Our Activities

Please contact us to learn more about our activities and visit our calendar for our upcoming events. We also invite you to read our latest Activity Guide.

SCHOOL PROGRAMS

Charles E. caniff
Youths at Alligator Creek

Our 4th grade field studies program is a two-day field trip. One day is spent exploring our natural land habitats and the other is spent exploring the Peace River or Lemon Bay estuaries. This is a curriculum based program, with knowledgeable naturalist guides.

2nd grade wading trips are available to public, private and home-schooled 2nd grade level classes. Teachers, chaperons and students explore our sea-grass beds and learn about the importance of this habitat. These programs are free to the class, thanks to our sponsors.

3rd grade Estuary & Manatee programs are available for third grade level students. This program is held in the classroom. CHEC staff visits schools and presents an informative, educational program to the students. These programs are free to the class, thanks to our sponsors.

YOUTH PROGRAMS


Summer Camp for ages 6 to 13

  • Enroll your child in a week long learning adventure!
  • Regular camp hours are 9am-4pm Jun-Aug.
  • $200/week as a non-member and $180.00/week for members.
  • Each session includes outdoor explorations, science and art-based activities, and theme specific field trips lead by certified teachers.
  • Pre-care and after-care available for a fee.
  • Campers MUST wear camp T-shirt everyday. 1st camp T-shirt provided FREE, additional T-shirts $12.50 Lunch is NOT provided.
  • Registration must be completed a MINIMUM of 2 weeks prior to selected camp dates.
  • Late registration is available for an additional fee of $25.00
  • For additional information contact
    • Alligator Creek Camps: Ashley (941) 575-5435
    • Cedar Point Camps Bobbie (941) 475-0769
  • Summer Flyer PDF (print out the schedule of camps)

Alligator Creek Camps

  • Creepy Creature Capers (ages 6 to 10)
    • Slithering serpents, bustling bats, & all the creepy critters that just BUG you out! Dispel common misconceptions & learn why these beasties need our protection too. Jun 15-19 or Jul 20-24
  • Kids Gone Coastal (ages 6 to 10)
    • Get out, get wet, and get wild! Learn all about our local estuary system and the creatures that live where the river meets the sea. Take home water conservation tips and improve the health or our local watershed. Jun 22-26 or Jul 27-31
  • Birds, Blooms, and Bees (ages 6 to 10)
    • What’s the buzz with all those buds? Discover native plants & the pollinators that help them grow. Use this information to create a thriving garden of your own. Jun 13-17 or Aug 3-7

Cedar Point Camps

  • Learn to Fish! (ages 8 to 13)
    • Knot tying, fish identification, cast netting, rods and reels, & more. all instruction is delivered in collaboration with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission through games, practice, & time on the water. Jun 15-19 or Jun 22-26
  • La Florida: The Natives (ages 8 to 13)
    • Discover the natives of Florida... the people, the plants, the wildlife. Search the grounds for those that live here now & may have lived here long ago. Jul 13-17 or Jul 27-31
  • CHEC Rangers (ages 8 to 13)
    • Become a CHEC Ranger! Collect scientific data, explore the woods with a map & compass, identify medicinal plants, & learn about land management techniques. Jul 20-24 or Aug 3-7

Summer camp for Middle to High School students

Do you have an environmentally focused middle or high school student? CHEC offers programs that cater to these interests too!

  • Junior Camp Assistant (Alligator Creek and Cedar Point camps)
    • The Junior Camp Assistant will aid camp educators in implementing all summer camp programming, learning valuable career development skills in the process.
      • All Camp Assistants will receive a t=shirt and free admission to the week's field trip location.
      • Upon completion of the program each Junior Camp Assistant will receive a personalized letter of recommendation, credit for hours worked, & an opportunity to participate in a resume building seminar!Available during most regularly scheduled camp programs
    • Applications due by April 30th.
    • For additional information contact
      • Alligator Creek Camps: Ashley (941) 575-5435
      • Cedar Point Camps Bobbie (941) 475-0769

Little Explorers

FREE!!! Introduce your preschoolers to the wonderful world of nature with educator led activities, crafts, and storybook readings. Begins at 10am in the Caniff Education Center. For additional information contact Ashley (941) 575-5435 Dates: 1/13, 1/27, 2/10, 2/24, 3/10, 3/24, 4/14, 4/28, 5/12, 5/26

PUBLIC PROGRAMS


Calusa Midden Expedition

Join expert led hikes to archeological sites on the Preserve. Hikes leave from Alligator Creek at 10am. $25. Dates: 2/26, 3/26, 4/23.

