Friends Newsletter for August 2014

The Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc.
In This Issue
Chapter Notes
“Who cooks?”
Note from Jodi
Helping Hands & Fish
A few more things
Our Friends
Gulf Coast Gives Hands

Gulf Coast Gives

You’d Be Perfect

SRQ Volunteen


Our Chapters

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Recognition Fish

Paw Parks of Sarasota

A Worthy Store
Check out the Worthy Cause Store – great items, great prices, and a portion of your purchase goes to the Friends!
from the FRIENDS
of Sarasota 

We have dog days.
We have meteors.
We have owlets.
And lots of hardworking volunteers.
Read on, s’il vous plait.

Chapter Notes
Troop 50 Rocks!
Ruth Pitts, the garden manager for the Bee Ridge Community Garden, wrote to say:
On Wednesday, July 16, eight boy scouts and a leader from Sarasota Boy Scout Troop 50 spent over 30 hours volunteering (weeding, mulching) at Bee Ridge Community Garden. What a great group of hard working young men! Many thanks to you all!!

And here they are:

Ringling Volunteers Rock Too!

More than 150 pre-college summer students at Ringling College did some amazing work in our parks last month.

Friends’ Prez Terry Redman and Rachel Levey of Ringling College’s Service Learning program chose several county parks for Ringling’s willing volunteers. Catherine Dente worked with one group and sent this report:

On July 12, forty absolutely wonderful Ringling College of Art and Design volunteers spent the morning at Culverhouse Community Garden.

A leader (either one of CCG’s members or a Ringling RA) worked with groups of 2 or 3 students weeding, planting summer cover crops, mulching, remeasuring pathways, learning about how to compost, and listening to an explanation of our solar water system. The Friends provided pizza, water, soft drinks, and garden gloves for the students, who seem to have gone away inspired by Sarasota County’s beautiful Parks system, and more knowledgeable about growing food organically. Some of the adult volunteers also went away with a gift of tender Japanese eggplants (white and purple), some globe eggplants, and a few recipes.

Lots more photos of the day on the CCG websiteand on their Facebook page.
Terry was also thrilled with the turnout:

Fifty+ pounds of air potatoes were collected, we removed A LOT  of exotic/invasive trees from various sites. George, thanks for your work with the chain saw at the Hermitage. Everyone has agreed, these were hard working students — they wore me out! Thanks to everyone for your help today — Grace and Jodi for pizza delivery, Venice City, Sarasota County and Ringling College staff — what a great partnership with the above and VABI. Thanks all…TR

Ringling volunteers

For the dog days


Lakeview Paw Park got a new, six-foot fence separating the large dog and small dog areas. It seems certain Springer Spaniels, Huskies, and assorted pups were clearing the old, shorter fence with ease. The County put in the fence at the suggestion of our very own Friends of the Paw Parks.

Touches of color at Potter Park

Fred Falkner from the Friends of Potter Park wrote to say:
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Color at the Potter Park kiosk

Over the past 4 months, the Friends of Potter Park have been planting, weeding, mulching, and clearing undergrowth. We’ve purchased and planted Aztec grass and dwarf Bougainvillea near the kiosk at the entrance, adding extra greenery and a touch of color making for a much more pleasing entrance.

We continue to weed and trim the new Carissa ground cover in the beds near the gazebo. Importantly, the vines and nascent palmettos have been cut and cleared in the children’s play areas, so all areas of the playground are visible from any one location, an important advantage for parents watching their children play in different play areas.

We have also removed most of the non-biodegradable rubber pellets formerly used as the cover bed for play areas.  We plan to extend the mortise fence in the parking area, which will prevent parking on the grass, which happens when parking overflows.

SBEP Leads Restoration Project at Oscar Scherer State Park

Sara Kane of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program(SBEP) wrote to say:
SBEP completed a project at Oscar Scherer State Park that restored 10 acres of freshwater wetland habitat. The results will help protect water quality and quantity in the park and restore and maintain hydrology. Another goal is to maintain, improve or restore imperiled species populations and habitats.
Earth Day at Oscar Scherer
One project created a littoral shelf around Lake Osprey (adjacent to the Nature Center) for habitat
value and conservation education. Another project restored an existing, isolated wetland that will be restored through hydrologic restoration and habitat creation. The final project restored littoral features surrounding Big Lake, including the eradication of a massive cattail infestation.
SBEP tackling cattails at Big Lake
Project partners that joined SBEP included Oscar Scherer State Park, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Scheda Ecological Associates, Tampa Contracting Services, Inc. Funding is being provided by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Don’t Forget the VCC

The Venice Community Center’s Arts and Crafts Show is coming August 9:

“Who cooks for you?”
Barred Owl and owlet
Did you know that’s what owls say? This month we have a guest piece written just for our site by photographer and bird guide Kathryn Dow.

