The first day of summer officially begins on June 21, and there are a lot of ways to kick off the season because June is nationally recognized as the “Great Outdoors Month.”
What’s great about living in Hernando County- there are plenty of outdoor activities to help bring some shine to your summer!
I would like to share some super cool dates to encourage and inspire you, your family, and your friends to experience the great outdoors.
June 1 is Dinosaur Day. Even though there were likely no dinosaurs in Florida because the state we live in was underwater hundreds of millions of years ago; however, there were mammoths, mastodons, and giant sloths that roamed around after the dinosaur’s extinction.
What does dinosaur day have to do with celebrating the Great Outdoors Month? Well, it’s a great excuse to bring out your inner child with your kids (kids are optional) and take them on a prehistoric adventure. Depending on what prehistoric creature is chosen, whether it was from the ocean, sandy coastline, or in the forest, you can be super creative.
Create a prehistoric-looking beach with little pits filled with shells, or gather some fallen frons from the palm tree to create a lagoon. You can even take a hike on a trail and imagine the forest is filled with herbivores like a Brachiosaurus or carnivores like a T-Rex. I have to admit that I did this. While I was researching I learned that ferns are one of the oldest groups of plants on Earth, with fossils dating back to the Middle Devonian (383-393 million years ago). So with all this new knowledge, I put the concept of ferns=fossils=dinosaurs together and I had a photoshoot with my toy dinosaur in the swamp.
Here are some links to learn about dinosaurs:
Dinosaurs | American Museum of Natural History (https://www.amnh.org/dinosaurs) or get involved in an actual dig: Montbrook Fossil Dig – Florida Museum of Natural History
June 4-12 is National Fishing and Boating Week, and here are a few places to go.
Bayport Park Pier
Jenkins Creek Fishing Pier
Linda Pedersen Park
Lake Townsen Regional Park Pier
Weeki Wachee Preserve
Silver Lake Recreational Area
Brittany Hall-Scharf UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County- Florida Sea Grant Marine Agent III, shares some great tips about what fish are in our coastal areas.
Florida is a popular destination area because it offers great weather for year-round fishing throughout its diverse ecosystems. In fact, Florida is recognized as the “Fishing Capital of the World”. Let’s go fishing!
Some excellent marine and coastal fishes to target during the month of June include:
Various species of snappers
But before you venture out, it is important to check the marine regulations and licensing requirements. You can do that by visiting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Center’s website (https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/) or by downloading their Fish Rules App (https://fishrulesapp.com/). Furthermore, it is important to practice safe fish handling during catch-and-release fishing (https://bit.ly/3z1VKYW).
Not comfortable going out on a fishing expedition on your own? Book a certified Florida Friendly Fishing Guide nearest you! (https://www.flseagrant.org/florida-friendly-fishing-guide-certification/).
Saturday, June 4, you can celebrate National Trails Day® by volunteering to help clean up trails in the county. Find out more by visiting this website: National Trails Day® – American Hiking Society – First Saturday in June
Saturday, June 11, is National Get Outdoors Day. This day is filled with endless ways to celebrate the outdoors. Here are a few suggestions.
Book an eco-tour and learn how important the waterways are in Hernando County as well as learn about Florida’s amazing ecosystem.
Some tips before you head out on the trails:
First, find a trail that fits you. There are many short trails, less than a mile, and long-distance trails. Some trails are more natural, meaning a single lane trail, while others are wider.
Links to find your trail:
Trails in Florida | Florida Trails | Florida Hikes
Florida National Scenic Trail – Home (usda.gov)
Map of Trails near Hernando Beach, Florida | AllTrails
Be prepared ahead of time by downloading the trail map, make sure your cell phone is charged, and know of any safety precautions, ie: trail closures. Check the weather!
Bring water, bug spray, a hat, and any necessities you need.
You can also check Hernando Sun’s Event Calendar (https://www.hernandosun.com/events-calendar/) to see if there are any guided hikes available!
Visit a local park to see the diversity of birds in the area. Don’t forget your binoculars and if possible gather some birding friends for a picnic.
Look into getting involved with Hernando Audubon! Hernando Audubon Society – https://www.hernandoaudubon.org
Discover the color of nature by learning more about Florida’s awesome wildflowers. Pick up a Wildflower Field Guide to help identify the wildflowers you see. Remember only take photos and let the wildflowers stay wild.
Wednesday, June 15, is Nature Photography Day, a perfect day for nature photographers to join together to photograph some of the beautiful natural areas in Hernando County. Great idea to get your photography group to explore different natural areas located in Hernando County.
June 20-26 is Pollinator Week, and there are so many ways to help bring awareness to the importance of pollinators in the great outdoors. While there are thousands of species of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, bats, and beetles, without them, nature would pretty much be colorless and fruitless.
Ideas to help celebrate Pollinator Week
Visit a local native plant nursery and create your pollinator garden!
Learn about pollinators and discover how many species you can observe during a nature hike.
June 20 is American Eagle Day. Learn more at American Eagle Day 2022 | American Eagle Foundation (eagles.org). This is a day we acknowledge America’s iconic bird of prey- The American Eagle. It’s also National Hike with a Geek Day. Those that work all day behind the computer, like IT techs, accountants, newspaper editors, etc, are encouraged to unplug and get out in nature, but what would be super cool is to hike along with a nature geek. So during your hike, you can learn about the habitat of the American Eagle and pollinators! It’s a win, win!