The next Lemon Bay Conservancy Tarpon net pull is scheduled for Saturday, January 21. The recent net pull on December 17th established that the juvenile tarpon survived the ravage of Hurricane Ian and are still in the Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve ponds. You are invited to join the January net pull. Meet by the equipment shed in the Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., at 8am to load the seine net and other equipment in the Jon boat. Use the Wildflower Preserve parking lot. An UTV will tow the boat to the ponds by Fiddlers Green, then drive to Fiddlers Green and use the carpark there. The actual net pull will get underway around 8:30am, starting with the smaller of the two ponds. If you have waders, please bring them along with gloves, a hat, water, and mosquito repellant.
25 Acres Now Protected On December 21st, Sarasota County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources acquired 25 acres along the wild and scenic Myakka River, near South River Road and South Tamiami Trail, adjacent to the Myakka State Forest. The county purchased this land through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP), which was designed to acquire and protect environmental land. Volunteers Needed Want to volunteer at a nature center? The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) is recruiting new volunteers at the Cedar Point Environmental Park location. Volunteers are needed to welcome visitors at the visitor center, lead nature walks and wading trips, assist with youth programs, join the trail maintenance party, and do monthly water quality monitoring. For more information and to fill out a volunteer application, go to www.checflorida.org/volunteer.
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) Activities
On these casual walks with CHEC volunteers, you will search for and learn about plants, animals, fungi, and more that live in Charlotte County preserves. Prepare for each walk with plenty of water, insect repellent, sunscreen, and clothing that will protect you from insects and plants. Advance registration is required. For information on programs, mask requirements and Covid-19 safety precautions, please call 941•475•0769 or email [email protected] Go to www.CHECflorida.org for a complete program calendar. Tippecanoe II Mitigation Preserve Join CHEC on a guided walk on Saturday, January 28 at 9am on through Tippecanoe II Mitigation Preserve, 16259 Joppa Avenue, Port Charlotte. This 150-acre preserve is home to several families of the threatened Florida scrub jay. Meet in the parking lot. Please call 941•475•0769 to register or for more information. Also offered on Monday, February 13. Amberjack Environmental Park Join CHEC on a guided walk through the scrub and pine flatwoods of 217-acre Amberjack Environmental Park on Monday, January 30 at 9am. Meet at 6250 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., where street dead ends. Please call 941•475•0769 to register or for more information. Also offered Wednesday, February 8. Bayshore Live Oak Park Join CHEC on a walk, Wednesday, February 1 at 9am, at Bayshore Live Oak Park, 23157 Bayshore Road, Pt. Charlotte, along the shoreline of Charlotte Harbor, to explore the various mangrove species found there. Mangrove identification will be covered, and you will learn about special adaptations that allow mangroves to thrive in salty environments and why mangroves are important and protected in Florida. Please call 941•475•0769 to register or for more information. Cedar Point Environmental Park Join CHEC for a guided tour of beautiful Cedar Point Environmental Park on Friday, February 3 at 9am. Meet at the Visitor Center, 2300 Placida Road. Oyster Creek Environmental Park Join CHEC on a guided walk through the old-growth pine flatwoods, scrub habitat, and mangrove fringe of 250-acre Oyster Creek Environmental Park on Saturday, February 4 at 9am. Meet in the parking lot right next to Lemon Bay High School. For registration, please email [email protected] or call 941•475•0769. Bird Watching Intro Course Join Mike Weisensee to learn about bird watching during his five-week introductory birding course offered on Mondays, February 6 through March 13. Topics include equipment, choosing binoculars, using E-bird & Merlin Bird Id, and identifying bird species seen in Charlotte County. The first class will be held at Cedar Point Environmental Park Visitor Center (2300 Placida Road) from 8am to 10:30am with the rest of the sessions being field trips. Program fee is $95. For registration, call 941•475•0769 or email [email protected] Tippecanoe Environmental Park Join CHEC on a guided walk through 308-acre Tippecanoe Environmental Park on Monday, February 6 at 9am. This Charlotte County park includes habitats such as scrub, pine flatwoods, marsh, and wetlands. Meet behind the Charlotte County Sports Park at 2400 El Jobean Road. For registration, email [email protected] or call 941•475•0769. Bill Coy Preserve Join CHEC at 9am, Saturday, February 11, for a guided walk through the 81-acre Bill Coy Preserve. The scrubby flatwoods and mangrove swamp border Buck Creek, which flows into Lemon Bay. Meet in the parking lot at 5350 Placida Road. For more information and to register, call 941•475•0769. Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Park Join CHEC on a guided walk through Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Park on Wednesday, February 15 at 9am. This 487-acre Charlotte County property features mature pines, dry prairie, marsh wetlands, and freshwater ponds. Its location adjoining state lands make it an important wildlife corridor. Meet at the parking lot on U.S. 41 (15801 S. Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda). Please call 941•475•0769 to register or for more information. Seagrass Wading Trip Join CHEC for a free wading adventure through the seagrass beds of Lemon Bay on Friday, February 17! All participants will be guided approximately a half-mile to the wading site, where they will collect and view creatures of the bay. Participants will need to wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that may get wet during the trip. Participants are also encouraged to wear sunscreen and insect repellent and to bring plenty of drinking water. Meet outside the Cedar Point Visitor Center (2300 Placida Road) at 9am. Advance registration is required by calling 941•475•0769. Trips fill up fast! The History of Cedar Point Join CHEC for a free presentation about the history of Cedar Point Environmental Park on Friday, February 24 from 11am to 12:30pm. Greg Brezicki will walk you down memory lane of Cedar Point’s best accomplishments from its purchase by Charlotte County to how CHEC became involved and how the park has evolved. There will be a light lunch and a visit to the Cookie House. Must register in advance by calling 941•475•0769 or emailing [email protected]
