District Teaches Youths at Fall Family Festival

Governing Board Treasurer Albert G. Joerger and his familyGoverning Board Treasurer Albert G. Joerger and his family stop at the District booth during the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast Fall Family Festival. More than 1,000 visitors enjoyed old-fashioned games, live music, nature-based art projects and woodcrafts at the annual event, held at Bay Preserve at Osprey, a 4.3-acre nature preserve on Little Sarasota Bay protected by the foundation. District staff taught young people about water conservation and the water cycle, and helped them create souvenir wristbands to remind them of what they learned. The foundation is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting the bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds of Florida’s Gulf Coast. The foundation purchased the preserve in 2006 with the help of a $6.6 million grant from Florida Forever. Since that time, millions of dollars have been invested to adapt the structures for public use and transform a residence into a public park. It features a nature trail, wildlife observation platform, kayak launch, outdoor performance pavilion, a restored 1930s neo-classical waterfront home, and historic Florida bungalows. Invasive plants have been replaced with native species to enhance habitat for wildlife.