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Weedon Island celebrates Florida Archaeology Month | Events

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Weedon Island celebrates Florida Archaeology Month
Weedon Island celebrates Florida Archaeology Month

March is designated as Florida Archeology Month and special programs are planned statewide to recognize the importance archeology plays in sharing information with the public about the diverse history and prehistory in the state. 

At Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, demonstrations and archaeological activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Get on the road to discovery with the Florida Public Archeology Network Archeo -Cart, an educational tool to teach the principles of archeology to students and adults.

Enjoy the Center's exhibit gallery, Connecting People and Place, depicting prehistoric, historic and present life on Tampa Bay. Try your skills at pottery making and atlatl throwing. Learn about recent excavations and what archaeologists have discovered about the early people who once resided on our shores.

Special tours to an on-site archaeological excavation will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. At 1 p.m., a presentation, Ancient Moundbuilders of Tampa Bay by Dr. Robert Austin, Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, will be held in the auditorium. 

Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy under our shady oaks and discover hidden secrets along our interpretive trail. All events are free and open to the public. Please register for the Special Tours on line at www.weedonislandpreserve.org or call (727) 453-6500 for more information. 

Discovery Reef

Throughout the month of March, Weedon Island will host the Mote Marine Traveling Interactive Exhibit, Discovery Reef, to promote understanding of Florida’s coastal and marine environments. Each Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors will discover amazing life forms, survival strategies and relationships on coral reefs, and the crucial role of coral reefs in the ocean food web.

Just for the tots

Children ages 3 to 5 can enjoy the popular Wee-Time at Weedon on two Thursdays in March from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. On March 8, they will hear The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle and March 22 they’ll hear Busy Buzzers: Bees in Your Backyard by Nancy Lowen. After each story they will have the opportunity to participate in a craft, game or other hands-on activity. 

Special alert

During this second in the 2012 winter/spring marine science speaker series, James Locascio, Ph.D., currently a post-doctoral scholar at Mote Marine Laboratory, presents Underwater Soundscapes of Coastal Florida. This 6:45 to 8 p.m. event, held at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center on Thursday, March 2, highlights characteristics making this group of Mollusca unique while discussing current research being conducted by scientists around the world. 

March on for hikes

On Saturday, March 3, the 90-minute hike past remnants of the Grand Central Airport, give visitors the opportunity to learn about the early native peoples of Weedon Island and the colorful past of the 1920s. Beginning at 9 a.m., history will come alive for adults and children age 6 and older. 

The Friday, March 9 Bird Quest hike is specifically designed for participants to learn how to identify marks and behaviors of the preserve’s birds. Beginning at 8 a.m., this two-hour hike is recommended for adults. Be sure to bring along binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras. 

Guides will be available Saturday, March 10, 17, 24 and 31, at 9 a.m. for a two-hour hike. A guide   assists visitors in navigating the preserve while learning about the ecosystems and the early residents of Weedon Island. Hikers will explore coastal uplands along the boardwalks through mangrove forests. These hikes are best for ages 6 and older. 

On Saturday, March 24, adult photographers are invited to a two-hour early morning hike to hone their photo skills. After a brief classroom session beginning at 8 a.m., guides will assist the group in capturing the natural beauty of the preserve in photos. 

Classroom to nature

Feathers of Florida, past, present and future presents the Plume Trade to Future Trends, during a two-hour session beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 10. During this final of a three-part Birds of Weedon Island series, a Sensing Nature biologist will explain how county residents make a difference that affects generations to come and how Florida’s coastal birds have shaped Pinellas County’s conservation successes. 

This Saturday, March 17 event answers the questions “what are mitigation, restoration and enhancement, and how do they apply to thriving natural environments?” Guiding nature through mitigation, restoration and enhancement are some of the important aspects about land management and improvement tools such as prescribed fire and how they are vital to our natural areas. A Sensing Nature biologist guides visitors through the two-hour program, beginning at 2 p.m., then on a habitat hike of restoration in action.

During this second of the three-part Weedon Island series Wildlife Sentinels, a Sensing Nature biologist shares success stories about protecting important Florida wildlife including the bald eagle, Florida black bear, gopher tortoise and Florida panther. On Saturday, March 31, from 2 to 4 p.m. visitors have the opportunity to learn about the current assistance given these species and improvements still needed for their protection, and discover ways to take action.

Weedon Island Preserve protects more than 3,700 acres of natural ecosystems and is located at 1800 Weedon Drive N.E. in St. Petersburg. The preserve is operated under Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department and is open to the public seven days a week, including holidays, from 7 a.m. to 15 minutes before sunset. Its many outdoor activities include walking trails, a fishing pier and a canoe/kayak launch. 

The Cultural and Natural History Center in the preserve welcomes visitors Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is closed Sunday through Wednesday and all Pinellas County holidays. The center features the permanent exhibit, Connecting People and Place, which is an art-inspired, hands-on educational approach to the area’s history, ecology and people. 

To learn more about Weedon Island Preserve and its upcoming programs and events, call (727) 453-6500. To register for programs and events visit www.weedonislandpreserve.org. Videos featuring Weedon Island Preserve can be viewed on www.youtube.com/pcctv1. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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