A little TLC in store for Emerson Point

vmannix@bradenton.comJune 1, 2011 

Emerson Point Preserve will be getting some TLC Saturday.

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program’s Bay Guardian volunteers will plant native plants and shrubs as part of an ongoing effort to enhance the landmark preserve in Palmetto.

They’ll be working with Around the Bend Nature Tours and Manatee County Natural Resources.

Collaborative projects since 2005 have restored mangroves, coastal uplands and freshwater wetlands throughout the 365-acre preserve.

“It’s an educational opportunity for youth and adults of all ages,” said Sara Kane, the public outreach coordinator for the SBEP. “They get their hands dirty and do something good for the bay that’s important to our watershed.”

The 250 native plants and shrubs they’ll plant, beginning at 9 a.m., don’t need as much fertilizer and pesticides and are a good deterrent for storm water pollution, she said.

The SBEP is dedicated to restoring the area’s greatest natural asset -- Sarasota Bay. It strives to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the area for use and enjoyment by the public.

The program was established to attract volunteers of all ages and backgrounds interested in helping restore Sarasota Bay’s habitat.

At least six volunteer outings are held each year.

Emerson Point Preserve includes the Portavant Temple Mound, southwest Florida’s largest Native American Temple Mound and the site of early Florida pioneers.

“It’s one of our biggest events,” said Brittany Gleitsman, an SBEP intern. “People really enjoy planting, bringing new life to a preserve. It’s really hands on. They get to see the change they’re making and go back and see how the plants they planted have grown.”

Sarasota Bay is one of 28 estuaries in the United States to have been named by Congress as an “estuary of national significance.”

Partners include Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, Town of Longboat Key, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Southwest Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For details on the SBEP, call (941) 955-8085 or visit sara@sarasotabay.org.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.

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