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LEC plans nature hikes, programs

Posted On: March 12, 2019

Discover Volusia County’s native plants and wildlife during outdoor hikes and indoor programs at Lyonia Environmental Center (LEC), 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona.

The programs will begin in the center’s classroom except the Green Springs Park program on April 27. Reservations are required; call 386-789-7207, ext. #21028.

Programs are free unless otherwise noted.

April’s programs include:

Tiny trekkers: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6. Children ages 2 to 5 can take a short hike, make a take-home craft, and listen to the book “Gabby and Grandma Go Green.”

Gopher tortoise trek: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6. Gopher tortoises are considered a keystone species because their burrows provide shelter for hundreds of other animals. Without the gopher tortoise, many of these species might not exist. Help LEC staff celebrate these reptiles and the important role they play in the scrub ecosystem during a guided hike of Lyonia Preserve.

Solar prints: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 7. Learn about the cyanotope process, also known as photochemical blueprinting, which was developed in the 1800s by astronomer and scientist Sir John Frederick Herschel. Harness the power of the sun and use materials found in nature to create a unique sun print to take home.

Gopher tortoise critter corner: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10. All ages are invited to celebrate Florida Gopher Tortoise Day with LEC staff. One of the LEC’s animal care volunteers will share information about these important scrub reptiles and introduce you to the center’s reptile animal ambassadors.

Nature movie: 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 13. Watch “World’s Fastest Animal” and see the world through the eyes of nature’s fastest animal: the peregrine falcon. Though once endangered in the United States, this spectacular predator is thriving again in American cities and on every continent but Antarctica. In the film, expert falconer Lloyd Buck trains a captive peregrine and puts its hunting skills to the test.

Popcorn and a movie: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 14. Midway Atoll is one of the most remote places on Earth, yet it has become ground zero for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, syphoning plastics from three distant continents. In “Plastic Paradise,” journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun uncovers this mysterious phenomenon. Along the way she meets scientists, researchers and volunteers who shed light on the effects of our immense plastic consumption and learns the problem is much worse than we could have ever imagined. This film shows some disturbing scenes and is recommended for older audiences. Free popcorn will be served. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.

Jewels in the sand: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14. The ocean sometimes sculpts trash into something beautiful and deposits it on its shores for a lucky beachcomber to find. LEC staff will discuss sea glass – what it is, how it’s formed, and which colors are the rarest. Participants can use this ocean treasure to make an upcycled take-home craft and learn how to make an edible “sea glass” treat. Space is limited to 20 participants, and advance registration is required.

Earth Day critter corner: 2 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18. How can we help wildlife? What can we do to share our world with wildlife? Children ages 2 to 8 can join one of the LEC’s animal care volunteers to learn the answers to these questions.

Sensational serpents: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday April 20. Join LEC staff for an engaging classroom presentation featuring the center’s resident snakes. Topics will include life history, native vs. exotic and venomous vs. non-venomous.

Earth Day movie: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Bring the family to watch “Chasing Ice,” which follows photographer James Balog to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images that help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Balog’s beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Free popcorn will be served. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.

History of Green Springs Park: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27. Take a journey through time and water at Green Springs Park, 994 Enterprise-Osteen Road, Enterprise. LEC staff will describe the path of our drinking water and issues facing water quality today. The group will test the water for microplastics, then take a guided hike through the beautiful park. Meet by the large pavilion beside the park’s parking lot.

“Life in color” scavenger hunt: 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Learn about the significance of the color red in nature during this guided hike along Lyonia Preserve’s red trail. If you wear something red, your name will be entered into a prize drawing. Be prepared to hike 1.5 miles on unpaved, sugar sand trails.       

Milkweed for monarchs: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28. Learn about local butterflies and their host plants, then construct a butterfly rearing cage. Participants will bring home a starter milkweed plant and instructions for raising monarch butterflies at home. The fee is $10. Space is limited to 10 persons, and advance registration is required.  

Scrub strolls: 9 to 10 a.m. every Monday and Friday in April except April 19. Environmental specialists lead these exploratory hikes through Lyonia Preserve.

If you will be walking through Lyonia Preserve, wear closed-toe shoes, bring water, and be prepared to hike on sugar-sand trails.

Lyonia Environmental Center offers insights into Volusia County’s fragile ecosystems through hands-on displays and educational programs. It’s part of the Deltona Regional Library complex at 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona. 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.