The Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc.
In This Issue
Friends Updates
Volunteer to Volunteer
Paw Parks groomed
Helping Hands & Fish
$11.8 billion bay
A few more things
Our Friends
Gulf Coast Gives Hands

Gulf Coast Gives

You'd Be Perfect

SRQ Volunteen


Our Chapters

Join the Friends
Help us keep our parks clean, safe, and a breath of fresh air for all the people of Sarasota.
Quick Links
Follow us on TwitterLike us on FacebookVisit our blog
Join Our Mailing List
Clicking on the images below will bring you to more about our programs and

Recognition Fish

Paw Parks of Sarasota

A Worthy Store
Check out the Worthy Cause Store - great items, great prices, and a portion of your purchase goes to the Friends!
Join Our Mailing List

GREETINGS from the Friends of Sarasota County Parks

Welcome to September!

Some of what we've been up to

Folks have been busier than perhaps anyone knew.

For example: On Sept. 24, the Friends will present a check for $60,767.10 to Sarasota County. The funds from vendors' fees at Phillippi Farmhouse Market over the past few years will go toward restoring the historic farmhouse.

phillippi farmhouse
The Market itself will open the first Wednesday in October, as Friends VP Fred Whitehouse reminds us:

The market opens at 9 a.m. and runs through 2 p.m. each Wednesday from October 1, 2014 through Wednesday April 29, 2015.  In addition to local produce there are locally prepared foods to enjoy at the market or take home for a delicious and easy meal.  There are also local artisans with handicrafts, live music and the friendliest volunteers at the Welcome Tent to assist you.  Enjoy ample, free parking, handicap accessibility and know that well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome at the farmhouse market.

Another Friends project getting underway involves the purchase and installation of sun screening at athletic facilities around the county, beginning with the Englewood Sports Complex. Parents of our future Cal Ripkins will be very pleased.

Meanwhile, Friends Coordinator Jodi Carroll is working on a lot of important stuff, including helping get out the word about the new county volunteer system (more about that below), and developing a new Memo of Understanding with the County.

Finally, if your Chapter has a project for which it could use a bit of money, the Friends might be able to help through our partnership with Gulf Coast Gives, a site that has already helped greatly with efforts to extend the Legacy Trail. Get in touch with Terry.

FLT map
Volunteer Sarasota Site Goes Live
heart of the community
volunteerAs noted above, some new, quite impressive volunteer communication software is now live on the Sarasota County website. VOLUNTEER Sarasota County has moved to the powerful Volgistics format to organize folks who do volunteer work for the County, and Friends' members are certainly included.

What this means in practical terms is that even if you're already registered as a volunteer, you'll need to register anew. That's easily done under the "Application" tab. The application form is brief. Below it there's a healthy list of volunteer opportunities around the County. (Hint: the parks opportunities are listed under "P"). Click on opportunities of interest, then click "I Agree" at the bottom and hit "Continue." 

Once you apply, it takes a few days to process your application. Once in the system, you'll have your own account, access to info about volunteer opportunities, and tips on special events like the upcoming National Public Lands Day at Arlington Park on Sept. 27, 9 a.m. to noon.

Whatever job you apply for, you'll be contacted by a volunteer coordinator to discuss needs, tasks, times and openings.

You'll also be able to easily record your hours, even from a smart phone, and get reminders of tasks and times. 

In addition, three good things come with renewing your volunteer registration: 
  1. Benefits in accord with Florida Workers' Comp are afforded only to registered volunteers.
  2. Recording your work hours for the Friends and for the County can mean more grant money for new worthwhile projects for your Chapter. You can also track mileage.
  3. You get to belong to the elite group of volunteers that contribute so much to Sarasota's parks, trails, public lands and more. In July, 746 people contributed 8,087.95 hours  valued at more than $179,000.
Don't forget to sign up -- it's required, it's painless, and, as Friends volunteers keep finding out, it opens the way to many good things.

Any questions? Reach out to Vickie French, or Brenda Canales

Two Paw Parks get spiffed up


Sue Nielson of Friends of the Paw Parks shares this update:


With the encouragement of Friends of the Paw Parks, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation have made some very nice improvements to two of our paw parks - Arlington and Lakeview.

At Arlington, the need for shade is a prominent issue, and recently two good sized trees were planted in the middle of main park to eventually provide needed relief from the hot sun. In addition, the small dog park got its own picnic table and three new additional benches, a poop station, and a sign to let the public know that only dogs 20 lbs. and under are allowed in the small dog park. The fence all around the entire park has been cleaned, vines cleared off, and invasive species removed. Mulch has been placed along the fences to keep weeds down and improve the appearance of the park. All the changes provide a great place for dogs of all sizes to enjoy the paw park at Arlington. After a romp off leash, owners can accompany their dogs on a 6-foot leash for a walk around the rest of the City Park. It's beautiful with a paved trail which leads walkers around a small lake with a fountain, full of turtles looking for a handout at the bridge.... Sorry folks, it's best not to feed the wildlife at the park! Just enjoy watching. You can find several poop stations at points around the park - ALWAYS "Scoop that Poop" and save our Sarasota waters.


At Lakeview, just in the past month, a 6-foot fence was placed between the large and small dog park. This eliminates the safety issue for very small dogs due to fence jumping. The large dog park received several new picnic tables and benches, toxic plant species were removed, an abandoned building taken down, and the entry way was cemented. The small dog park received a new water source and new poop station. In the last several months, the Friends of the Paw Parks have spent at least six hours removing natural debris (fallen branches, ivy on the fence) from the park and are planning further large scale clean up days at all of the paw parks. Lakeview is especially shaded with a great variety of trees and palms, but this leads to a lot of fallen debris. One new schedule change at Lakeview Park. It will be closed on Tuesdays from 12-2 for maintenance.

We want to shout out a BIG THANK YOU to Sarasota County Parks and Recreation for all their hard work and continued dedication to the Paw Parks of Sarasota!!!!!

Please also refer to for complete information on all the Paw Parks in Sarasota County, and watch the Friends' Facebook page for pictures and updates.

See our most recent interview on Animal Outtakes that was shot at Arlington Paw Park!!!!!


Speaking of volunteers

About 80 visiting students from Ringling College spent the warm humid morning of August 16th clearing trails and doing other arduous work at Woodmere, the Hermitage, Payne and West Blalock parks. 

Friends' President Terry Redman wrote:

Ringling at Woodmere
Hi All, I do not know the names of everyone that participated today at 4 sites. I do know that they all worked hard and made our parks a better place for our community. THANKS to everyone for all the hard work. We had close to 100 volunteers and staff for 4 hours -- total = 400 volunteer hours. Thanks,,,thanks,,,thanks,,,,... And thanks to Russ for coordinating the energy bars, gloves, tools, etc....Terry

Some interesting volunteer opportunities coming:

National Public Lands Day at Arlington Park, Sept. 27.

Planting at the Maritime Museum in Cortez, Sept. 27.

Dragon Boat Festival at Nathan Benderson, Oct. 24-26. They need ambassadors to help visiting teams -- 100 of them -- from around the world. Attend the Ambassadors Meeting.

Volunteer Coordinator John Krotec writes:

We are having an Ambassador Recruiting Meeting on Wed., Sept. 3rd, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Lakeside Room at the Meadows Community Center.

$11.8-billion-dollar bay

Sarasota Bay is valued at nearly $12 billion, according to a study funded by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.

"The findings from the study underscore how important Sarasota Bay is to our entire region," said Mark Alderson, the SBEP Director. "Not just the obvious impact on local tourism and real estate value, but also the impact of recreational fishing, recreational boating, eco-tourism, and the quality of life for residents who enjoy the bay year around."

Aside from giving us all reason to look upon our bay with something approaching awe, what about some of Sarasota's other natural assets? What value might a similar study discover in our parks, open lands, the Legacy Trail, or the rural tranquility of East Sarasota County?
A few more things

Have you seen Sarasota County's Field Guide to Conservation Lands? You must. It's a light, lovely compilation offering maps, trails, info on places to hike and explore, divided into Northern, Central and Southern areas. 



Each of 22 lands is given an illustrated profile with background info, directions, even nearby bus stops. You'll really want the physical booklet for walks, but you can download the pdf file from the County's Natural Lands page.


The Audubon Florida Naturalist, the society's popular (and beautiful) conservation magazine, is downloadable for free -- get it here - you'll be glad you did. 



Coming up

  • The Board of the Friends will elect new officers at its September meeting.
  • The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is celebrating National Estuaries Day on Sept. 27th with a planting at the Maritime Museum in Cortez. Details here.
  • The 10th Annual IFAS Plant Sale and EdFest will be at Twin Lakes Park on Oct. 11, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Over 100 teams from 16 nations will be coming to the Dragon Boat Festival at Nathan Benderson Oct. 24-26.
  • Sustainable Communities Workshop: Oct. 29th details here.
  • The Sarasota Bay Water Festival returns Nov. 1 at Ken Thompson Park. Read all about it here.
  • The ninth annual Sarasota Springfest is coming March 7, 2015.
  • You'll find Sarasota parks' September nature events here.

Have a mellow September!

Tom M.

The Newsletter of the  
Friends of 
Sarasota County Parks
                                 Follow us on Twitter   Visit our blog   Like us on Facebook