New Nature Center Highlights Former Inhabitants From Ice Age to Early Pioneers

The Pine Island Conservation Center Area has added new exhibits highlighting the Ice Age, Native Americans, and early pioneers who once made made the Pine Island area their home.

photo credit: Vince Lamb
Adjoining the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to the north, this 879-acre conservation area has come together and developed a dynamic exhibit that allows visitors to come face-to-face with a 15-foot tall sloth, walk inside a replica Native American hut, and learn about the Sams family who homesteaded there in the early part of the 20th century.
photo credit: Vince Lamb

Pine Island already housed the Sams cabin, the oldest standing home in Brevard County and former home of John H. Sams, who was a citrus grower, businessmen, and the first Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools.  Built in 1875 the cabin was originally in Eau Gallie, but the house was taken apart, floated up the Indian River Lagoon, and reassembled on the current site in 1878.

Managed by the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, the Pine Island conservation also offers hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking through five different habitats and over five miles of trails.

The Pine Island nature center entrance is at 6195 North Tropical Trail, approximately a half-mile west from the intersection of North Tropical Trail and SR 3. The center is currently open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 pm. Beginning in November, the Center will be open Thursdays to Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Private tours are available; call 321-449-4720 for more information.

*Volunteers are needed to greet visitors at Pine Island, maintain the history garden and trails, assist with public programs, and perform general office duties. Sams House will be holding a volunteer open house on Saturday, October 15. Prospective volunteers are invited to visit between 9 a.m. and noon to meet the staff, tour the buildings and exhibits, and complete a volunteer application.

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