Nature & Heritage Events


Participants will enjoy the spectacular fall wildflower bloom in the piney woods of Morningside Nature Center during a guided walk. The JEAN DORNEY MEMORIAL WILDFLOWER WALKS are free and take place every Saturday in October and start at 9 a.m. at Morningside Nature Center, from the education building. On October 1, the walk will start at 11:30 from the pavilion in the picnic area, as part of the Fall Native Plant Sale. Wear comfortable walking shoes; bring water and field guides you would like to use. These walks are courtesy of a grant from the Friends of Nature Parks in honor of charter member Jean Dorney. 

Jean, a Texas native, moved her family to Gainesville in 1972. She quickly became involved with the Alachua Audubon Society and was a founding member of Friends of Nature Parks. Through the years, Jean was an active advocate of adult education programs at the nature parks and participated in many wildflower walks and natural history classes. For more information about attending the walks and exploring the natural parks as Jean loved to do, please visit parks’ page or call (352) 334-3326. Click on the link for information on how to become a member of Friends of Nature Parks.Take a WALK on the WILDflower side with us!



Every November on the Saturday after Thanksgiving: Saturday, November 26, 2016, from 10 am-4 pm. Contestants may register online at and onsite the morning of the event at 9 am. 

This event is held each year the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and combines traditions of giving thanks and fall harvest with live fiddle, banjo and string-band music, which were major influences on American entertainment for more than 150 years. Bring your holiday guests, friends and family out to Morningside’s beautiful Living History Farm to experience the making and bottling of sugar cane syrup, biscuits hot from the wood cookstove, live roots music, horse-drawn wagon rides and living history interpreters and demonstrators bringing a country day in 1870 to life.

The Longleaf Pine Youth Fiddle Contest portion of the Cane Boil is for musicians 18-years-old and younger who may enter in one of three age group divisions:

  • Sprouts Division (beginners 7-years-old or younger)
  • Seedlings Division (8- to 12-years-old)
  • Saplings Division (advanced players or those 13- to 18-years-old)

Contestants may register online at between now and Wednesday, Nov. 25 (recommended), or may register on-site the morning of Nov. 28 from 9-10 a.m. Preregistered contestants should also check-in during this time. The contest starts at 10 a.m., concluding with judging and presentation of prizes, awarded to first, second, third place winners and runners-up in each of the three divisions. Traditional music played by talented, local musicians will follow all afternoon.

Admission charged. Admission fees are waived for contestants, their family members and an accompanist.

For registration and complete rules, and more information about judging and prizes visit or call 352-334-3326. Morningside Nature Center is located at 3540 E. University Ave., approximately three miles east of downtown Gainesville.

Plan to round out your holiday weekend with a relaxing and enjoyable day at Cane Boil & FiddleFest!

View pictures from the 2013 Cane Boil & FiddleFest.

The Great Invader Raider Rally and Gainesville Greenway Challenge

The Great Invader Raider Rally will take place Saturday, January 28, 2017. 

9–11 am Blasting Space Invaders in Our Natural Areas
Be a part of this annual tradition to remove invasive plant species from our natural areas! Under trained leadership, volunteers will work to restore pre-assigned natural areas.

11 am–1 pm Victory Celebration at Morningside Nature Center
located at 3540 E. University Avenue
Participants are invited to Morningside Nature Center for a celebration that includes t-shirts, music, prizes, environmental booths, games and food ($).

Individual/Group Registration is Now Closed!

If you are still interested participating in the Great Invader Raider Rally, please call 352-334-3326.

You can also visit the Gainesville Greenway Challenge page
to find out how you can help our natural areas year-round!

A big thanks to this year's sponsors!



Check back for Dates!

Take advantage of the largest offering of native plants in North Florida during the 2016 Fall Native Plant sale on at Morningside Nature Center. Enhance your yard with low-maintenance native plants! An exclusive member's sale is on the Friday before, from 4:30-6:30pm, open to members of the Friends of Nature Parks (FNP) and to all the members of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS)Memberships are available at the gate. Cash, checks and debit/credit cards are accepted! For information please call 352-334-3326.

The sale is hosted cooperatively by the City of Gainesville's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, the Friends of Nature Parks (FNP) and Paynes Prairie chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS).