THE DUNES CENTER in Guadalupe offers many activities, including a variety of docent-led walks. All are free, most are well-suited for family outings. Rain cancels. Confirm with leader, who can also give more information. Group size limited. If you plan to bring a group or have special needs, contact leader in advance. Info on volunteering: 343-2455. Check out the center's website for a full list of activities and more info: www.dunescenter.org.
June 12, 10 a.m.-noon. Plants of the Dunes. Join Lauren Brown on a walk through the Oso Flaco Natural Area and learn about the plants and plant communities in the dunes.
SLO BOTANICAL GARDEN offers self-guided tours every day from dusk to dawn. The garden is located at El Chorro Regional Park, Hwy1, between SLO and Morro Bay. Info: www.slobg.org or 546-3501.
June 12, 1 p.m. Talk and tours. Brenda Hock gives a talk on "Cooking the Mediterranean Way" at 2 p.m. The Preview Garden tours begin at 1 p.m. Plants and gifts will be for sale at the greenhouse 1-4 p.m.
NATURAL SAN LUIS DOCENTS seek to foster awareness of the natural heritage of SLO by offering nature outings in and around the city. It's a joint project of the city of SLO's Natural Resources Protection Program and the Environmental Center of SLO County. Info: ECOSLO, 544-1777.
June 12. Irish Hills from Madonna Rd. Meet at the end of Madonna Road to hike this beautiful reserve.
THE LAND CONSERVANCY of SLO County hosts many hikes and activities around the Central Coast. For a complete list of events offered, visit www.special-places.org or call 544-9096.
June 19, 8-11 a.m. Bird Walk at the Filipponi Ecological Area. Join local birder Douglas Stinson on a birding expedition through this beautiful restoration site. Bring binoculars. Meet at the site, south of the Octagon Barn, S. Higuera St., SLO.
SLO COUNTY PARKS offers hikes and activities led by Park Rangers. Info: www.slocountyparks.com or 781-5200.
S.W.A.P. (Small Wilderness Area Preservation), Los Osos/Morro Bay Chapter, strives to maintain and preserve local areas and offers walks, work parties, and information about the Elfin Forest. Info: 528-0392.
THE MORRO BAY NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM in Morro Bay State Park sponsors docent-led outings and other events all over the Central Coast. Everyone is welcome to join these free hikes and programs. Call 772-2694 for directions, details, and a complete list of all hikes available. Hikes are rated easy (1 mile or less, on mostly level terrain), moderate (1 to 3 miles on uneven terrain), active (any distance, difficult terrain), or strenuous (long distance, difficult terrain, high degree of fitness on participants' part required).
THE CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANT SOCIETY offers a variety of field trips and events. For info, contact the Society at P.O. Box 784, SLO 93406. A Northern Santa Barbara County branch, which meets in Lompoc, conducts field trips. Details: John, 464-0717.
PISMO STATE PARK NATURE CENTER at Oceano Lagoon on Pier Avenue in Oceano is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. Admission is free. The center features an interactive diorama of the lagoon and its wildlife, an exhibit about the Chumash that includes tools, paintings, and a large-scale model of a Chumash dwelling, a display of more than 30 bird nests, many with the eggs intact, and more than 20 nature videos you can watch on the big screen. Docents are available to answer questions. Info: 489-1869.
CENTRAL COAST PEREGRINE PATHFINDERS is a local walking club seeking to promote walking as a non-competitive and family oriented sport. Monthly walks are offered throughout SLO and Santa Barbara Counties. Info: www.concentric.net/~Wuttenwe/.
GO WHALE WATCHING and learn about the amazing world of whales and other exotic species. The narrated tours depart weekdays at 11 a.m. and weekends at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Morro Bay. Presented by Virg's Landing. Tickets are $20, $15 for kids. Reservations required. Info: 772-1222.
FRIENDS OF LOPEZ LAKE is a nonprofit group of volunteers who meet the third Sunday of every month to improve the park with small projects to enhance the beauty of the lake. Meet in the front parking lot by the Rangers Station. There is an open meeting noon-1 p.m., with a project following. Bring a picnic lunch and spend a day at the lake. Info: 714-9229.
THE SIERRA CLUB SANTA LUCIA CHAPTER offers a variety of outings and activities for members and non-members alike. For up-to-the-minute information and a full list of activities offered, visit the website at www.santalucia.sierraclub.org.
MORRO COAST AUDUBON SOCIETY offers birding outings and field trips open to the public. Audubon members bring binoculars, scopes, field guides to help you learn about birding. For information, write the Society at P.O. Box 160, Morro Bay 93443-0160. Info: 528-7182.
NIPOMO NATIVE GARDEN works to preserve 12 acres in Nipomo as native land. The garden is located on Osage Rd. off of Camino Caballo.
CUCHUMA LAKE NATURE CENTER offers exhibits and hands-on displays for kids and adults featuring Chumash people's traditions, local history, geology, local birds, animals, plants, and a gift shop. The center is opened Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free, parking is $5. Info: 693-0691.