a life preserver and whistle. Meet at the end of West French Avenue, about one mile past the park entrance.

Longleaf hike: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 12. Take a walk through Longleaf Pine Preserve’s flatwoods, cypress domes and swamps as you learn about the connections between soils and the plant and animal communities of the wetlands. Meet at the preserve’s west entrance, 3637 E. New York Ave, DeLand.

Bike-about Lake Beresford: 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 18. Ride the Lake Beresford Park Trail and a segment of the Spring-to-Spring Trail. Participants will learn about the local environment and the importance of protecting the water quality of local springs. The emphasis will be on the connectivity of local water bodies. Wear a helmet and bring a bicycle. Meet at Beresford Park, 2100 Fatio Road, DeLand.

Bike-about Longleaf: 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 20. Learn about the plants and animals of the wetlands during this leisurely ride through Longleaf Pine Preserve’s flatwoods, cypress domes and swamps. Wear a helmet and bring a bicycle. Meet at the preserve’s east entrance, 4551 Pioneer Trail, New Smyrna Beach.

Menard May Park paddle:9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 24. Take a short paddle across the channel from Menard May Park to explore the local islands. Participants will be seine netting and hiking to discover the wonders of the estuary. Bring a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard, along with a life preserver and whistle. Meet at 413 S. Riverside Drive, Edgewater.

Wiregrass eco-buggy ride: 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 25. Take a ride through the 1,400-acre Wiregrass Prairie Preserve, which is situated almost entirely in the St. Johns River Valley. Explore upland and wetland natural communities that include wet flatwoods, cypress domes and wet prairies. Learn about land management practices while riding through the diverse ecotones of the land. Meet at 1751 Lopez Road, Osteen. Do not use a GPS to get to the location.

Participants should bring water and insect repellent. They should wear comfortable clothes and hiking or walking shoes.

Explore Volusia staff has established public program procedures based on current guidelines. These procedures are subject to change based on guidance at the local, state and federal levels. Contact staff for more information by calling 386-736-5927.

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