- Bay Guardians at North Water Tower Park October 19, 2013
A group of 102 Bay Guardian volunteers removed 2,500 pounds of invasive air potato vines and seeds October 19 at North Water Tower Park. Project partners included the City of Sarasota, Around the Bend Nature Tours, the North Trail Redevelopment Partnership, Sarasota Sky Pilots and the Bayou Oaks Neighborhood Association. Removing the invasive air potato vine supports the vitality of native vegetation. Prizes were given to volunteers collecting the biggest and smallest air potato seed.
- Bay Guardians at Perico Preserve May 4, 2013
The fourth Bay Guardian volunteer outing for 2013 took place on Saturday, May 4 at Perico Preserve in Manatee County. The 49 volunteers planted 3,500 native plants along the shoreline area. The plants, which included Spartina grass plugs and herbaceous plants, were donated by FWC Redfish Hatchery at Port Manatee and Manatee County Natural Resources. The Bay Guardians is the largest and most active volunteer organization in the region focused on the welfare of Sarasota Bay. The family-friendly program is managed by the SBEP in partnership with Around the Bend Nature Tours. New volunteers receive a blue tee shirt featuring the Bay Guardians logo. Each outing features environmental education and a picnic lunch. Join the Bay Guardians for a single project or as an ongoing commitment. Local school, scout and church groups interested in volunteering should contact Sara Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bay Guardians Project at Jiggs Landing March 9, 2013
The SBEP Bay Guardians visited Jiggs Landing for a volunteer outing on Saturday, March 9 to plant Florida native plants. Jiggs Landing is located on the Ever’s Reservoir in Manatee County. The property was originally purchased in 1944; the popular fishing camp has undergone extensive renovations and was re-opened to the public in late 2010. There were 54 volunteers including participants from the Old Braden River Historical Society, Cub Scout Troup 22, Take Stock in Children, Around the Bend Nature Tours, and staff members with Manatee County Natural Resources. The Manatee County Natural Resources Department and the Old Braden River Historical Society provided the native plants which included 32 different species. SBEP provided lunch following the morning project. The Bay Guardians welcome individuals, families or small groups and all of the volunteer projects benefit Sarasota Bay. Online registration is required. Continue reading →
- Bay Guardians at Sarasota Baywalk Creek February 23, 2013
A group of 37 Bay Guardian volunteers with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) completed a project at Baywalk Creek. Baywalk Creek is located near New College of Florida. The volunteers removed more than 1,000 pounds of the invasive air potato vine and tubers. The group also removed other non-native species. Volunteers included students from Martha B. King Middle School in Bradenton and New College. Volunteers earned prizes for the smallest, biggest, weirdest-looking, and most air potatoes collected. SBEP provided a picnic lunch following the morning project. Photos by Sara Kane and Stephanie Sherman.
- Bay Guardians at North Lido Beach Park July 14, 2012
A group of 55 SBEP Bay Guardian volunteers planted 500 native plants and removed small exotic Australian pines at North Lido Beach Park on Saturday. The group included 20 middle school students from the Duke University Talent Identification Program, a marine biology summer camp focused on estuaries and marshes. Bay Guardian volunteers planted more than 2,000 plants last year at the same site. The plants going into the ground Saturday were donated by the American Littoral Society and Sarasota County.The tidal tributary project at North Lido Beach Park was completed in March 2011. The restoration effort improved 30 acres on the 70 acre site. It included the removal of non-native vegetation, excavation of the tidal wetland, contouring the upland area, creating dunes, and planting thousands of native plants. The tidal wetland was created to provide essential habitat for estuarine dependent fish species. Florida Native Nursery planted more than 8,000 at the site last spring. Photos by Sara Kane.
