Tag Archives: recreation

Palm Beach County Pools welcome College Swimmers

For three weeks in December and January, College Swim Teams from around the country travel to Palm Beach County’s Aqua Crest Pool and North County Aquatic Complex to train for the fall season. The teams travel from as far west as Iowa to as far north as Michigan to escape frigid temperatures that make it difficult to train. As students from Michigan State and New York’s Wagner College explain, Palm Beach County’s palm trees and beaches allow them to take a mental break during the winter.

Aqua Crest Pool and North County Aquatic Complex are owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Providing for athletic programming and facilities is one of the core services of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.

Parks & Recreation Team up with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt and Melanoma Foundation to Strike out Skin Cancer at South Florida Fair

IMG_1031On Saturday, January 16, Baseball Hall of Fame member Mike Schmidt and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, in partnership with the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, unveiled Palm Beach County’s first BrightGuard™ Sunscreen Dispenser at the South Florida Fair and encouraged fairgoers to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Schmidt, a Palm Beach County resident who played 18 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995, made a special appearance at Palm Beach County’s exhibit. The 12-time All-Star and three-time National League MVP shared his story about surviving stage 3 melanoma.

“I spent my life in the sun without protection. I am currently a melanoma survivor because I see my dermatologist regularly,” said Schmidt. “I have partnered with the Richard David Kann Foundation whose mission is to increase the awareness and importance of sun safety. This mission, to educate our young and old alike, is a perfect fit for me.”

A baseball theme was prevalent among Palm Beach County Fair exhibits in anticipation of the new spring training stadium in West Palm Beach and tied in to this year’s South Florida Fair theme: Discover The Palm Beaches.

“We think it is vitally important for people of all ages to use our parks and stay active, but also be sun safe,” said Parks and Recreation Director Eric Call.

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Fairgoers who visited Parks and Recreation’s exhibit at the Fair learned about the many services provided by the department, but also received SunSmart™ prevention and detection brochures and free sunscreen from the BrightGuard™ Sunscreen Dispenser, courtesy of Katzen Eye Care & Laser Center, before heading out to the midway.

“Parks and Recreation provides safe outdoor sports facilities and opportunities for youth enrichment,” said Lisa Richman, executive director at the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, “and for 20 years the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation has been empowering families to make the necessary sun safe choices for healthy lives while enjoying our beautiful outdoor venues.”

For more information about the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation, contact Lisa Richman at (561) 655-9655 or visit http://www.melanomafoundation.com.

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department operates more than 80 regional, district, community, beach, and neighborhood parks, spanning several thousand acres. Visit www.pbcparks.com to learn about opportunities for healthy, happy living.

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Westgate residents enjoy free fun, win Thanksgiving turkeys at Annual Turkey Shoot

On November 12, families took to Westgate Park and Recreation Center to enjoy a night of free games, activities, and a chance to win Thanksgiving turkeys at the 12th Annual Westgate Turkey Shoot. Kids and adults participated in games for all ages – the turkey hunt, turkey pop, turkey sack race, basketball free throw shooting contest, three-point shooting contest and family shooting contest.

Turkeys were given to the first place winner of each age category – male and female. Twelve turkeys were awarded to participants, on behalf of the Westgate CRA and Rodriguez Charities.

“It brings the community together, they get a chance to see each other, normally they don’t see each other on a regular basis – and some of them win a free turkey for Thanksgiving,” said Lee Powell, Westgate’s Facility Manager.

Westgate Park and Recreation Center is located at 3691 Oswego Avenue in West Palm Beach and is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. Amenities include two lighted basketball courts, a lighted multipurpose field, a playground, a soccer field, splashpark, game room, gymnasium and more. Staff at the facility regularly provide for youth enrichment, sports, and athletic programming for the Westgate Community by offering events like the Turkey Shoot, as well as after-school activities and sports leagues on a regular basis. To view the facility’s gym schedule and to find out what free events are happening at Westgate Park and Recreation Center, click here.

One of the core services of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is to provide for youth enrichment and sports/athletic programming and facilities. For more opportunities, visit www.pbcparks.com.

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Okeeheelee Nature Center assists with Gray Fox release

In September, three Gray Fox kits were released into the wild at Palm Beach County’s Okeeheelee Nature Center in Okeeheelee Park, as part of a joint effort between Palm Beach County and the South Florida Wildlife Center.

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The Gray Fox Kits

Before arriving at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC), the three fox kits were taken in as orphans by the South Florida Wildlife Center (SFWC).

Two of the foxes were sisters, arriving at SFWC in May 2015 from Hollywood Hills High School at just a month old and weighing about 300 grams each. They were bright, alert and responsive. The other fox was picked up – also at a month old – from Pelican Harbor Seabird Station in June, having been found at an unknown location in Miami-Dade County. He had a degloving wound on his tail, whereby the skin and fur are essentially torn off the bone. The wound was treated for about a month. All of the foxes were treated for parasites, vaccinated and hydrated.

During their 6-month stay in the rehabilitation facility at SFWC, the foxes learned essential survival skills  in their enclosure and were regularly vaccinated. Human contact was very limited to avoid imprinting, which is a serious problem when wild animals become accustomed to humans and lose their fear of people. Imprinted animals cannot be released into the wild and must spend the rest of their lives in captivity.

The Soft Release

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The fox kits were 7 months old when they arrived at ONC in September 2015. They were released that same month in an area on the nature center’s 90-acre preserve. The release was coordinated by SFWC’s Release Specialist, Shelby Proie, as well as ONC’s Manager, Callie Sharkey.

The “soft release” process involved putting a temporary enclosure in the area where the fox kits were located, and feeding them for two to three days. During this time, the kits became accustomed to their new surroundings, allowing them to easily establish a territory soon after the doors open.

Wildlife trap cameras were put up inside the enclosure, as well as on a nearby tree in order to track the fox kits’ activities. When the doors opened, the foxes left after about 15 minutes. One fox returned three days later to observe the space, but didn’t stay. Volunteers and staff have seen tracks in the area, but not the actual foxes – which is a very good sign of their successful transition into the wild.

A release of this kind was a first for Okeeheelee Nature Center. Okeeheelee’s pine flatwoods habitat made it an ideal location for the fox release, since it’s reasonably protected and there’s plenty of food for the foxes to hunt and forage to survive on their own.

Okeeheelee Nature Center is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and features 2.5 miles of trails winding through 90 acres of pine flatwoods and wetlands. Highlights of the center include hands-on exhibits, animal encounters, and more. Guests can marvel at birds of prey, touch a live snake or prowl for owls during one of the many programs scheduled throughout the year for families, youth and adults.

This was a pre-approved and joint effort by the South Florida Wildlife Care Center, which is affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States. Palm Beach County’s three nature centers DO NOT serve as rehabilitation centers, nor can they accept injured or stray animals on site. Please contact the South Florida Wildlife Care Center directly [954-524-4302] if you find an injured or stray animal.