Sarasota Bay Watch Happenings by Larry Stults
Sarasota Bay Watch’s art exhibit “Gulf Coast Heritage: At the Intersection of Art and Local History” says goodbye to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast and moves to downtown Sarasota. The exhibit will be hosted by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for the month of March in the lovely Federal Building. The exhibit then moves to the beautiful Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where it will be on display from April through the beginning of June.The painting shown, part of the exhibit, is by Larry Stults, this columnist’s grandfather. It is named “Chief’s Fish House.” This is one of a number of fish houses, set up on pilings out in the waterway, where local fishermen brought their catch to sell. The Punta Gorda Fish Company “runboat” (shown on the right) regularly delivered ice to, and bought fish from, the fish houses up and down the coast. Joe DeWitt lived in this fish house and operated it for many years. He was known as “Chief,” stemming from his days as the Chief of Police in Punta Gorda, according to local lore.
In March, SBW will bring marine biology to middle school students in the classroom as part of the State College of Florida’s annual STEM weekend workshop. Students will learn about marine diversity and habitat, and take home a SBW T-shirt and SBW marine field guide. March is also the month for SBW’s 4th Annual Skier’s Island Cleanup and Invasive Plant Removal with Riverview High School National Honor Society Students.