The center has a variety of weekend programs available at no cost, but they do ask participants to make reservations because of the popularity of the events.
The crowd of people that followed volunteer Hanh Nguyen around the Environmental Discovery Center at Central Park on Saturday was almost as eclectic as the plants she was pointing out. Nguyen has been a volunteer at the center for the past year and a half.
The first stop, on the hour and a half tour, was at the butterfly garden and, as if on cue, butterflies began flitting behind Nguyen, as she talked about which plants attracts butterflies.
Ten-year-old Campbell Adderley looked the part of a student as she took notes throughout the tour. In fact, the home schooled student was on a studies field trip with her mom.
Jane and Jim Bounds were the first to arrive. The couple lives in Orlando but also own a home they rent in Ormond-by-the-Sea, and were looking forward to their first tour of the park.
“I receive their programs in my email,” Jane Bounds said. “I like to have something to do and to get outside.”
For her husband it was a chance to get away from everything. Something he described as “a complete life change.”
On this tour, participants are encouraged to smell, touch, and even taste the plants. The Simpson Stopper was one berried plant that Nguyen suggested they “taste” but not eat a lot. Another plant, the invasive Brazilian pepper often causes some gardeners to break out in a rash on their arms, not a big problem if you know dog fennel crushed up (never eaten) and rubbed on the rash will provide relief.
The programs are offered nearly every Saturday and cover a variety of subjects. More than 30 people showed up for this program, and since it was outside, there was no space issue. Had it been an inside event, those who had not preregistered would not have been able to attend due to space restrictions.
Events are advertised on the Ormond Beach Leisure Services website and in the calendar section of OrmondBeachObserver.com. Reservations for upcoming events can be made in person at the center (601 Division Ave.), or by calling the Leisure Services Department at 615-7081.