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. Wednesday, Dec. 8. Learn about the importance of the scrub habitat and a keystone species, the gopher tortoise, during this ride through the uplands of Longleaf Pine Preserve. Participants will ride from scrub to wet flatwoods and compare the biodiversity during the transition. Meet near 4201 Pioneer Trail, New Smyrna Beach.
Frisbee golf and learn: 9 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. Bring your Frisbees and hiking shoes for this fun way to get to know the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve. Participants will learn about the local flora and fauna while enjoying an introduction to Frisbee golf. Meet at 2317 Creek Shore Trail, New Smyrna Beach.
Volunteer and learn – Native Florida plants: 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 13. Learn about gardening principles for native Florida plants as you walk through the grounds of the Stetson Aquatic Center. The group will put in some volunteer time by weeding, planting and mulching the gardens. Meet at 2636 Alhambra Ave., DeLand.
Volunteer and learn – Storm drain marking: 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15. Visit neighborhoods in northeast Volusia County to learn about the impacts of stormwater, fertilizer and other contaminants on local waterways. The group will put in some volunteer time by marking storm drains with “no dumping” curb markers. Meet at Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park, 1800 N. Ocean Shore Blvd., Ormond Beach.
Palm Bluff hike: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16. Explore natural plant communities as you hike through the Palm Bluff Conservation Area. With the wide variety of habitats, this is a great place to go birding. Visitors may see a variety of species, including bluebirds, brown-headed nuthatch, turkeys, wading birds and raptors. Meet in Samsula at the parking area on the east side of County Road 415, 9.5 miles south of State Road 44 and 1.9 miles north of Howland Boulevard.
Bike for whales: 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 17. Take a leisurely, five-mile ride from Esther Park to Ponce de Leon Inlet and back. Participants will search the nearshore area for the endangered right whale and learn about the majestic animal’s feeding, migrations and general biology. Staff will also discuss other marine mammals. Bring a helmet and bicycle, preferably with large tires. Meet at Esther Street Park, 551 Esther St., New Smyrna Beach.
Longleaf bike-about: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. Learn about the plants and animals of the wetlands during this leisurely ride through Longleaf Pine Preserve’s flatwoods, cypress domes and swamps. Bring a bicycle and helmet and meet at the east entrance, 4551 Pioneer Trail, New Smyrna Beach.
Volunteer and learn – Beach clean-up: 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20. Learn about the gifts we get from the ocean and some simple things we can do to give back to the ocean. The group will remove plastics and other debris from the beach as a first step to giving back. Meet at 2705 S. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach.
Halifax River paddle: 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21. Explore the waters of the mighty Halifax River during this leisurely paddling trip. Leaving from the north side of the Dunlawton Bridge, participants may encounter marine mammals and other wildlife. Bring a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, along with a life preserver and whistle. Meet at 93 Dunlawton Ave., Port Orange.
Participants should bring water and insect repellent. They should wear comfortable clothes and hiking or walking shoes.