November 30, 2023 at 2:28 p.m.
If You See an Injured Animal on the Road – What to Do
The Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida shares the following information on steps to take if you see an injured animal on the road. With increased traffic and longer night time hours this time of year, there is an increase in animal-related accidents on roadways.
If you accidentally hit an animal with your vehicle or see someone else hit an animal with their vehicle, please stop. You could save their life. At the rapid rate in which we are losing our precious wildlife, each and every animal is important to save. Here are some tips to remember:
• Animals are most active during dusk and dawn (between 4-6am and 6-11pm)
• Pull off the road and use your hazard lights, safety first.
• If the animal is dead, move it to the side of the road (this could save the life of carrion eaters like birds of prey)
• If alive and you can safely secure the animal in a container, transport it to the closest wildlife center. (Remember stressed animals are likely to bite; be careful and use gloves or a towel when possible.)
• If alive and not something you can contain, please call our center from the scene at 941•484•9657 and we can send someone to help bring it in.
IMPORTANT: Petting wild animals does not soothe, it stresses! Stress alone can kill an animal, especially one already injured.
The Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida is located at 925 N. Jackson Road, Venice. Website: wildlifeswfl.org.
Mangrove Chapter FNPS News
The mission of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. The Mangrove Chapter serves Charlotte County and southern Sarasota County. Visit them online at mangrove.fnpschapters.org. For more information, contact them at [email protected].
Carlton Reserve Walk
Join the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and member Dr. Mary Davis for a walk at the Carlton Reserve, 1800 Mabry Carlton Pkwy, Venice. The walk is Wednesday, December 6, 9:30 to 11am, and you will learn about the flatwoods/dry prairie habitats of this region and how fire, water, and grazing shape the plant communities. Meet at the first parking lot off the entrance road. Be prepared for wet feet, sun, and mosquitos. Bring a bag lunch or snack to eat at the nearby picnic shelter after the walk for more discussion with Mary and other participants. The public is welcome to attend. For more information, contact [email protected].
Sleeping Turtles Preserve Walk
Join the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and Dr. Bill Dunson for a nature walk on Friday, December 8, 9 to 11am, at the Sleeping Turtles Preserve-North (Rohlwing), 3601 Border Rd. Venice. The 2-mile loop walk will trail along the entire eastern edge of the preserve which is bordered by the Myakka River and is prone to either drying up or periodic flooding. Thus, the predominant habitat at Rohlwing is a type of riparian (riverside) oak forest that is uncommon. Members and non-members are invited to attend, but Bill asks that anyone who is ill to not participate. Please, no smoking/vaping and no dogs. Park across from the trail entrance. For more information, contact [email protected].
The Mangrove Chapter of the Native Plant Society will hold its monthly chapter meeting on Tuesday, December 12, 1pm, at Lemon Bay Park & Environmental Center, 570 Bay Park Blvd. The program will be “Mangrove Chapter Grants: Past and Present”, an informative program presented by retired environmental resource manager, Bobbi Rodgers. Bobbi will explain the Mangrove Chapter Grants Program and the goals that were met in reaching out to the public in the grant capacity. The process and landscape outcomes will be shared by several past grant recipients. Finally, the 2023-24 grant cycle will be explained to encourage new applicants. BYOPicnic social at 12:15pm. Both members and non-members are welcome to attend. For more information, contact [email protected].
Stump Pass Walk Cancelled
The nature walk scheduled for Sunday, December 17th at Stump Pass Beach State Park has been cancelled. The Mangrove Chapter hopes to reschedule it at a future date.
Bill Coy Preserve Nature Walk
Join the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and leaders, Linda and Dave Manley, for a sunset stroll on Wednesday, December 20, 4:30pm, at the Bill Coy Preserve at Buck Creek, 5350 Placida Rd. View native habitat of scrubby flatwoods and mesic pine flatwoods, which transition into coastal hammock and mangrove swamp along the creek. Meet in the first parking lot. The public is welcome to attend. For more information, contact [email protected].
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. Go to CHECflorida.org for a complete program calendar and registration links. For more information on programs, please call 941•475•0769 or email [email protected].
Guided Hike at Cedar Point
Join CHEC for a free guided tour of the beautiful 115-acre Cedar Point Environmental Park on Friday, December 1 at 9am. Meet outside the Cedar Point Visitor Center at 2300 Placida Road. To register, fill out the online form at checflorida.org or call 941•475•0769.
Ann & Chuck Dever Park Walk
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the old-growth pine flatwoods and mangrove fringe of the 137-acre Anne & Chuck Dever Regional Park on Saturday, December 2 at 9am. Meet at the entrance at 6791 San Casa Drive. Register online at checfl.org or call 941•475•0769. Also offered Saturday, December 23 at 9am.
Bill Coy Preserve
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the 81-acre Bill Coy Preserve on Monday, December 4 at 9am. The scrubby flatwoods and mangrove swamp border Buck Creek, which flows into Lemon Bay. Meet in the parking lot at 5350 Placida Road. To register, fill out the form online at checflorida.org or call 941•475•0769 for more information.
Amberjack Environmental Park
Join CHEC on a guided walk through the scrub and pine flatwoods of 225-acre Amberjack Environmental Park on Wednesday, December 6 at 9am. Meet at 6250 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., where the street dead ends. To register, fill out the form online at checflorida.org or call 941•475•0769. Also offered on Monday, December 11 and Wednesday, December 20 at 9am.
Tippecanoe II Mitigation Preserve
Join CHEC on a guided walk on Saturday, December 9, 9am, 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. Please register online at checflorida.org or call 941•475•0769 for more information.
Volunteer Monthly Meeting
Join CHEC for a Volunteer Meeting on Monday, December 11, 10am to noon at Cedar Point, 2300 Placida Road. Free snacks and coffee will be offered along with a presentation of the park, its programs, and volunteer opportunities. To conclude, participants will contribute to Keep Charlotte Florida Beautiful’s “International Coastal Cleanup” campaign by participating in a cleanup at the park. Advance registration is required. To register, please call 941•475•0769 or email [email protected].
Bayshore Live Oak Park
Join CHEC on a walk at Bayshore Oak Park along the shoreline of Charlotte Harbor on Wednesday, December 13, 9am, to explore the various mangrove species found there. Covered will be mangrove identification, special adaptions that allow mangroves to thrive in salty environments, and why mangroves are important and protected in Florida. Bayshore Park is located at 23157 Bayshore Road, Port Charlotte. Please register by filling out the form online at checflorida.org or by calling 941•475•0769. Also offered Wednesday, December 27 at 9am.
Oyster Creek Park Walk
Join CHEC on a guided walk through old-growth pine flatwoods, scrub habitat and mangrove fringe of the 135-acre Oyster Creek Environmental Park on Saturday, December 16 at 9am. Meet in the parking lot at 2333 Placida Road next to Lemon Bay High School. Please register by filling out the form online at checflorida.org or by calling 941•475•0769.
Lemon Bay Conservancy News
The free guided nature walks and activities shown below are sponsored by Lemon Bay Conservancy and will be held at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood. 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. Website: lemonbayconservancy.org.
You are invited to join Susy D’Hont for a guided walk on Saturday, December 2, at 8am. Participants will become fully immersed as they learn and encounter the everchanging natural sights at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. This is an ideal walk for everyone who is interested in becoming familiar with the various birds, plants, flowers, and history of the Preserve. Participants should wear closed-toe walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, bug spray, water, and binoculars.
Guided Paddle Tour
Lemon Bay Conservancy invites you to join their paddle team for their guided paddle tour in Lemon Bay on Monday, December 4th at Indian Mound Park, 210 Winson Avenue. Launch is scheduled for 9:30am prompt. This paddle is the next in the series that will include an exploration along the north shoreline around Lemon Bay. Examining both the positive and not so positive shoreline conditions observed, the impact on sea grasses will be an ideal topic for group discussion. This trip will be approximately two hours long, depending on weather conditions. Although the variety of paddlers’ abilities will be considered, it is recommended that paddlers can paddle comfortably for two hours. Paddlers must provide their own kayaks, paddles, PDF, whistle, sunscreen, water and a sense of humor. Participants are requested to sign up by 4pm on Sunday, December 3 by calling either Charlie Woodruff at 914•799•0664.
LBC Family Day Program
You are invited to join LBC for their upcoming “Family Explore” on Saturday, December 9, 9 to 10:30 am, at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. December’s program, “Common Ground”, focuses on the land. Explore the unique character of the ground on which you walk on in Southwest Florida, some thoughtful precautions worth considering, and the real hidden treasures that can be discovered when you know where and what to look for. Please be sure to bring your water bottle, wear closed-toe shoes, a hat, sunscreen and bug spray, as this is an outdoor event.
Butterfly Habitat Walk
Maura Qualls and Ann Weaver will lead a walking tour through the Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve Butterfly Habitat on Thursday, December 14 at 9am. Meet at the Members entrance area, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. Join them to examine the many plants, flowers, and pollinators that are present in the butterfly garden. There will be a discussion on how you can establish your own native butterfly and pollinator habitat and the tour will provide an up-close look at nectar and host plants, both native and Florida friendly. Please bring your binoculars, camera, water bottle, sunscreen, and bug repellent. All participants should wear comfortable, protective attire, especially footwear.
Tarpon Net Pull
Attention all new and returning Tarpon net pull volunteers! The next Tarpon pull event will be on Saturday, December 16 at 8am. First, the seine net will be loaded along with other equipment in the Jon boat before using the UTV to tow the boat over to the ponds located by Fiddlers Green. Please use the Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve parking lot and plan to meet at the equipment shed at 7:45am. After loading the equipment, volunteers will drive over to Fiddlers Green, 6800 Placida Road, and use the car park. The actual net pull will get underway around 8:30am, starting with the smaller of the two ponds. If you have waders, please bring them along with gloves, a hat, water, and mosquito repellant. Please contact Malcolm Collingwood at 917•915•1076 or [email protected] to RSVP for the event. This event is open to everyone interested in participating.
