Lemon Bay Conservancy invites you to join us for a variety of informative, free nature walks during December and January.  Our knowledgeable guides will be offering walks at Wildflower Preserve, at Stump Pass Sate Park, at Blind Pass Park, at Myakka Islands Point, and at the Myakka State Forest.  You'll find all the details below.

We also invite you to mark your calendars and join us for LBC's annual fundraising event, the "Toast to the Coast", on Sunday, January 28, 2018.  Our Brunch at the Beach will be held at the beautiful Manasota Beach Club on Manasota Key.  The event will include fine food, music, and a live auction.  The festivities run from 11:30am  to 2:30pm and tickets are $100.  To reserve your seats, please call the LBC office at 941-830-8922.

Thank you to the 77 members who have already sent in your 2018 LBC membership contributions!  Your memberships are essential in supporting our mission: Saving Land, Environmental Education, and Advocacy for Sustainable Environmental Policies.  And, you've saved us paper, time and money by avoiding mailing expenses to request your support.  If you haven't yet sent in your 2018 membership contribution, please take a few minutes now and follow this link to send in your gift:   http://lemonbayconservancy.org/support-our-cause/become-a-member/. 

A big note of thanks to everyone who contributed to our November "Step Forward for Wildflower" fundraising challenge!  Together, we raised $13,495 toward the implementation of the new trail network at Wildflower Preserve!

Finally, if you're looking for a nature-based opportunity to volunteer, please see the variety of volunteer opportunities described near the end of this note.

Happy Holidays!  We hope that during this busy season, you'll find time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful local environment that we all share!

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Free Public Nature Walks for Dec. 2017 - Jan. 2018

Nature of Wildflower, 9-11 am.

Dec.  27

Wildflower Preserve is home to a great diversity of plants and animals.  During this leisurely two hour walk, we will observe some of these and discuss plans to improve the preserve habitats over time.  Guided by Dave Clayton.  Wildflower Preserve is at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224.  The preserve is located just east of Placida Rd, Route 775, south of Englewood.

Beach and Barrier Island Ecology, 9-11:30 am.

Dec. 12, Dec. 26, Jan. 9, Jan. 23

A 2.5 mile walk from the Stump Pass State Park parking area to the pass at the southern tip of Manasota Key.  The natural and human history of the area will be discussed, along with the dredging of the pass and the jetty.  Guided by Bill Dunson on Dec. 12 and Jan. 23, by Susy d'Hont & Charlie Woodruff on Dec. 26, and by Bill and Charlie on Jan. 9.  Stump Pass State Park entry fee is $3 per vehicle.  900 Gulf Boulevard, Englewood, FL 34223.  The park is located at the south end of Manasota Key.

Introduction to Wildflower Preserve, 9-11 am.

Dec.  30

Join our naturalist guide, Bob Cooper, to discuss the conversion of a former golf course into Wildflower Preserve. Along the way we'll look at some of the plants and animals that are found here.  Wildflower Preserve is at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224.  The preserve is located just east of Placida Rd, Route 775, south of Englewood.

Wildflower Preserve Habitat Restoration, 9-11 am.

Dec.  9. Jan. 27

Join Charlie Woodruff on Dec. 9 or Bob Cooper on Jan. 27 for a first-hand look at the major habitat restoration project currently underway at Lemon Bay Conservancy's Wildflower Preserve and observe some of the many plants and animals within the preserve.  Wildflower Preserve is at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224.  The preserve is located just east of Placida Rd, Route 775, south of Englewood.

Barrier Island Ecology - Mangroves, Hammocks and Beaches at Middle Beach Park, 9-11 am.

Dec. 19, Jan. 16

Blind Pass (Middle Beach) park is an unusually nice place to study the community ecology of Manasota Key.  A short walk from the parking lot reveals very nice examples of natural coastal communities.  Guided by Bill Dunson.  Blind Pass Park (Middle Beach) is located on Manasota Key at 6725 Manasota Key Rd, Englewood, FL 34223.

Wildflower to Amberjack "South of the Border" Ecology Hike, 9 am - noon

Jan. 13

We will meet in the Wildflower parking lot and hike to adjacent Amberjack Preserve, observing the changes in ecology, fauna and flora along the way.  The turn-around point will be Lemon Lake, which can have spectacular water birds when the water is low.  Note that this is one of our longer hikes.  The ground can be irregular in spots and possibly wet, so boots will be advisable.  Guided by Dave Clayton and Bob Cooper.  Wildflower Preserve is at 3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224.  The preserve is located just east of Placida Rd, Route 775, south of Englewood.

Tidal Marsh and River-side Forest Ecology, 9-11 am

Jan. 18

Join Bill Dunson at Myakka Islands Point Preserve for a close view of estuarine marshes and a rare island hammock community.  The identification of the biota will be accompanies by a discussion of how water salinity and fire interact to control the ecological communities.  Myakka Islands Point is at 1289 Campbell St., North Port/Port Charlotte, FL 33953.

Pine Flatwoods Ecology along the Gordon Smith Trail, 9-11 am

Jan. 25

The Myakka State Forest is a remarkably large and well preserved example of hydric pine flatwoods. We will hike along a trail that passes through wetter and drier areas, identify plants and animals, and discuss the factors that control their distribution.  This trail can be damp in spots, so be prepared.  Led by Bill Dunson.  Note that the location is not Myakka State Park but the state forest.   Myakka State Forest is located at 2000 S. River Rd, Englewood, FL 34223.

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Volunteer Opportunities:

Juvenile Tarpon Research Volunteer Opportunity, monthly, 7:45 am – noon

Dec. 16, Jan. 20

Join LBC volunteers in hands-on volunteer work as we use long seine nets to study the juvenile tarpon population in Lemon Creek at Wildflower Preserve.  Interested volunteers should contact Jim Cooper in advance for details on participation.  Jim can be reached by phone at 941-979-6258 or by email at jcoop43@comcast.net.

Butterfly Habitat, weekly, Mon., 8-10 am

Learn about butterfly host and nectar plants as you help our LBC volunteers maintain and improve the beautiful butterfly habitat at Wildflower Preserve.  Volunteers meet at the Wildflower Preserve parking lot.  3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224.

Wildflower Preserve Volunteer Projects, weekly, Tues. and Thurs., 9-11 am

Join LBC volunteers as we maintain the trails at Wildflower Preserve, plant native trees and shrubs, and improve the bird observation area.  Volunteers meet at the Wildflower Preserve parking lot.  3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224.

Wildflower Preserve Water Quality Testing, monthly, 9:30 am - noon

Volunteers take water samples from six of the ponds at the Preserve to monitor long-term water quality changes.  Help with collecting the samples by kayak, logging water clarity conditions, and preparing the samples for analysis.  Please call the office at 941-830-8922 or send an email to Wildflower@LemonBayConservancy.org for additional information.  Volunteers meet at the Wildflower Preserve parking lot.  3120 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Englewood, FL 34224.

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To download a brochure showing the full November 2017 – April 2018 Nature Walks and Special Events schedule or to learn more about Lemon Bay Conservancy, our mission and our activities, please visit our website at www.lemonbayconservancy.org.  Or, give us a call at 941-830-8922.