Have you ever wondered what a U-Haul van packed full of native plants looks like? Wonder no longer! Cedar Point Environmental Park purchased all these beautiful natives from Sweet Bay Nursery for a project they have been working on: installing new native gardens at Lemon Bay High School. Two beds have already been filled with ethnobotany-themed plants that the local indigenous tribes, like the Calusa, Seminole, and Miccosukee, have historically utilized. These plants will be added to two new beds, one showcasing the unique Florida scrub habitat, and the other will be a wildflower pollinator garden!
Support sea turtles by purchasing one of these beautiful sea turtle bracelets in the gift shop at Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, 880 Belcher Road on Boca Grande. Handmade right here in Florida! A portion of the proceeds are donated to rescue, rehab, and (hopefully) release sea turtles back into Florida waters. If you can’t make it to the shop, email firstname.lastname@example.org and your purchase can be mailed to you. Shop hours at the lighthouse are 11am to 4pm, Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, contact the Barrier Island Parks Society at 941•964•0060
Seagrass Monitor Volunteers Sought The Charlotte County UF/IFAS Extension Service and Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership are seeking volunteers to participate in the Eyes on Seagrass monitoring program to document the health and status of seagrass in upper Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay. The summer survey will take place Monday, July 11-Monday, July 25. Participants must form teams of at least three and receive training ahead of their first-time sampling. Sea Grant will provide monitoring equipment, a dive flag, and a cooler for samples. Teams will be responsible for transportation to their assigned sites via boat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, as well as their own water shoes, mask, snorkel, fins, and floatation device if preferred. A training session will be held on Thursday, July 7, 4 to 6pm, at Mid-County Library, 2050 Forrest Nelson Blvd., Pt. Charlotte. Registration: www.eos.eventbrite.com. On Saturday, July 23, there will be an all-day event at Laishley Marina Pavilion, 120 Laishley Ct., Punta Gorda. This event from 8:30am to 4pm will provide an opportunity for volunteers to receive training, connect with other volunteer team members, and launch for sampling. Snacks will be provided. Register at www.eosvs.eventbrite.com. For information, contact Kate Rose at email@example.com or 941•764•4346 or Jessica Scott-Dunda at JScott-Dunda@chnep.org or 941-575-3374.
Sea Turtles Everywhere
Friends of Stump Pass and Barrier Island Parks Society are hosting a free educational program about sea turtles on Wednesday, July 13, 8:30am, at Stump Pass Beach State Park. If you are curious about sea turtle nesting habits, behaviors, what they eat, the environment they live in, how big they get, and how to better protect them, you won’t want to miss this program! The program’s purpose is to raise awareness, foster stewardship, and preservation of the sea turtles that nest on the local beaches every year. Be sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, water, bug repellent and $3 for FL State Park Use Fee. RSVP at www.bips.org. Also offered Saturday, July 23, and Saturday, August 13.
Sunrise Beach Walk
Join Ann Risberg and Linda Manley from the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society for a Sunrise Beach Walk on Thursday, July 14, 8 to 9:30am, at Blind Pass Middle Beach, 7770 Manasota Key Rd. While not really at sunrise, the walk starts early to avoid as much of the heat as possible and still be able to see the summer side of beach plants. Summer is the time when Florida flowers put forth their best. The walk on the Duisberg Trail goes through shady areas as well as the sunny beach. No registration is necessary; just meet in the parking lot near the trail entrance in the north parking lot. The walk is anticipated to last about 90 minutes, but less if the heat is oppressive. Please be sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, water bug repellent and $3 for FL State Park Use fee. More information about the Mangrove Chapter can be found at www.mangrove.fnpschapters.org.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping 101
Learn the basics of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ 101 approach, and how it can help you and save you money on Thursday, July 14, 11am to noon. This free webinar is offered by UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County and will teach you the basics of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program and the nine principles that can help you have a successful, beautiful landscape while protecting natural resources. Please register for this event only at ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com. For more information, please call 941-861-5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) Activities
On these casual walks with CHEC volunteers, you will search for and learn about plants, animals, fungi, and more that live in Charlotte County preserves. Prepare for each walk with plenty of water, insect repellent, sunscreen, and clothing that will protect you from insects and plants. Advance registration is required. The health and safety policies for CHEC programs are subject to change. For information on programs, mask requirements and Covid-19 safety precautions, please call 941-475-0769 or email email@example.com. Go to www.CHECflorida.org for a complete program calendar. Tippecanoe II Mitigation Preserve Join CHEC on a guided walk on Saturday, July 2, 8am, through Tippecanoe II Mitigation Preserve, 16259 Joppa Avenue, Port Charlotte. This 150-acre preserve is home to several families of the threatened Florida scrub jay. Meet in the parking lot. Register at 941-475-0769. Amberjack Environmental Park Join CHEC on a guided walk on at Tuesday, July 5, 8am, through the scrub and pine flatwoods of 217-acre Amberjack Environmental Park, 6250 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. Meet at the end of Gasparilla Pines Blvd. All participants are required to register by calling 941-475-0769. Also offered Tuesday, July 19, and Saturday, July 30 at 8am. Tippecanoe Environmental Park Join CHEC on a guided walk through 308-acre Tippecanoe Environmental Park on Friday, July 8 at 8am. This Charlotte County park includes habitats such as scrub, pine flatwoods, marsh, and wetlands. Meet behind the Charlotte County Sports Park at 2400 El Jobean Road. Please call 941-475-0769 to register or for more information. Nighttime Seagrass Wading Trip Come explore the Cedar Point Park’s nocturnal side on Friday, July 8 at 7:45pm. This trip will meet behind the Visitor Center at 2300 Placida Road one hour before sunset and take a short-guided hike through the park down to the vibrant waters of Lemon Bay. There, you will have the chance to wade into the water right at sunset with nets and buckets to see what creatures can be observed living in the seagrass flats as day turns to night. All animals will be released at the end of the program. The price is $15 per person, and children must be 8 years or older to attend. Headlamps and glowsticks will be provided to use in the dark while in the water, but you are welcome to use your own flashlights on the night hike back to the visitor center. Please bring plenty of drinking water, wear bug spray, and wear comfortable walking shoes that can also be worn in the water. Trips are limited to 12 participants total. For more information or to make reservations, please call 941-475-0769 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ann & Chuck Dever Park Join CHEC on a guided walk on Tuesday, July 9, 8am, through the old-growth pine flatwoods and mangrove fringe of 125-acre Ann & Chuck Dever Regional Park, 6961 San Casa Drive. Meet at the San Casa entrance. Register at 941-475-0769. Also offered Tuesday, July 26 at 8am. Bayshore Live Oak Park Join CHEC on a walk at Bayshore Live Oak Park on Friday, July 15 at 8am along the shoreline of Charlotte Harbor, 23157 Bayshore Road, Pt. Charlotte, to explore the various mangrove species found there. Covered will be mangrove identification, general ecology including special adaptations that allow mangroves to thrive in salty environments, and why mangroves are important and protected in Florida. Call 941-475-0769 to register. Seagrass Wading Trip On Sunday, July 17, join CHEC for a free wading adventure through the seagrass beds of Lemon Bay! All participants will be guided approximately a half-mile to the wading site, where they will collect and view creatures of the bay. Participants will need to wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that may get wet during the trip. Participants are also encouraged to wear sunscreen and insect repellent and to bring plenty of drinking water. Advance registration is required by calling 941-475-0769. Trips fill up fast! Meet at 9am in the Cedar Point Visitor Center, 2300 Placida Rd.
LBC Guided Nature Walks
The free guided nature walks shown below are sponsored by Lemon Bay Conservancy (LBC) and will be held at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. Please come prepared for a hike. The preserve can be “buggy” this time of year. Consider wearing long sleeves and long pants. Water, a hat, sunscreen, bug spray and hiking shoes are recommended. Some people like to bring a walking pole. Binoculars are useful for observing more distant birds and other animals. Guided Nature Walk Join Tonya and Steve Bramlage on a short walk through the heart of the Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve on Saturday, July 16 from 9am to 10:30am. Come along to discover both upland and aquatic plants growing in this compact, dense, eco-friendly environment. You will observe a variety of soil and land elevations. Wildflower Preserve provides an amazing array of native plants and wildlife in the summer months. This walk is accessible for everyone and never fails to deliver rare sights and nature’s delights. This walk is open to the public! Note that the preserve can be “buggy” and warm this time of year. Come prepared for a walk in the woods. Bug spray, sunscreen and water are recommended. Also offered Saturday, July 30 at 9am. The preserve is located at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd.