LEESBURG — Lake County Parks & Trails is kicking off the New Year with events this Saturday centered on educating residents about Lake County’s unique natural resources.
On Saturday, Jan. 9 from 7:30 – 11 a.m., Recreation Coordinator for Trails Gallus Quigley will lead a Quarterly Bird & Butterfly Survey at Palatlakaha Environmental and Agricultural Reserve (PEAR) Park’s Wildlife Conservation Area, 4800 University Ave, Leesburg.
Parks & Trails is hosting quarterly bird and butterfly surveys in five different parks and preserves throughout 2016, and volunteers are needed to assist in surveying the bird and butterfly populations to help with management of the properties. To participate, knowledge of common species is a plus, but not required. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, field guides, water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat and hiking shoes.
An open house will also be held on Saturday, Jan. 9 at PEAR Park’s Nature Center between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Gene Bouley, a retired science teacher and geology expert, will offer a hands-on mini-course on identifying minerals from 10 a.m. – noon, for children ages 10 years and older and who are accompanied by an adult.
Visitors to PEAR Park are also encouraged to stop by the new Wildlife Watch Post, a 320-square-foot bird-watching and wildlife viewing blind at the Wildlife Conservation Area. The Wildlife Watch Post is a premier location for birders, native plant and wildflower enthusiasts and nature photographers. To date, 172 species of bird, including Little Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Mottled Ducks, Osprey and even the occasional Bald Eagle, along with 50 species of butterflies, have been spotted at the park.
To make a reservation for any of these free Parks & Trails events, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/parks/event_reservations.aspx. For more information about the Lake County Parks & Trails Division, call 352-253-4950, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/parks. For updates on the county’s Parks & Trails Program, like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFLParks.