The year's first Family Naturalist Hour, held on New Year's Day, was a fun and educational session to find, mark and document gopher tortoise burrows at Camp Bayou. More than 20 burrows were inspected for signs of activity then GPS'd for future reference. The monthly Family Naturalist Hour is held on the first Saturday each month starting at 9:30am. Participation is limited to 5 families so call to reserve your space at 813-641-8545.
The next event at Camp Bayou will be a service project for MLK Day, Monday, January 17, 2011. Bring your canoe or kayak and join the cleanup crew to paddle around the island south of Camp Bayou to pick up trash, fishing line and other items that are not a natural part of the Little Manatee River. Contact Dolly if you'd like to participate in the river cleanup, firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-363-5438. Check out all the future events on the calendar at http://www.campbayou.org/ .
If you are visiting the South Shore Regional Library on 19th Ave NE in Ruskin this month, be sure to check out the gallery of photos from Camp Bayou, including this year's Open House photo contest winners.
Camp Bayou programs are Be Out There!, Get Outdoors Florida, Children and Nature and No Child Left Inside inspired initiatives.
Camp Bayou is nether a campground nor a summer camp. It was an RV park before the County's ELAP program purchased the land but it is now open for day use only, open to the general public. Through volunteers, donations, membership and grants, the RCDF offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families plus it's open from Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm for passive recreational pursuits such as wildlife watching, nature photography and trail walks. General admission is still FREE.
The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a public- private partnership between the non-profit Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF) and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Camp Bayou is located 3 miles south of SR674 at the end of 24th St SE in Ruskin. More information is on the web at www.campbayou.org or call 813-641-8545.
Photo: Checking out the tracks while learning about gopher tortoises and their burrows at Camp Bayou
Photo credit: Celso Montalvo