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Community Spotlight: Bay Guardian Volunteers Plant 3,500 Plants at Perico Preserve


BRADENTON – A group of 49 adult and student Bay Guardian volunteers with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) planted 3,500 Florida native plants at a shoreline area on Perico Preserve on Saturday, May 4. The plants were donated by Manatee County Natural Resources and FWC Redfish Hatchery at Port Manatee. Other project partners included Around the Bend Nature Tours and Martha B. King Middle School in Bradenton. King Middle School was honored with an SBEP Blue Dolphin Award in 2012 to acknowledge the school’s commitment to supporting local environmental projects.

Bay Guardian volunteers did a planting previously at Perico Preserve in October 2012. Perico Preserve is the newest preserve in Manatee County. The 176-acre property was originally farmland and the extensive mangrove fringe is currently undergoing restoration to become another natural habitat within Manatee County’s coastal preserve system. Plans include the construction of a lagoon to support seagrass growth and a bird rookery island. During construction, public access is only permitted through sneak peek tours hosted by Manatee County Natural Resources or volunteer workdays. 

The recent planting at Perico Preserve was the fourth Bay Guardian volunteer outing this year. Prior outings were held at Baywalk Creek near New College of Florida, Jiggs Landing in Manatee County, and Bowlees Creek Island Bird Sanctuary near the mouth of Bowlees Creek.

Bay Guardian volunteers group shot at Perico Preserve following the recent planting project.

The Bay Guardians are the largest and most active volunteer organization in the region focused on the welfare of Sarasota Bay. Hundreds of local volunteers invest thousands of hours each year supporting projects focused on planting Florida native plants and removing exotic plants as well as trash and debris. The SBEP manages the volunteer program in partnership with Around the Bend Nature Tours. New volunteers receive a blue tee shirt featuring the Bay Guardians logo. The SBEP also provides a picnic lunch following the morning project.  

To join the Bay Guardians for a single project or as an ongoing commitment, individuals and local civic, school, scout, and church groups can contact Stephanie Sherman with the SBEP at info@sarasotabay.org.

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is dedicated to restoring the area's greatest natural asset – Sarasota Bay. Its unique program strives to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the area for use and enjoyment by the public. Sarasota Bay is one of 28 estuaries in the United States that have been named by the U.S. Congress as an "estuary of national significance." Partners include Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, Town of Longboat Key, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


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