Sarasota Baywatch Happenings by Larry Stults

Sarasota Bay Watch has a busy schedule and full slate of activities! Late April found SBW volunteers partnering with Riverview High School students for the 5th Annual Skier’s Island Cleanup and Invasive Plant Removal. RHS students have been a great and steadfast partner over the years and have really stepped up to become environmental stewards of Skier’s Island. Many thanks to all of the students and parents who have helped make Skier’s Island a better place. SBW had a booth for the 3rd year in a row at Oscar Scherer Park for Earth Day. Last year we counted over 1,000 visitors to our booth to see live scallops and we had another great turnout this year. Continuing with our long term Scallop Restoration Project, SBW released thousands of juvenile scallops into the Bay on March 30th. Check out our Facebook page for a short video of the release, or see it on YouTube.

Scallops are growing large, happy and healthy at our partners’ hatcheries, the Bay Shell Fish Company and the Community Scallop Nursery hosted by Mote. Some of this stock will be used in the scallop sanctuary cage program in partnership with Sarasota County, which was highlighted in this newsletter last month. We hope they will be ready to go into the cages in the near future.

Finally, Sarasota Bay Watch is rising to the challenge – the Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge that is! See www.gulfcoastchallenge.org for info on this contest designed to foster innovation and bolster the Gulf Coast Blue Economy. We are working on a couple of ideas and creating new partnerships to meet the Challenge. Stay tuned!

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