Let CREW help YOU with your holiday gift ideas

If you are searching for the perfect gift idea for the nature-minded people in your life, we’re here to help!

Whether you’re looking for something for the new-to-nature person in your life or the trail veteran, check out a few of our recommendations.

For the New Birder

The Bird Watching Answer Book: Everything you need to know to enjoy birds in your backyard and beyond (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

“That is a really cute stocking-stuffer kind of book,” said volunteer Barbara Centola. “It is the kind of book you would put on your nightstand and read a couple of pages at night.” She purchased one and is planning on giving it to a friend who has shown interest in birding.

For the sentimental hiker

“I love a good walking stick,” said Brenda Brooks, executive director. “And I love to collect hiking medallions to remind me of where I’ve been. It’s an inexpensive way to remember your hike.”

CREW Hiking Medallions (available for Bird Rookery Swamp, CREW Marsh Trails and Cypress Dome Trails ($5 each; limited quantities for local pick-up only; email anne@crewtrust.org)

For the Trail Runner

Goodr Sunglasses

Tired of glasses that fall off your face when you’re out on a run – or even when you’re clearing Caesar weed? These no-slip, no-bounce glasses are the real deal and trail tested by Anne (hence the Caesar weed reference). And with frame names like “Frank’s Llama Land Ditty” and “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” they give the gift of a good chuckle, too.

For the four-legged hiker

“I love the water bottles with the drinking tray attached,” said Anne Reed, mom of two dogs, Brady (10.5 year old lab) and Sheila (2 year old chihuahua). “My dogs think it’s fun and it is easier than me carrying an extra water bottle and collapsible bowl in my pack.”

KONG H2O Stainless Steel Dog Water Bottle

For the Fun-Loving CREW Trust Friend

Stuff those stockings with tickets to the 2019 CREW Concert Under the Stars! You’ll be giving the gift of a fabulous night out with live music, great food, craft beer from Momentum Brewhouse and our very unique silent eco-auction! AND, most importantly, supporting our Dr. David R. Cooper Education fund.

2019 CREW Concert Under the Stars tickets

For the inquisitive walker

We joke that there are two types of hikers – point to point hikers, who go go go; and those that move inches in an hour. Sometimes those exist all in the same family! This book is great for the slow-moving hiker who stops to take pictures of panther scat (ANNE) and for the speedy hiker who needs to stop and smell the paw-paw.

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs

For the “I Don’t Know What I want” friend

Take them on a hike! Gift wrap this coupon for a free hike and then take your friend out on one of the CREW Trust trails. Whether you spend the hike identifying wildflowers, searching the sky for Caracaras, or just catching up, time spent together is the best gift of all. The trails are open every day, sunrise to sunset. Feel free to print one of these fun gift cards and use it to schedule time out in nature with your friends and family! Oh, and if you want to give the gift of a guided walk, register yourself and a friend for one of our upcoming free guided walks.

Four reasons to add a hike to your Thanksgiving plans

Turkey. Pumpkin Pie. Apple Pie. Salted Caramel Pecan Pie.

Can you tell we really love pie?

We also like wearing normal pants to work and leaving our elastic waist pants at home, which means a little friendly exercise may be in order this weekend. And if you’ve got serious pie plans like us, we’ve got four reasons you should hit the trails this holiday weekend.

Reason #1: Burn, baby, burn

According to Livestrong.com, one hour of hiking burns between 430 and 460 calories if a person weighs 160 pounds. The amount of calories burned doesn’t just vary based on weight; it also varies based on terrain. Because most of Southwest Florida is flat, we probably burn less calories, but the article says nothing about how the high humidity makes us sweat buckets. And, since Americans consume between 3,000 and 4,000 calories during Thanksgiving Dinner, a few hours on the trail Thursday before turkey time might be a good idea.

Reason #2: Nature therapy

Trail running, forest bathing, communing with nature, hugging the trees – however it is that you enjoy the outdoors, you are getting actual benefits. Spending time outdoors can have significant positive impacts on your health – including reducing stress. Hit the trails and hike away the family drama or Black Friday shopping trauma – whatever you need to escape from, let the fresh air and warm Florida sun wash it all away.

photo credit: Bill Zaino

Reason #3: Make memories

We see it all too often during our education programs – today’s kids just don’t have the freedom and opportunity to run wild outside. Make some memories this weekend with your kids and grandkids and take a hike. Not sure what you’re doing? Grab a map at the kiosk and head out to the observation tower at the CREW Marsh trails – there and back is a very manageable (approximately) one mile hike. Your curious guests may ask a ton of questions but remember that, to enjoy nature, you don’t have to KNOW nature. Not sure what that purple wildlfower is? Download an app ahead of time to identify it OR just call it a PPW (pretty purple wildflower). Or completely make up a name because your six year old niece has no idea whether or not that flower is called a Pecanpie regretticus.

Reason #4: Florida fall

Yes, we actually do have fall here in Florida. It’s the tail end of our fall wildflower season and the red maples are turning glorious color and dropping their foliage. If you truly miss the smell of falling leaves, head out to the CREW Marsh Trails and scuff your feet through the thin layer of maple leaves that is collecting on the boardwalk. The cypress trees in Bird Rookery Swamp are changing colors as well and will soon briefly lose their needles. And don’t forget about the animals – the red-shouldered hawks are really active right now as they prepare for mating season. Unlike most animals on the trails, the noisy shrieks of the hawks completely overpowers any loud little children you’ve brought with you.


If you do hit the trails this weekend, please remember to do so safely – take water, wear closed-toe shoes (to protect against fire ants), grab a map from the kiosk and turn back towards the parking lot before you feel tired. And remember to practice the leave no trace principles – leave nothing but footprints.


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