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SBEP Bay Guardians to plant natives at Perico Presrve

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SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) Bay Guardian volunteers will plant native plants at Perico Preserve on Saturday, October 6. SBEP, Manatee County Natural Resources and Around the Bend Nature Tours will work with the adult and student volunteers to plant Florida native plants beginning 9am. Lunch will be provided to the volunteers following the morning project. People interested in volunteering can sign up online through the SBEP website at

The Bay Guardian volunteers will include students from Martha B. King Middle School in Bradenton. The local school was the recipient of a SBEP Blue Dolphin Award earlier this year. The annual awards acknowledge local champions of Sarasota Bay. The school was honored for its ongoing support of community environmental programs including the Bay Guardians volunteer program.

Perico Preserve is the newest preserve in Manatee County located across Perico Bayou from Robinson Preserve. The 176-acre property was originally farmland and the extensive mangrove fringe is currently undergoing restoration to become another natural habitat within Manatee County’s coastal preserve system. Plans include the construction of a lagoon to support seagrass growth and a bird rookery island. During construction, public access is only permitted through sneak peek tours hosted by Manatee County Natural Resources or volunteer workdays.

The outing to Perico Preserve is the fifth Bay Guardian volunteer outing this year in Manatee and Sarasota County. Prior outings were held at North Lido Beach Park, Emerson Point Preserve, North Water Tower Park, and Quick Point Preserve on Longboat Key. Many of the local parks and preserves are visited annually by the Bay Guardians to build on prior efforts. Most of the projects focus on planting Florida native plants and removing exotic plants or trash and debris.

The Sarasota Bay Guardians is a family-friendly program that SBEP manages in partnership with Around the Bend Nature Tours. New volunteers receive a blue tee shirt featuring the Bay Guardians logo. Each outing features environmental education and a picnic lunch. Join the Bay Guardians for a single project or as an ongoing commitment. Local school, scout and church groups interested in volunteering can contact Sara Kane.