On Feb. 9, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) welcomed Hana Brinkley as the new director of Chinsegut Conservation Center in Brooksville.
The center, within the Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area, is a community resource for nature programming as well as adult and youth education.
Brinkley comes to the center from her previous role as a wildlife biologist at nearby Half Moon Wildlife Management Area in Sumter County.
She is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University where she engaged in community service that would ultimately lead her to a career in land management and conservation.
“I’m very excited to start working at the conservation center and help provide opportunities for our community to connect with the outdoors,” said Brinkley.
The center also will offer increased conservation education for visitors from Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties and surrounding areas this month, starting with a lineup of outdoor skills programs for participants of all ages:
- Feb. 13 9 a.m. – 3-D Archery Shoot: Archery is back with Drawn by Grace. Archers should arrive by 9 a.m. to join us for this shoot. The course consists of 15 lanes with 3-D target variety. Sight in your bow on the range. Small fee applies to help us continue to maintain our equipment. Call 352-754-6722 for more information, no registration required. Lunch is provided by Drawn by Grace following the shoot. Allow 3-4 hours to participate fully.
- Feb. 20 10 a.m. – Beginners Archery: Learn the basics of archery under the guidance of certified instructors. Chinsegut Conservation Center will provide all necessary equipment (no outside equipment allowed). Ages 10 and above are invited to participate in this session. Limited spots available. Advanced registration is required and can be completed by visiting MyFWC.com/Chinsegut. For more information, call 352-754-6722. Program length is 1.5 hours.
- Feb. 26 8 a.m. – Beginning Birding with Audubon: Take advantage of the weather by joining this guided birding stroll through Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area. The walk begins at the center at 8 a.m. This program is offered through Hernando Audubon volunteers and can last anywhere from 1-3 hours.
In December, the center began piloting outdoor programming with social distancing, enhanced sanitization and masking guidelines. As we move to relaunch regular program offerings, these safety requirements will remain in place. Masks must be worn if social distance guidelines (6 feet) cannot be met.
Chinsegut Conservation Center is open Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., and during special programs and events. To learn more about the center and to register for nature programs, visit MyFWC.com/Chinsegut.
Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area is known for its forest of tall mature longleaf pines, oak hammocks and marshes.
The area is Florida’s red-headed woodpecker capital and is also home to populations of gopher tortoises, frogs, hawks and other wildlife.
It has two tracts, Big Pine and Conservation Center, connected by a 2-mile trail. To access trails during daylight hours, seven days a week, park at the trailhead at the corner of U.S. Route 41 and Snow Memorial Highway.