- Bay Guardians at Emerson Point Preserve May 12, 2012
Volunteers with the SBEP Bay Guardians completed a project at the 365-acre preserve located at the mouth of the Manatee River. The 39 adult and student volunteers worked with professional staff from Manatee County Natural Resources and guides with Around the Bend Nature Tours to plant native Florida plants, remove invasive plants and make portable “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” containers for unusable monofilament fishing line. Participating groups included Bradenton Cub Scout Pack 22 and Apollo Beach Cub Scout Pack 93. The Florida-native plants were donated by the Elizabeth Eaton Fund through the Manatee Garden Club and materials for the portable monofilament containers were donated by the West Coast Inland Navigational District. Thank you to everyone who helped on this project – organizers, staff, guides, and volunteers. Photos by Christine Sciarrino.
- Family Science Day at Imagine School April 28, 2012
These photos are from Family Science Day at the Imagine School at Palmer Ranch Saturday, April 28. Children from first through eighth grade participated in different science activities. SBEP participated with the Enviroscape learning model which illustrates the problem of stormwater pollution. This is a hands-on activity; kids get to “trash” the watershed and see what happens to the model’s Bay. Students are encouraged to discuss what they observed following the demonstration. This helps them understand the relationship between land and water and between watersheds and water bodies. SBEP was represented by Christine Sciarrino and the photos were taken by Jimmy Falls.
- Bay Guardians at North Water Tower Park April 14, 2012
A group of 25 adult and youth volunteers removed 342 pounds of air potato vines and seeds April 14 at North Water Tower Park in Sarasota. The fourth annual Air Potato Roundup was supported by several members of the Sarasota Sky Pilots Disc Golf Club. North Water Tower Park is the home of the area’s most popular disc golf course. Air potatoes are an invasive species that strangles and covers native plants. The volunteers enjoyed a picnic lunch following the project and a few volunteers practiced throwing discs with guidance from Mike Hepner, an advanced disc golf player. Naturalist guides with Around the Bend Nature Tours were also on hand to share insights about the local habitat and wildlife. Photos by Randy Moore.
- Sarasota Bay Awards Program April 4, 2012
SBEP hosted the first ever Sarasota Bay Awards Program Wednesday, April 4 at Powel Crosley Mansion. More than 140 guests attended including community leaders and representatives from many organizations that are involved with helping to restore and protect Sarasota Bay. Blue Dolphin Awards were presented to Charles Edwards, a long term volunteer with the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee, Jack Merriam, the recently retired environmental manager with Sarasota County, Martha B. King Middle School in Bradenton, a major supporter of the Bay Guardians volunteer program, Raindrops Cisterns, a Sarasota business focused on rainwater harvesting, and Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, a non-profit group that has protected sea turtles, shorebirds and their habitat for more than three decades. SBEP Policy Board members presented the awards. They included Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton, Manatee County Commissioner Michael Gallen, City of Bradenton Commissioner Marianne Barnebey, and Town of Longboat Key Commissioner Lynn Larson. Mark Alderson, the Director of SBEP also presented an award. Sara Kane with SBEP welcomed guests and Randy Moore, the owner of Triple 3 Marketing served as the master of ceremonies. The event sponsors included Stantec, Reef Innovations, Inc. Scheda Ecological Associates, Janicki Environmental, Inc. and Triple 3 Marketing, LLC. Congratulations to the 2012 Blue Dolphin Award Recipients. Photos by Kimberly Dyer.
- Bay Guardians at Quick Point Preserve March 10, 2012
A group of 56 Bay Guardian volunteers removed invasive plants and debris at Quick Point Preserve on Longboat Key while learning more about local wildlife and habitat from guides with Around the Bend Nature Tours. The volunteers included students, teachers and parents with Martha B. King Middle School of Bradenton, Future Leaders Academy of Sarasota and high school interns with Mote Marine Laboratory. The 34-acre preserve with 3,000 feet of shoreline features scenic vistas and opportunities for viewing birds and other wildlife. Paved trails and boardwalks provide convenient access to the man-made tidal lagoons. Thank you to all of the student and adult volunteers who participated. Photos by Randy Moore and Sara Kane.
- CAC Field Trip to Celery Fields March 5, 2012
Members of the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) enjoyed a field trip to Celery Fields in Sarasota County on Palmer Boulevard. Jeanne Dubi with Sarasota Audubon gave a brief overview about the major water drainage project that has also become a popular birding destination. More than 200 bird species have been seen by photographers and other wildlife enthusiasts. The Big Cat Habitat is located next door to provide visitors with a second interesting destination. Many other citizens enjoy Celery Fields as a place to exercise. That includes bikers and joggers attracted to the challenge of going up and down the large mound that dominates the area. Photos by Randy Moore and Sara Kane.