Kathryn, who recently relocated to Sarasota, has been an instructor for several years at the Bosque del Apache refuge in New Mexico, and she’s plainly nuts about owls. You can read her account and see her intimate photos of one Barred Owl mother and her owlet fledging the nest in Pinecraft Park.

By the way, contributions of stories and photos for are welcome. They should fit with the Friends’ goal of promoting and enhancing Sarasota’s parks, and will be edited. We hope to have another story from Kathryn very soon.

Changes in Tribute program
Please share this info from our Coordinator, Jodi Carroll, regarding tribute opportunities:

Friends of Sarasota County Parks Personal Tribute Program Undergoes ChangesFor many years, the Friends of Sarasota County Parks have offered a Personal Tribute Program which provides opportunities for individuals to donate amenities or memorials to the county park system. In the past this has included benches, picnic tables and trees.

At this time, the Friends of Sarasota County Parks have determined it prudent to suspend and reevaluate the Personal Tribute Memorial Program parameters and cost structure.

Those wishing to pursue a memorial during the interim are encouraged to consider the Recognition Fish Program at North Jetty.  Created by Venice sculptor John Lemon, stainless steel fish are available in two sizes — $200 (6-inches) and $500 (9-inches) — featuring your personal message.
Watch the website for the revised Personal Tribute Program available January, 2015.

If you have questions or wish to receive information about the new program, please email


Speaking of volunteers
heart of the community

This month the Board of the Friends got an update on the new volunteer system that Sarasota County is rolling out, and we got a sneak peek at its workings.

The system, powered by Volgistics, will have several advantages:
1. It’s a one-stop shop for discovering volunteer opportunities, registering for them, contacting volunteer coordinators and reporting volunteer hours.
2. Each volunteer will have an official record of his/her hours and be able to log mileage — useful for taxes.
3. Volunteers can opt to receive schedule reminders – never forget another opportunity!
4. Friends’ groups will have official group stats totaling the hours contributed.
5. Benefits are afforded to registered volunteers in accord with Florida Workers’ Compensation Law.
Volunteers currently have 66 volunteer opportunities to choose from, and soon there will be more, says Volunteer Program Coordinator Vickie French. Volunteers will want to get to know Brenda Canales, the new Parks volunteer coordinator. Her email:
The changeover to the new system could occur near the end of this month. Bookmark Volunteer Sarasota County for updates — it’s being redesigned, so it will soon look quite different, and it will work with all the main browsers — Safari, Chrome, Firefox and IE.
FOSCP volunteer at work
Official policy
Click this link to download a copy of Sarasota County’s updated volunteer policy.

Connecting: A larger perspective
Every inch helps. The 8-mile link that would connect the Legacy Trail from Venice to downtown Sarasota has strong community support, as can be seen from its Gulf Coast Gives track record.
But there’s a bigger picture. Click the link to see what’s happening across Florida, and from Key West all the way to Calais, Maine. Help usconnect.

A few more things

Coming up

  • The 10th Annual IFAS Plant Sale and EdFest will be at Twin Lakes Park on Oct. 11, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • The  Sarasota Bay Water Festival returns Nov. 1 at Ken Thompson Park. Read all about ithere.
  • The ninth annual Sarasota Springfest is coming March 7, 2015.
  • You’ll find Sarasota parks’ August nature events here.

Doc likes parks

A walk in the park can be a path to health, and a doctor is making it easier to find the right walks. He’s building a database searchable by zip code that can be linked to patient records.

Coming down
In the night sky, the Perseid meteor shower has begun — it will peak around Aug. 9th. By strange chance, a Supermoon arrives Aug. 10. It’ll be 30% brighter than normal moons, making the Perseids a bit more difficult to see. But they are “fireball champions” and they’ll keep shooting through the sky at a rate of 100 per hour till at least Aug. 14.


Enjoy the Dies canicularis — the dogs will surely have quite a moon at which to bay.
Tom M.
The Newsletter of the
Friends of
Sarasota County Parks
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