The Friends Newsletter for February 2014: Growing, Training, Learning

The Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc.
In This Issue
A bustling month
Marketing 101
A note from Mary
Chapter Talk
Our Friends
Gulf Coast Gives Hands

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Gulf Coast Gives

You’d Be Perfect

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Greetings from the Friends

A bustling month

No matter what the world might look like elsewhere, on the Gulf Coast the stirrings of birds, flowers and gardeners hint of Spring. Those green globules above the snowman are cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine at Culverhouse Community Garden.
Bicyclists and rowers are gearing up, vegetables are growing up, and several new initiatives are starting up at the Friends of Sarasota County Parks. A lot to talk about. Get ready by getting your February groove on:
American Woodcock shows off dance moves
Please read on.

Marketing 101
One of the lessons that’s come out of the Friends’ work with Sarasota business consultantJohn Ramsey (thanks to a grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation) is the need to connect with the public. To that end, the Board has created the position of Friends Coordinator and filled it. The Board also established a Marketing Committee, and is working with the County on a series of parks projects and sponsorships.
President Terry Redman shared some new initiatives after the most recent board meeting:
“Good Morning — Friends (FOSCP) has asked Mary Brown to join us as a part-time independent contractor — Friends Coordinator — in charge of grants/fund-raising/sponsorships. Please welcome her and give her all the support she needs to be successful (so we are successful!).
[eds. note: See “A note from Mary” below.]
“Please mark your calendar — May 6th is the 2014Giving Partner Giving Challenge. If you have a person wanting to make a donation, and can wait
until then, we might be able to receive some matching funds. We’ll have a contest to see which Chapter can have the most individual donations and the largest amount donated. More info later.
“HELP!  We have people volunteering to do something and we are not putting them to work. If you have a project – inside/outside – please let me know so I can send them your way.
“Volunteer hour reporting time is coming up. If you can let me know how many volunteers and the number of hours as of Jan. 31 it would be
appreciated. The County is still working on the new computer tracking program. Please include meetings, time on site, travel, etc. as volunteer hours.”
Welcome, Millie!
Millie Small is the new Chairman of the City of Sarasota Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Council, and a supporter of theLegacy Trail Extension (more about thatbelow). She now is also a valued new Board Member of the Friends.
Millie Small

A note from Mary Brown

maryThe Friends’ new Coordinator has a strong not-for-profit background as administrator of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative and the Leadership Center of Tampa Bay.

Invited to tell us how she’ll approach her new assignment, Mary Brown sent us this intro:

Hello Friends!

I am delighted to be joining the Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc. organization and look forward to working with all of you in support of Sarasota County’s parks and public recreational facilities.

Increasing community awareness of the incredible contribution that is being made by the Friends and Chapter volunteers, and what resources would be diminished or lost without them, is a powerful message. Working with the Marketing Committee to find new and innovative ways to craft and share that message is an immediate goal and one that we can build on as we develop a fundraising plan to support the Friends and its Chapters. Establishing an annual giving program for long-term donor development as part of the plan is something I believe will broaden support for the Friends and provide a vehicle for sustainable funding. Identifying grant opportunities for specific projects, cultivating potential sponsors, and planning two special events this year are also on the list of things to do!

I plan on attending as many activities and events as possible to learn more about your programs and services firsthand. Understanding what you do, why it is important to you and your volunteers, and how to represent that fully and passionately is what I ultimately hope to achieve as your Friends Coordinator.

Mary Brown

Friends Coordinator
Chapter Talk

…where Chapters share new or ongoing projects… 

The Phillippi Farmhouse Market Chapter will host a special event to mark Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, Feb 12. The market will welcome the Humane Society of Sarasota County and its adorable,

adoptable cats and dogs. To raise money to feed and house these deserving animals, the Humane Society will host SMOOCH A POOCH at the market. A donation entitles you to kiss a pup or kitty or you may just donate to the cause. There will also be a dog dance exhibition along the lines of a flash mob happening. Dogs and cats will come dressed in their Valentine finery. Join us for a merry day.  The Phillippi Farmhouse Market is open from 9 am until 2 pm each Wednesday from October through April.