- SBEP New Year Holiday Social January 9, 2012
Members of the SBEP staff and Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) enjoyed a New Year holiday social at Plymouth Harbor between Bird Key and St. Armand’s Circle. Lou Newman, a noted bird and wildlife photographer and a resident of Plymouth Harbor gave a tour of the nearby rookery. Mark Alderson, the Director of SBEP and Sara Kane, the Public Outreach Coordinator acknowledged the CAC members for their ongoing contributions. Some family members also attended. Click here to see the bios of the current CAC members. Other guests at the holiday social included Randy and Bryan Moore with Triple 3 Marketing and Patti Cross. Photos by Christine Sciarrino and Randy Moore.
- Bay Wise Kayak Tours of Sarasota Bay January 7, 2012
The first seven photos below were taken by Beth Anderson on a trip to Leffis and Jewfish Key in early January. Brad Tanner took the remaining photos on excursions to Leffis Key, Jewfish Key, Otter Key, and the Lido Mangrove Tunnels.
SBEP provides 10 free kayak tours of popular destinations throughout Sarasota Bay every year from December through April. The tours are led by Brad Tanner, a professional guide who also works as the school programs coordinator for Mote Marine Laboratory. Upcoming trips include Lido Mangrove Tunnels in February, Blind Pass in March, and Lyons and Blackburn Bay in April. Click here to learn more about the free kayak trips and to access links for online registration.
- Bay Guardians at FISH Preserve November 5, 2011
A group of 52 Bay Guardian volunteers removed invasive plants at FISH Preserve while also learning about the local habitat from guides with Around the Bend Nature Tours. The volunteers included students, teachers and parents from King Middle School. Representatives of the Cortez Fishing Village provided a lunch featuring smoked mullet. FISH Preserve is a 95-acre parcel adjacent to Sarasota Bay in Manatee County. FISH, which stands for Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, is a non-profit organization that purchased the property in 1999 to help restore, conserve and protect the upland and wetland habitats and adjacent waters. SBEP is supporting the ongoing restoration. Photos by Randy Moore and Christine Sciarrino.
- King High Tides Photo Project November 1, 2011
As part of the EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program, SBEP and the public living in our watershed participated in this years King Tide Photo Project. During the last week of October the Sarasota Bay area had high, or “King,” tides of over two feet. King tides occur when the moon and sun align on one side of the Earth and their gravitational forces combine to create higher tides than normal. While these tides are natural occurrences, they provide local communities with a sneak-peak of what the landscape may look like in future decades with sea level rises. These photos were taken by Christine Sciarrino except the two horizontal side by side images taken by Tim Rummage. Click here to see more photos from around the Florida Gulf Coast.
- National Estuaries Day 2011 September 24, 2011
SBEP and Around the Bend Nature Tours hosted a fun community event at Ken Thompson Park on Saturday, September 24. The event kicked off with more than 83 volunteers picking up litter on City Island as part of Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers from the SBEP Bay Guardians, King Middle School, Southeast High School, Sarasota Young Professionals Group, and Sarasota Military Academy participated. People of all ages visited the exhibitors throughout the day and the event culminated in a well attended show at the Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team practice area. Photos by Randy Moore and Ann Cruickshank.
- All About Water Open House July 16, 2011
The SBEP had an information and stormwater pollution exhibit at this small community event hosted by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. The setting was the scenic Bay Preserve in Osprey located on Palmetto Avenue. Other exhibitors promoting green living ideas such as composting and the use of rain barrels included Sarasota County, City of Sarasota, County Extension Services, and Around the Bend Nature Tours. The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is a private, nonprofit land trust, one of only 130 land trusts accredited by the National Land Trust Accreditation Board. Visit www.conservationfoundation.com to learn more. Photos by Randy Moore.
- Bay Guardian Volunteers at North Lido Beach Park July 9, 2011
More than 80 SBEP Bay Guardian volunteers worked with Around the Bend Nature Tours and Sarasota County to plant 2,065 native plants at the new tidal tributary located in the North Lido Beach Park. This was one of the largest planting events ever held in the region. Plants were donated by Sarasota County and the American Littoral Society. Some of the plants being used were grown at Mote Marine Laboratory’s Mote Aquaculture Park based in Sarasota. Lunch was provided by The Florida Native Plant Society. The new tidal tributary at North Lido Beach Park was completed in March. The restoration project improved 30 acres on the 70 acre site by removing non-native vegetation, excavating the tidal wetlands, contouring the upland area, creating dunes, and planting thousands of native plants. Major funding support came from Southwest Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Click here to learn more about the Bay Guardians. Photos by Sara Kane and Randy Moore.
- Bay Guardians at Emerson Point Preserve June 4, 2011
A group of 55 Bay Guardian volunteers worked with Around the Bend Nature Tours and Manatee Natural Resources to plant 250 plants at the popular preserve in Palmetto. Other participating groups included Boy Scout Troop 111 and the Marine Scene 4H Marine Science Club. These photos were taken by Sara Kane. Click here to learn more about the Bay Guardians.
- CAC members visit Perico and Neal Preserve May 16, 2011
Members of the SBEP Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) took a field trip May 16 to Manatee County to learn more about two developments being managed by the Manatee County Natural Resources Department. Charlie Hunsicker, the department director, and Melissa Nell, the department’s manager of education and volunteers gave a tour of Neal Preserve. Damon Moore, an ecologist with Wilson Miller Stantec, answered questions about plans for restoring a designated piece of land near Perico Bayou. Damon and Melissa both serve as members of the CAC.
Ingrid McClellan, the executive director of Keep Manatee County Beautiful was also on hand to give an update about the enhancements made on state road 64 leading onto Anna Maria Island as part of the Florida Scenic Highway Program. Other field trip attendees included Mark Alderson, the SBEP director, Sara Kane, the SBEP outreach coordinator, Karen Fraley with Around the Bend Nature Tours, Randy Moore with Triple 3 Marketing, and CAC members Lou Newman, Christine Callahan, Brad Tanner, Wayne Douchkoff, Kendra Garrett, and Sarah Hirsch. Mr. Newman took these candid photos along with the interesting close-ups of nearby cotton plants.
- FISH Preserve Restoration Progress October 19, 2011
The first phase of restoration has been completed at this 95-acre area located next to Sarasota Bay east of Anna Maria Island. FISH is an acronym for Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, a non-profit group that purchased the property in 1999 to help restore and protect the estuarine ecosystem and adjacent waters. The initial phase involved mangrove restoration, the removal of exotic plants, and the development of a design plan. A number of bridges have been constructed to connect hiking trails. Kayak trails have also been developed for greater public access and to increase tidal flow. Many area schools have already visited FISH Preserve as a field learning site. Future restoration will focus on additional removal of exotic plants, the development of more kayak trails, and the development of two stormwater retention ponds. The SBEP and the US Fish Wildlife Service are funding the project. Scheda Ecological has been contracted to complete construction on the site. Many other oganizations have provided support including The Audubon Society, The Ocean Trust, West Coast Inland Navigation District, The William and Marie Selby Foundation, Manatee County Board of Commissioners, The Organized Fishermen of Florida, First America Foundation, and the entire membership of FISH.
- Girl Scouts Complete Environmental Project at Camp Honi Hanta October 15, 2011
Twenty Girl Scouts with support from adult volunteers planted 475 plants at Camp Honi Hanta. The 130-acre Girl Scout Camp is located on the shores of the Braden River in Manatee County. The project involved removing an old concrete seawall and restoring the shoreline to a more natural habitat. The Girl Scouts did the planting after the seawall was removed by heavy equipment. Plants were selected to help prevent future erosion and attract wildlife that can support future environmental study. SBEP provided funding support for the project. Florida Native Nursery in Plant City donated the plants. Diane Rosensweig with Scheda Ecological provided consulting support. Russ Hoffman with Beautiful Ponds organized the project. Environmental preservation and education is an integral part of the Girl Scout experience locally and nationally. The photos by Diane Rosensweig show before and after images.
- Herb Dolan Living Shore Project July 28, 2011
Woodruff & Sons, a local construction company working with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, recently completed a restoration project at Herb Dolan Park located in the City of Bradenton Beach. The “living shoreline” project, the first of its kind in Sarasota Bay, involved removing existing concrete rubble and replacing it with a fortified, yet naturally sloping shoreline. The project was completed by planting native vegetation. A kayak and canoe launch was also built to allow public access to the Bay. The Southwest Florida Water Management District and the US Fish and Wildlife Service were major supporters of the project. Scheda Ecological Associates prepared the plans and coordinated the construction process.
- North Lido Beach Restoration April 15, 2011
Local contractors working with the SBEP completed the development of a new tidal tributary at North Lido Park adjacent to the beach access in March. The major restoration project will improve about 30 acres on the 70 acre site. The project involved removing non-native vegetation, excavating the tidal wetland, contouring the upland area, creating dunes, and planting thousands of native plants. Major funding for the project comes from Southwest Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other project partners include the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County. Community supporters included the Lido Shores Property Owners Association, Lido Key Residents Association, Sarasota Audubon Society, and Captain Jeffrey Karr with the Sarasota Police Department. Jay Leverone, PhD, the staff scientist with the SBEP took most of the photos.
Bay Partners Grant Program
- Nature’s Academy Supports Prine Elementary School October 6, 2012
Nature’s Academy completed a SBEP Bay Partners Grant as part of their Island Adventures Program targeting fifth graders in Manatee County as well as additional students in Pinellas County. The program involves a nature walk in the field, seagrass ecology dip netting, learning about water quality, a coastal clean-up project, and conservation projects that enable the students to share the things they are learning with other students, teachers and community members. These photos showcase students from Prine Elementary School in Manatee County. Dana Pounds with Nature’s Academy indicates that one of her community goals is to provide environmental education to every fifth grader in Manatee and Pinellas County by 2020. Congratulations to everyone that supports the effort to educate and inspire area students about the importance of ecology and Bay stewardship in support of Sarasota Bay. Nature’s Academy is an example of a local business that cares about the environment and education. Photos by Sara Kane and Sara McCutheon.
- Sunbow Bay Open House March 24, 2012
Sunbow Bay Condo Association held a successful open house for its residents and visitors to showcase their impressive progress in converting turf into Bay-friendly landscaping. The property located at Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island was supported by SBEP Bay Partners Grants in 2010 and 2011. Girl Scout Troup 536 from Bradenton sold lemonade to raise funds for an upcoming trip. Congratulations to Denise and Don Elliott and the Sunbow Bay Condo Association Board for their successful project planting 3,500 square feet of native Florida-friendly plants. The property contains a tidal estuary stream, lagoon, swales, and detention and retention ponds. Photos by Randy Moore and Sara Kane.
- Low Impact Development Expo at Twin Lakes Park March 23, 2012
One hundred guests attended the area’s first ever Low Impact Development Expo at the Sarasota County Extension Office located at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota. The event featured expert speakers from the area and other communities in Florida. Examples of low impact development products and techniques include green roofs, vertical walls, planter vaults, pervious pavement, native plants, rain gardens, specialty soil products and water cisterns. Expert speakers also explained some of the local LID projects including the Honore Avenue Design Build Project and the West Dearborn Street LID Pilot Project in Englewood. Congratulations to the event organizer Angela Maraj. Angela was supported by a SBEP Bay Partners Grant. Low impact development is one of the SBEP priorities because of its benefit to local water bodies associated with Sarasota Bay and its watersheds. Photos by Randy Moore.