Mangrove Chapter Activities
The mission of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. The Mangrove Chapter serves Charlotte County and southern Sarasota County. For more information, contact them at [email protected] Saturday, January 28, 9-11am: Join Kate Borduas, from the Mangrove Chapter of the Native Plant Society, for a nature walk at Amberjack Environmental Park, 6450 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. This walk will explore the impact of elevation on the scrub vegetation within the park. In Florida, it is a “Game of Inches”! The changes in trees, shrubs, lichens, grasses, and flowers can be observed while slogging a full 13 feet uphill. This walk also circumnavigates a large depression marsh and passes through areas of overgrown trees. Bird sightings are common, so bring binoculars. Meet in the parking lot at the end of Gasparilla Pines Blvd. A hat, closed toe shoes, water, and sunscreen are recommended. For information email [email protected] Insects in the Ecosystem The Mangrove Chapter of the Native Plant Society will host “Insects in the Ecosystem – Why Insects Need Our Help” on Tuesday, February 14, 1 to 3pm, an educational program at Lemon Bay Park & Environmental Center, 570 Bay Park Blvd. Last spring, Master Naturalist and Insect Enthusiast Kate Borduas presented a program about the critical role insects play in the ecosystem. This year, Kate will explore the multiple causes of insect decline and what can be done as groups and individuals to support healthy populations of these little creatures that run the world. Meet at the Environmental Center. For information email [email protected] Sunset Stroll Join Dave and Linda Manley, from the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, for a Sunset Stroll on Wednesday, February 22, 4:30-5:30pm, at the Venice Rookery, 4002 S. Tamiami Trail via Annex Road, Venice. The Rookery is behind the county building. The Venice Area Audubon Society will provide a guide through this beautiful nesting area for waterbirds. The recently planted native tree thicket and understory offer great native plant viewing. For information email [email protected]
LBC Guided Nature Walks
The free guided nature walks shown below are sponsored by Lemon Bay Conservancy and will be held at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve, 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood. Please come prepared for a hike. The preserve can be “buggy” this time of year. Consider wearing long sleeves and long pants. Water, a hat, sunscreen, bug spray and hiking shoes are recommended. Some people like to bring a walking pole. Binoculars are useful for observing more distant birds and other animals. LBC Annual Meeting Lemon Bay Conservancy will hold its Annual Meeting on Monday, January 30, beginning at 5:30pm, at the Cape Haze Community Center, 155 Spaniards Road. After a short business meeting and LBC news updates, the guest speaker, Ronda Ryan, Executive Director of Sarasota Bay Watch, will be introduced. Ronda will speak about the important water quality initiatives that her organization has underway, including their interesting clam restoration initiative. And there will be a follow-on discussion about a possible clam program for Lemon Bay. The public is invited to attend. Edible/Medicinal Plant Walk Take a walk around Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve and learn about edible and medicinal plants in the landscape on Friday, February 3 at 9am. Many of the early successional plants currently common in the preserve are either edible or contain toxins that argue against any ingestion. But some of these toxins are valuable as medicines when they are purified. Bill Dunson will advise you NOT to ingest wild plants, but it is interesting to be aware of the possibilities if you were forced to do so under extreme conditions. The edibility of plants also reveals aspects of their life histories in relation to insects and birds. Meet in the parking lot at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd. Open House Come check out Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserve during an Open House on Saturday, February 11 from 8am to2pm. This event is open to the public and it’s your chance to see how the former golf course is reverting back to nature. Special programs and walks will be held throughout the day. There will be hourly guided walks, beginning at 8am with the “Early Bird” Birding Walk. Other walk topics include Introduction to Wildflower, Butterfly Walk, and Visit to Lemon Creek. Local environmental groups will have informational tents and will offer short nature talks on a variety of nature topics. Special golf cart tours will be offered for visitors who may have difficulty walking the trails. Visitors are invited to walk the newly created hilltop labyrinth and dedication. Additional details will be available at www.LemonBayConservancy.org. Parking lot is located at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd.
If you have an upcoming event you would like to have considered for Nature Calls, please send info and/or photo to The Englewood Review, 370 W Dearborn St, Suite B, Englewood, FL 34223, or email: [email protected]