Guided Paddle Tour
Lemon Bay Conservancy invites you to join their paddle team for their next guided paddle tour in Lemon Bay on Monday, December 18th at Indian Mound Park, 210 Winson Avenue. Launch is scheduled for 9:30am prompt. This paddle is the next in the series that will include an exploration along the south shoreline around Lemon Bay. Examining both the positive and not so positive shoreline conditions observed, the impact on sea grasses will be an ideal topic for group discussion. This trip will be approximately two hours long, depending on weather conditions. Although the variety of paddlers’ abilities will be considered, it is recommended that participants can paddle comfortably for two hours. Paddlers must provide their own kayaks, paddles, PDF, whistle, sunscreen, water and a sense of humor. Participants are requested to sign up by 4pm on Sunday, December 17 by calling either Charlie Woodruff at 914•799•0664.
Wildflower Preserve Walk
Please join Lemon Bay Conservancy volunteers Paul Townsend and Steve Bramlage on Tuesday, December 19 at 9am as they lead participants on an approximately 1/3 mile walk through the Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. During this introductory guided walking tour, you can expect to see upland and wading birds, native and Florida-friendly plants, butterflies and other insects, freshwater and brackish pond water environments, the Labyrinth on the Hill, and other panoramic views, all in the course of one hour. Everyone is welcome to attend, please feel free to invite your friends, neighbors, and family to come along and enjoy the morning.
Rock Painting Workshop
You are invited to join LBC for a free rock garden painting session on Wednesday, December 27, 5pm, at the outdoor classroom area in the meadow at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve located at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Boulevard. Paint, brushes, some cocktail napkins, Mod Podge for decoupage, and several different types of acrylic pens for group use will be provided. Instructor Bonnie Stuhlmiller will assist in picking out rocks with natural character. A monthly guided labyrinth walk follows the session at 6pm.
Guided Labyrinth Walk
The Labyrinth on the Hill monthly guided walk is Wednesday, December 27, 6 to 7pm, at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Boulevard. Located at the top of a berm overlooking all four directions of the Preserve, the labyrinth offers walkers a winding, circular path that leads participants to the center and then back out again. Tonya Bramlage and Lary Stuhlmiller offer guidelines before leading you on this meditative, peaceful walk through the labyrinth. Afterwards there will be a time to share and Q&A.
Venice Audubon Society News
The Venice Area Audubon Society serves south Sarasota County and offers activities, educational programs, birding field trips, and provides support for birds and wildlife with a pollinator garden & native plants at the Venice Area Audubon Rookery Park, located at 4002 S. Tamiami Trail via Annex Road, Venice. New members are welcome. Learn more at veniceaudubon.org or email [email protected].
Oscar Scherer Weekly Bird Walks
Venice Area Audubon Society offers a guided bird walk at Oscar Scherer State Park every Thursday at 8:30am. A Venice Audubon Society walk leader is provided on the first two Thursdays of the month (first Thursday: Bill Fairbank; second Thursday: Rick Cordner). The third, fourth and fifth Thursdays are guided by Peter Brown of Sarasota Audubon. Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, is a wildlife haven surrounded by suburban development and is noted for scrub jays and bald eagles and other birds and wildlife. Parking fee is $5 per car. The trails are sandy. Walks cover about two miles and take about two hours. Registration is appreciated but not required at veniceaudubon.org.
Crowley Museum Field Trip
Bill Fairbank will host a field trip to the Old Myakka Bridge/Crowley Museum on Friday, December 8 at 7:30am. This is an exceptional location for spotting a wide variety of species, including owls, hawks, woodpeckers, warblers, vireos, and possibly ducks. Sharon Wilcox will be your guide on site. There will be two birding locations: the Old Myakka River bridge and at the Crowley Museum, 16405 Myakka Road, Sarasota. Meet at the bridge ¼ mile past Crowley Museum. Fill out liability waiver and register online at veniceaudubon.org.
SCF Venice Campus Field Trip
Join leaders Patti Haynes & Bob Clark on a tour around Lake Jervey & the surrounding State College of Florida campus on Friday, December 15 at 8:30am. Enjoy herons, egrets, ducks, and more, highlighted by purple Gallinules. Meet in the main parking lot next to the lake at 8000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice. Most of the walk is on a paved path so it is a good walk for those with some physical limitations. Register online at veniceaudubon.org. For more information, email [email protected].
Christmas Bird Count
VAAS will participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 17th in the Englewood-Venice area. Over 100 volunteers survey a 15-mile circumference circle extending from downtown Venice to I-75 to Manasota Key. Volunteers proceed to specific locations to observe and record the species and number of birds sighted, then report the information to the VAAS Christmas Bird Count coordinator for submission to National Audubon. New volunteers are always welcome! For more information, visit veniceaudubon.org.
The items appearing in this column are as accurate as possible. Please call the listed numbers for confirmation and further information. If you have an upcoming event you would like to have considered for Nature Calls, please send info and/or photo to The Englewood Review, 370 W Dearborn St, Suite B, Englewood, FL 34223, or email: [email protected].