The Lemon Bay Conservancy open house from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at Wildflower Preserve will showcase improvements made to the 80-acre former golf course and offer guided tours.
Wildflower Preserve is located on the Cape Haze peninsula at the southeast corner of the Gasparilla Pines Boulevard and Placida Road intersection. The parking lot address is 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood.
Guided tarpon walks will be offered at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to observe work under way on the juvenile tarpon research project in Lemon Creek. The project is a joint initiative with Mote Marine and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust to study juvenile tarpon populations in the creek and their evolution in moving to open waters.
Mote researchers will reveal at the Lemon Bay Conservancy open house how they are unlocking the secrets to how the mighty tarpon grow.
Lemon Bay Conservancy directors will offer 15-minute presentations about the history of the preserve, initiatives and plans for the future on the half-hour from 8:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m.
Trail guides will lead nature walks on the hour from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the new trail network and the varied habitats within the preserve. Visitors should wear shoes and clothing appropriate for a nature hike, including hats and water.
Jane Wallace will lead a special "Butterfly Explorers" walk at 10:45 a.m. The new butterfly habitat, bird observation area, floating islands project area and trail network will be open throughout the event.
What: Lemon Bay Conservancy open house
When: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 23
Where: 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood
Why: Tarpon, butterflies, floating islands and more!
Contact: lemonbayconservancy.org or call (941) 830-8922
Thoroughbred Golf Carts will provide two golf carts for special tours. Space is limited. Sign up for a tour time at the LBC information table upon arrival.
The Men's Garden Club of Englewood, the Sierra Club, the Coastal Wildlife Club and the Florida Native Plant Society will have informational booths. The Boy Scouts will offer food and drinks for purchase.
OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE
Sign in at the Lemon Bay Conservancy booth and pick up a trail map. All walks, talks and tours begin at the benches in the meeting meadow.
8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. - Juvenile Tarpon Research walk led by Chuck Idelberger to Lemon Creek to observe Mote Marine researchers as they net and tag juvenile tarpon to study their movements and life cycles.
8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. - "Introduction to Wildflower Preserve," 15-minute presentations by Lemon Bay Conservancy directors on the history of Wildflower Preserve, projects and long-term plans.
9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. - One- to two-hour guided nature walks on the Wildflower trails.
10:45 am - Butterfly Explorers walk with Jane Wallace identifying butterfly species along the trails.
9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. - Guided golf cart tours for visitors with difficulty walking the trails. Reservations required.
Bird observation area, with feeders and bird blinds, and butterfly habitat east of the parking lot, will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. - See floating islands being used at Duckweed Pond to improve water quality and provide resting areas for wildlife.
8 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Pick a trail map and explore new trail network after registering at the LBC booth before heading out.