Wading Sea-grass Adventures

Explore our sea-grass beds and discover a multitude of sea-creatures in this aquatic habitat. Pre-registration required. Get your feet wet as you learn about the world's largest protected estuary and the unique animals that live where the river meets the sea. Trips begin from Ponce DeLeon Park at 10 am. Dates: 1/3, 1/19, 2/7, 2/16, 3/10, 3/12, 3/14, 4/3, 4/18, 4/30, 5/9, 5/14, 5/25

FREE Guided Nature Walks

Explore hiking trails and wetlands led by enthusiastic naturalists. Participants will see local wildlife and learn about natural Florida. Dates: Tues, Thur, & Sat at 10 am

FREE Wild Wednesday

Enjoy a nature film then discuss conservation with like-minded citizens and volunteer naturalists. Film begins at 10:30am in the Alligator Creek Welcome Center. Dates: 1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 2/18, 3/4, 3/18, 4/1

Life-Long Learning Field Trips

Pre-Registration Required. All trips depart from Alligator Creek Preserve at 8am for $45 per participant. (Excludes Cuba Excursion)

  • Jan 15: Corkscrew Swamp, Crew, & Crew Trust Bird Rookery. Lunch in Ave Maria.
  • Feb 3: Big Cypress and National Everglades. Lunch in Everglades City.
  • Mar 12: ECHO Farm & Edison-Ford Estate. Lunch at Butterfly Estate.
  • Apr 16: Conservancy SWFL & Freedom Park. Lunch at Food & Thought in Naples.
  • May 21: Fossil Dig on Peace River
  • June 4-14: Cuba Excursion

Estuary Pontoon Boat Journeys

Charles E. caniff
Estuaries exploration

Explore our estuaries on a pontoon boat, piloted by a licensed captain and interpreted by a naturalist guide. Enjoy the abundance of aquatic wildlife on these two hour tours. These tours are free, thanks to our sponsors.

Full Moon River Cruise and Local Brews

Pre-registration Required Witness spectacular sunsets, moonlit skies, and a myriad of wading birds all while sampling regional brews and learning about our local estuary system. Cruise departs from Punta Gorda Marina at sunset. Offered for a suggested donation of $25 per participant. Dates: 1/5, 2/4, 3/5, 4/4 & 5/4

Lectures and Book-signings

All lectures and book-signings begin at 5pm in the Alligator Creek Welcome Center for $25 per
participant. Members are FREE.

  • December 11: Environmental Education with Dr. Bill Hammond - Friends of CHEC Annual Meeting - Mullet & Mojito Tasting.
  • January 22: Trees & Bees with Stephen Brown from IFAS - Local Honey Tasting.
  • February 10: Wild Orchids with Connie Bransilver - Vino & Vanilla Tasting.
  • March 23: Water Quality with Jennifer Hecker - Water Tasting.
  • April 17: Wildflowers with Roger Hammer.
  • May 7: Paddling and Poachers in Paradise with Dr. Geoff Trager

Naturally Fit

Pre-registration Required Combine exercise with the great outdoors for a calming fitness regime designed to keep participants healthy, motivated and eager for the possibility of encountering wildlife.

  • Sunrise Yoga ~ Mon & Wed 7:30am Donations encouraged.
  • Trail Trekking ~ Tues & Thur 7:30am Led by a seasoned cross country runner. FREE to the public.
  • Kayaking & Canoeing $20 for 4hrs

CHEC Test Kitchen

Learn how to preserve native fruits and make desserts with fresh, local honey. Begins at 10am in the Alligator Creek Welcome Center for $15 per participant. Dates 2/5, 3/5, 4/2

Volunteer Water Monitoring Program

Lemon Bay Program volunteers monitor 17 locations within the Lemon Bay area; testing pH, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and more.

Punta Gorda Canal Program volunteers monitor 6 canal locations within Punta Gorda Isles and Burnt Store Isles; testing pH, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and more.

Adopt-A-Pond

Charles E. caniff
Cleanup by Adopt A Pond

Adopt-A-Pond program is collaboration between Charlotte County Stormwater Department and Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC). The program helps clean up Charlotte County Stormwater ponds through the use of volunteers.

Anyone can adopt a pond; family, civic or non-profit organizations, schools, environmental groups, commercial or private enterprises. The group's only obligation is to provide clean-up for their adopted ponds at regularly scheduled times. In exchange for service, a sign will be posted near the pond to recognize the volunteers or organization.

A Stormwater pond is part of the infrastructure for land use management. The pond provides for water quality protection, as well as, flood protection. Cleaning up our ponds improves the water quality and improves the natural habitat for fish and wildlife.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Adopt-A-Pond Volunteer Coordinator:

Volunteer Opportunities

CHEC offers numerous opportunities for volunteers - gift shop and visitor center attendants, trail guides, trail maintenance, butterfly gardening and more… For additional information, please visit our volunteer page.