Happy New Year from Lemon Bay Conservancy!  We have a range of fun activities planned for January and February!  Come out and enjoy nature with us as we begin the new year!

•  LBC's annual fundraising event, the "Toast to the Coast" is scheduled for Sunday, January 28, 2018.  Our Brunch at the Beach will be held at the beautiful and natural 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. ($55 of each ticket is tax-deductible.)  Click here for more details and to reserve your seats, or give us a call at the LBC office at 941-830-8922.

•  On Saturday, February 10, join us for our free, annual Open House at Wildflower Preserve.  The event begins with an "early bird" bird walk at 8:00 am.  From 8:30 am until 1:30 pm, we'll be offering guided nature walks and short talks on environmental topics.  Local environmental groups will have booths with displays and information.  Click here to learn more about the Open House and the schedule of activities.

•  On February 26th, LBC president Jim Cooper and board member Eva Furner will present "Converting a Golf Course to a Nature Preserve: The Story of Wildflower Preserve" as part of the Manasota Beach Club Luncheon Lecture Series.  Tickets are $25, which includes a buffet lunch.  Reservations are required and can be made by calling MBC at 941-474-2614.  Other talks in this popular luncheon series will feature nearby natural areas.  To see a flyer showing the full schedule of talks, click here.

•  Throughout January and February, our naturalist guides are offering free guided nature 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.

If you have already sent in your 2018 membership contribution or annual donation for Lemon Bay Conservancy, thank you!  If not, please take a few minutes now to do so.  LBC is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit   Your gifts submitted online or by mail before year-end are tax-deductible for 2017.  To make your gift online or to print a form for mailing, click on this link:  http://lemonbayconservancy.org/support-our-cause/

We look forward to seeing you in the days ahead!

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Free Public Nature Walks for Jan. - Feb. 2018

Beach and Barrier Island Ecology, 9-11:30 am, Jan. 9, Jan. 23, Feb. 6, Feb. 20

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 and Charlie Woodruff on Jan. 9 and Feb. 20, by Bill on Jan. 23, and by Susy d'Hont on Feb. 6.  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.

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.

Barrier Island Ecology - Mangroves, Hammocks and Beaches at Middle Beach Park, 9-11 am, Jan. 16, Feb. 13

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 on Jan. 16 and by Dave Clayton on Feb. 13.  Blind Pass Park (Middle Beach) is located on Manasota Key at 6725 Manasota Key Rd, Englewood, FL 34223.

Tidal Marsh and River-side Forest Ecology, 9-11 am, Jan. 18, Feb. 15

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, Feb. 22

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.

Wildflower Preserve Habitat Restoration, 9-11 am, Jan. 27

Join 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.

Nature of Wildflower, 9-11 am, Feb. 3, Feb. 24

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 Susy d'Hont on Feb. 3 and by Dave Clayton and Bob Cooper on Feb. 24.  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.

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Volunteer Opportunities:

Juvenile Tarpon Research Volunteer Opportunity, monthly, 7:45 am – noon, Jan. 20, Feb. 17

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.