Panthercams & hay wagons at Carlton

The busy folks at the Friends of the Carlton Reserve have so much going o n we’ll just direct you to their news. Among much else, Sherm Stratton says they’re gearing up to capture photos of another Florida Panther.

Florida Panther

Archers’ Calendar for February

Don Jackson of the Lekachka Archers Chapter sent along this month’s big dates:
  • 3D shoots on Sundays, February 9th & 23rd, 9 am.
  • Free ” Introduction to Archery” lessons every Saturday morning at 9:30 am.
  • Archery Demonstration at North Port’s “Second Nature Environmental Festival” February 8th, 10 am to 3 pm.
Paw Park Upgrade
Working with Friends’ Board Member Dr. Sue Nielsen,Sarasota Parks and Rec recently did some extensive trimming and mulching at the Lakeview Paw Park. Parks then added a concrete walk enabling dog owners to get into and out of the park without soggy shoes on rainy days. The result according to every dog owner we spoke to is happiness.
Sue is also working on a new Friends shirt — more on that soon.
Master Gardeners Update

The Sarasota Master Gardeners have set Oct. 11 for their10th Annual Master Gardener Plant Sale, and have lined up some organizational meetings. They’ll also be at the North Port Festival, and they’re taking a educational tour of the Celery Fields led by Audubon Docents on Thursday, Feb. 13th. Get all the details from their latest Passionvine newsletter. And if you’ve not seen Eric Ernst’s fine article about the Celery Fields and Audubonit’s here.


Safe Boating at Benderson

Benderson Volunteer Coordinator John Krotec has put out a call for volunteers who want to work as launch drivers at this season’s regattas. This is an opportunity totake a safe boating course taught by the US Power Squadron for $35. Lessons begin Feb. 5th so get in touch with John if interested. The first Regatta, theSarasota Invitational, comes Feb. 22-23. Events listing here.


Jiggs Landing Native Planting

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program‘s Bay Guardians are teaming up with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department and Around the Bend Nature Tours for a native planting at Jiggs Landing in Bradenton. 

The Jiggs Landing  property was purchased in 1944 by Al (Jiggs) and Agnes Metcalf and included a 7-acre piece of property. Their dream was to create a fish camp on the banks of the Braden River and they did so, creating a landmark that served Manatee County for more than 40 years. This event is suitable for ages 8 and up. More here.

Got Tools?

Tools are available for the use of Chapters of the Friends. Send a message to to reserve tools for as long as needed. Terry will make arrangements to pick them up.

new friends logo
Quick Notes
North Jetty Memorial Plaques
The Friends is inaugurating a new memorial program at the North Jetty. The stainless steel plaques will take the form of swimming fish on a silvery aluminum wall at the concession. Venice sculptor John Lemon has generously to make the plaques for the Friends at cost. If your Chapter obtains the donor, your Chapter keeps the net funds.
TrailExtending the Trail
The fundraising efforts of Friends of the Legacy Trail to study the feasibility of bringing the Trail from Culverhouse Nature Park to Payne Park downtown are well underway.
It’s a big goal and will need a lot of community support. Gulf Coast Gives has built a greatdonation page. Another way to support adding 8 miles to the Trail is to join the Tour de Parks Fun Ride Fundraiser on March 23:

Nature Events for February
The February 2014 List of Nature Events in the parks will be posted to the Friends’ home page upon its arrival. Guides will be doing walks, lunches, birding expeditions and much more. More events are listed on the County Calendar, and don’t forget the calendar of IFAS classes through March.
Also coming in March: The Great American Cleanup, Saturday, March 22. Register here.
While you’re at it, enjoy Florida’s Spring, and don’t forget a certain February day.
Tom M.



new friends logo
Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc.
234 E. Nippino Trail, Unit 101
Nokomis, FL  34275