Audubon Bird-A-Thon, Volunteer Fair, Head Race at Benderson, & More: Friends of the Parks News for November 2013

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The Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc.
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Get your bird on and Volunteer
Surrey and FLT
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Starting Up
Barely have the ghouls, princesses and ninjas left the byways of Sarasota than the season is revving up in earnest. Festivals, nature events, theater, dance, musical performances. Take this weekend:
Saturday Nov. 2 brings four events from the four points of the globe:

To the West: The Sarasota Bay Water Festival at Ken Thompson Park,10 am to 5 pm. The second annual Bay Fest will feature 80 exhibitors mixing fun, food, learning (e.g. a fishing clinic for kids),music and the Bay’s first everDragon Boat Races. It’s sponsored by The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, which aims to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the area for use and enjoyment by the public. Stop by the Friends‘ booth while you’re there.
To the South is the 26th Annual Venice Art Festival on West Venice Ave., 10 am to 5 pm.
To the East there’s the Men’s Qualifying Round of the World Championship Pétanque Tournament, hosted by the Sarasota Pétanque Club inLakeview Park. The Tournament begins Saturday and play continues on Sunday.
And to the North, there’s the Felts Preserve Open House, 4600 24th Ave. E., Palmetto. The Open Houseruns from 8 am to noon. Take aBirdwalk at 9:30 am led by a Manatee Audubonmember.
Ok, that’s Saturday — what about the rest of the month? Start with Debbie Zeilman’s full list of Nature events, IFAS Classes, Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center events and more. It’s comprehensive and has all the info necessary to register (at the County Calendar) and participate.
Pinelands Reserve

Events for November include a tour of thePinelands Reservefocusing on fire and wildflowers (Nov. 8); Biking the Carlton(Nov. 9), a leisurely hike at the Jelks Preserve looking for the last flowers of summer (Nov. 13), a little naturalist field trip (Nov. 26) and much more.Check it all out, and see below for more.

Get Your Bird On and Volunteer 
There are, of course, even more things going on in November. There’s the Sarasota Audubon Bird-a-Thon at the Celery Fields, for instance. This is an event for kids, but Audubon could use some adult volunteers. 
Here’s the deal:
On Saturday Nov. 9, from 8:30 am until aroundnoon, Sarasota Audubon is having a BIRDATHON for kids at the Celery Fields. Kids will be assigned to a team leader (an Audubon birder) then they will have 1-1.5 hrs to find and record birds. When they are finished they come back for the Countdown. Free T’s, water, raffles.

FOSCP volunteers: Maybe help us check in and check out binoculars for loan, help register and assign to teams, help with tabulating the count and handing out Ts and prizes. It will be such a fun thing to do. Contact Terry Redman, 468-2222 if you want to be part of it.
Also on Nov. 9th, Volunteer Community Connections holds its Volunteer Fair from 10 am to 1 pm at the Sailor Circus Arena:
On Nov. 16th at Benderson, there’s the Inaugural Sarasota-Bradenton Head Race. We’re fairly sure this is not some belated Halloween ghoulishness, since it involves the Sarasota Rowing Club among others. Volunteers will also be welcome — contact John Krotec at More information forthcoming shortly on this — check us onFacebook.
While we’re at it, congratulations to Benderson and to Sarasota County for taking home the Silver Award from the International Economic Development Council.
rowing two guys

New FLT Video and Free Surrey Returns
extensionAs we reported last month, The Friends of the Parks has joined with the Friends of the Legacy Trail to raise funds for the expansion of the Legacy Trail from its current northern end atCulverhouse Community Garden. They were delighted to receive a $5,000 grant from the Sarasota Community Foundation to go toward a feasibility study. More funds will need to be raised.
Now Joel Calabrese has condensed the essentials into a 9-minute Youtube video that is exceedingly well done. Check it out:
LegacyTrail Extension
LegacyTrail Extension
Legacy Trail Surrey Returns
Friends of The Legacy Trail volunteers will be pedaling passengers on the Surrey down the Legacy Trail Wednesday and Thursday mornings from November 13th to the middle of April.The Surrey will depart three times each day from Nokomis Community Park, 234 Nippino Trail E., Nokomis.
 The FLT Surrey
Sign up between 9 and 10 am on a first-come basis for the half-hour ride. Watch videos and learn about the Legacy Trail till it’s your turn. Rides are free.
Volunteer peddlers are needed! Please contact Sarah Calabrese at
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New Board Members
Quick notes . . .
      The County’s

Volunteer Page

       now contains an option to register directly for Friends’ events. Go to

Volunteer Now

      , click on Volunteer Sarasota, and on the drop-down list click on FRIENDS. One suggestion: check out the list of available opportunities before registering. They’re constantly being updated and are

listed here.

  • At the October Friends Board Meeting, officers were elected. Terry Redmanreturns as president of FOSCP; Fred Whitehouse is VP, Russ Johson is Secretary and Marcello Paolini is Treasurer. Immediate Past PresidentBruce Dillon will serve as Campaign Chair of fundraising for the FLT extension.
  • Also, four new members recently joined theBoard of the Friends: Alex Moseley, Millie Small, Jack Colligan and Roxanne Williamson.
  • Jack Colligan

    Brooklyn-born Jack Colligan came to North Port in 1987 and went to work for the city’s Parks and Rec Dept., which merged with the County in 1993. Jack retired in June and lives with his wife of 29 years, Kathleen, and two children, Susan and John.

  • Roxanne Williamsonis originally from Ohio and moved to Sarasota in 1979. She worked at Sarasota Memorial Hospital as a pediatric nurse and retired from Sarasota County Parks and Recreation in 2010 after 27 years. She worked in Horticulture, as an Environmental Specialist with the park planner and as a Park Naturalist at Natural Area Parks from Lemon Bay to Shamrock to Phillippi Estate Parks. She also worked with the Venice Area Beautification Association on the development of the Venetian Waterway Park. Her interests now include going to the movies, doing Tai chi and taking continuing education classes. She loves the outdoors and supports the efforts of FOSCP.
  • We should have updates from Alex and Millie soon.
Finally, the season is awakening, and will soon be at full throttle. As things quicken, we are mindful that organizations such as the Friends are like libraries, rich in the experience, skills, and stored collective knowledge of members like Roxanne and Jack. The Friends organization is fortunate to have an amazing assortment of talented, dedicated, and deeply learned volunteers. Sincere thanks to all.
Tom M.



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