- Florida-Friendly Landscape Project at the Ed McBean Boys & Girls Club June 14, 2011
A group of children at the Boys & Girls Club worked with staff from Wilhelm Brothers Landscape Maintenance Company and Extension Staff with University of Florida/IFAS to install landscaping to upgrade the visual presentation of the main building on 21st Street in Sarasota. What a difference some new plants and hard work can make. This project was funded by Southwest Florida Water Management District and the SBEP who provided funding for the plants and related materials. The City of Sarasota provided mulch and Phil Smith with DWJA Landscape Architect designed the plan. Congratulations to everyone involved for a job well done!
Southwest Florida Water Management District
- Manatee County World Beneath the Waves 2011 April 30, 2011
Manatee County Natural Resources used a SBEP Bay Partner Grant to help develop their novel program that merged recreation (kayaking) with environmental education. More than 100 participants learned practical marine life collection techniques as well as tips on how to identify common marine life that live in Sarasota Bay. Six workshops were held during the grant period at Robinson Preserve, Neal Preserve and Leffis Key. Most of the participants were school teachers and special interest educators focused on environmental education. Sarah Mitchell took these photos. Click here to like Manatee County Natural Resources on Facebook to stay in the loop about all of their interesting programs and events.
- Mote Marine’s Internship Program Completes Study November 18, 2009
Mote Marine Laboratory’s High School Internship Program used a SBEP Bay Partners Grant to collect baseline data in the New Pass Estuary. Students sampled local seagrass beds; measuring seagrass height, animal biodiversity and water quality. Students used dip nets, buckets and aerators to collect marine animals. With the use of new field guides, they were able to identify the individual species and record their findings. The data collected from the seagrass assessment can now be compared against future samples to monitor changes in the health of the estuary. The seagrass assessment project also included a public outreach element. The interns shared their findings with parents, staff, volunteers and the general public during an oral presentation held at Mote Marine Laboratory’s Immersion Cinema. Click here to learn more about the SBEP Bay Partners Grant Program.
- PIER Fieldtrip by Booker Elementary Kindergarten October 20, 2011
A group of local kindergarten students from Booker Elementary participated in a PIER Field Trip to Ken Thompson Park. PIER stands for Protection, Involvement, Education, and Restoration. Its purpose is to educate students about local coastal ecology while promoting the benefits of environmental stewardship. Nearly 37,000 students have participated in PIER since the program started in 2003. The field trips give area students an opportunity to experience the beauty of Sarasota Bay while learning more about local habitat, aquatic life, birds, and other wildlife. Around the Bend Nature Tours provides professional naturalists to support the field trips. Christine McCormick, a New College student who also works with Around the Bend Nature Tours did a presentation about the sand fiddler crab and answered questions. Photos by Sara Kane.
- LID Class at Sarasota Military Academy May 15, 2011
Around the Bend Nature Tours developed a Low Impact Development (LID) Field Study for the SBEP PIER Program as part of the Sarasota Environmental Council’s Science Field Trips Program. LID is a method of treating stormwater to mimic nature. Karen Fraley made a power point presentation to the Sarasota Military Academy’s environmental science class on May 15. After learning the basic principals used in LID design, students designed their own system for the Oscar Scherer State Park nature center area to include the use of rain barrels (cisterns), rain gardens, permeable pavers, tree box filters, soil amendments, and green roofs. The project included a follow up field trip to Oscar Scherer to test water quality at four locations and a guided walk to observe native habitat.
- Myakka River State Park September 4, 2011
Randy Moore, Bryan Moore and their amazing dog Diego recently visited Myakka Park for a short hike that included climbing the 74-foot tower and canopy walkway. Completed in 2000 after 2,571 hours of construction time, the unique structure was the first public treetop trail in North America. It offers an impressive view of treetops, wetlands, prairie, and hammock habitat. The vista also provides views of eagles, hawks, vultures, and other wildlife. Myakka Park has many great hiking trails for all levels, a bike rental, birding opportunities, a canoe and kayak rental, fishing, horse trails, camping, picnic and pavilion areas, a restaurant, and a gift store with camping and fishing supplies. Learn more about this popular nature destination at www.myakkariver.org. Randy and Bryan work for Triple 3 Marketing to support the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and other clients. Diego is the company mascot and manager of community outreach.
- Phillippi Creek April 1, 2011
- Mangrove Tunnels March 25, 2011