Explore the untamed habitat of Lyonia Preserve during free guided hikes and indoor programs led by the staff of Lyonia Environmental Center (LEC).
The 360-acre preserve adjacent to the LEC and Deltona Regional Library is home to a variety of wildlife, including Florida scrub jays and gopher tortoises, which are drawn to the low vegetation and sandy ridges of the scrub habitat.
December’s outdoor programs include:
Tiny trekkers: 10 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Children ages 2 to 5 can take a short hike, make a take-home craft, and listen to the book “Snowy Nap.”
Poinsettias 101: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4. Introduced to the United States in the 1800s, the poinsettia has become known as the Christmas flower and is used in many decorations this time of year. Learn more about this iconic holiday plant as staff discusses species varieties, their popularity throughout history, and how to care for your plant once the season is over. Participants can enter a drawing to win a live poinsettia plant. This program will be offered virtually and in the LEC classroom.
Winter by the wetland hike: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5. Look for signs of winter during this group hike into Lyonia Preserve’s large ephemeral wetland. You’ll hear about the plant and animal species that depend on this intermittent body of water. Bring water and wear long pants and closed toe shoes that may get wet.
Greening your holiday: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5. LEC staff will share some tips to become an earth friendly shopper and have a “green” holiday during this in-person and online presentation. Each participant will receive a free Lyonia reusable bag. One person will receive an earth friendly gift bag filled with goodies
Eco-buggy tour of Lyonia Preserve: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. Climb aboard as LEC and Explore Volusia staff lead an eco-buggy ride through Lyonia Preserve. The group will explore scrub habitat and learn about this unique ecosystem. Bring water and keep an eye out for scrub jays, gopher tortoises and other wildlife. There is a limit of 15 participants.
Homemade for the holidays: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. LEC staff and volunteers will guide you through the steps and techniques to reuse, recycle and add a personal touch to the gifts you give. Participants will make several unique take-home gift tags and other upcycled treasures. This program will be offered in the LEC classroom.
Winter bird-watching walk: 10 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. Lyonia Preserve offers a great opportunity to observe a variety of birds while enjoying the winter weather. Join this guided hike and look for migrating feathered friends. Bring water and binoculars and be prepared to hike on unpaved sugar sand trails.
Mystical mistletoe: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. Did you know that many ancient cultures valued mistletoe for its healing properties? Join staff online or in person to learn more about this treasured plant and its uses throughout history.
Delightful deer: 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15. Did you know that white-tailed deer can jump almost the length of a school bus? Have you often wondered how fast they can run? LEC staff will answer these questions and share more fun facts about deer during this program, which is recommended for families and children ages 7-12. The program will be presented in the LEC classroom.
Wind-down winter hike: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. Do the hustle and bustle of the holiday season have you stressed out? Take time to de-stress and join LEC staff and volunteers for a nature hike through Lyonia Preserve. Bring water and be prepared to hike on sugar sand trails.
Nature detectives: 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. If your child is curious about animals and the natural world, join LEC staff for an investigation into scrub animals’ fur, scales, skin, tracks and scat. After the presentation, the group will take a short walk to look for signs of wildlife in Lyonia Preserve. This outdoor program is recommended for children ages 5-10, but all ages are welcome. Be prepared to hike on sugar sand trails.
“I spy red” hike: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 19. Learn about the plant and animal species that call scrub habitat home during this hike along the trails of Lyonia Preserve. Keep a keen eye out and see how many red items you can find. Wear closed toe shoes, bring water, and be prepared to hike on unpaved sugar sand trails.
Gift the birds: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19. ’Tis the season for giving, so why not give a gift to our feathered friends? Staff will discuss the do’s and don’ts of making a treat tree and guide participants in making a hanging bird treat. Learn how you can participate in citizen science activities to help birds. This program will be offered online and in the LEC classroom.
Scrub strolls: 9 to 10 a.m. every Monday in December. Volunteers will lead these exploratory hikes through Lyonia Preserve.
Participants should wear closed toe shoes, bring water and be prepared to hike on unpaved sugar sand trails. They are aske to practice social distancing during the outdoor programs.
Registration is required; call 386-789-7207, ext. #21028. Learn about other upcoming events at lyoniapreserve.com.