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Photographer Clyde Butcher, local water resource experts to appear at Sarasota Bay Water Festival

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SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) will host four panel discussions and one presentation at the 2014 Sarasota Bay Water Festival set for Saturday, November 1 at Ken Thompson Park. The panel discussions focus on the protection of bay wildlife, the bay’s economic value, water quality and restoration progress, and the problem of discarded plastic harming marine life, birds and other wildlife. Acclaimed Florida photographer Clyde Butcher will also share insights, answer questions and sign his latest book beginning 2pm.

SBEP is the Founding Sponsor of the Water Festival, HDR, Inc. is the Community Sponsor, and Sea to Shore Alliance is the Host Sponsor. The Water Festival celebrates the importance of Sarasota Bay to the region’s environment and economy. Here’s the schedule:

  • Noon – Protecting Sarasota Bay Wildlife – Panelists include James Powell with Sea to Shore Alliance, Jim Cutler with Mote Marine Laboratory, Mark Rachal with Audubon, and Tim Thurman with Longboat Key Turtle Watch.
  • 1 p.m. – Economic Value of Sarasota Bay – Panelists include Paul Hindsley with Eckerd College, Christine Johnson with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Jennifer Shafer with the Science Environmental Council of Southwest Florida, and Sara Kane with SBEP. Professor Hindsley completed the recent two-year Economic Valuation Study of Sarasota Bay funded by SBEP.
  • 2 p.m. – Meet Clyde Butcher, Florida’s Acclaimed Nature Photographer – Clyde will share insights, answer questions and sign his latest book.
  • 3 p.m. – Water Quality & Restoration Report – Panelists include Damon Moore with Manatee County, John Ryan with Sarasota County, and Jay Leverone with SBEP.
  • 3:30 p.m. – Plastic Pollution & Wildlife – Panelists include Sherri Swanson with HDR and David Pilston with Save Our Seabirds. The presentation will also be an opportunity to learn more about this year’s After Party beginning 8pm at Circus City Architectural Salvage in downtown Sarasota. The evening event features live music and the Aqua-Garde Fashion Show Design Contest. Ticket sales benefit Save Our Seabirds and Sea to Shore Alliance, two local nonprofits focused on protecting wild birds and marine species.

  • The 2014 Sarasota Bay Water Festival is being supported by 39 sponsors from the public and private sector. More than 70 local organizations will have exhibits and displays. Other highlights include Dragon Boat Races, local artists and photographers selling gift items for the holiday season, new and vintage boats, a community art mural supported by students from Bayshore High School in Bradenton, and a display of the winning entries to the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest.