Grant for Bee Ridge Community Garden
Neighbors around Bee Ridge Park have been awarded grant funding to develop Sarasota County's newest Community Garden. Community Gardens offer a space to grow fresh, healthy produce while providing social opportunities to meet your neighbors. Learn more about local Community Gardens and how you can get involved.
Rain Garden Resources
Thinking about adding a rain garden to your landscape? UConn Extension's new Rain Garden App leads the user through the proper siting, sizing, construction, planting and maintenance of a rain garden. Use it alongside the Florida-Friendly Landscaping(TM) Plant Database to help you create a beautiful garden that helps preserve water quality. You also won't want to miss our upcoming Rain Gardens class at Shamrock Park, Thursday March 21
Spring Wildlife Lookout
In March, listen for newly-returned chuck-will's-widows calling after sunset. You may also hear male frogs and toads as they move to ponds, streams, and ditches to breed during rainy nights. Keep an eye (and an ear) out for wildlife by visiting UF/IFAS's Wildlife Happenings website to learn what Florida's wildlife is doing throughout the year.
Local Foodshed Delivers in Emergency
Local farmers were out providing fresh, nutritious food to their communities at the farmers markets in the Bronx and Queens less than a week after Super Storm Sandy hit New York. The resiliency demonstrated by these markets is a testament to the integral role that farmers markets play in community food security, and to the strength of the network of local farmers, market managers and volunteers in times of emergency. Read more on this story here.
New Faces at Extension!
Over the last several months, we have had the pleasure of welcoming a few new faces to UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County! Jackie Warr joins us from the Florida Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) as our Office Coordinator. Erin Alvarez (left),our new Commercial Horticuluture/IPM Extension Agent, comes to us from UF's Environmental Horticulture Department. Also joining the team is Zach Glorioso, a recent graduate of our Sustainable Floridians course and our regional Farm to School Program Coordinator. Each of them brings new energy and talent to our team, helping us to serve the community better. If you have not met them already please stop by to welcome them and introduce yourself next time you visit Extension! Contact information can be found on our Faculty and Staff Directory.
Nutrition Program Expands
In recent months, the Family Nutrition Program (FNP) expanded to offer new services at Woodland Middle School in North Port. FNP continues to serve four other area schools, the Sarasota County Health Department, and many community partners. This federally-funded program is designed to increase food security and reduce the risk of chronic disease, health complications and food borne illness. Learn more about FNP.
Make 5210 Your Goal Every Day
Continued Leadership from Former 4-Her
As a Sarasota County 4-H member, Sean Russell provided outstanding leadership as the 4-H Sarasota County Council President and went on to create the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and "Stow It-Don't Throw It" marine conservation programs in partnership with Mote Marine. This year the Youth Ocean Conservation Team has expanded to become a global network of youth and adults who are passionate about protecting our planet's marine ecosystems. Find out more at
www.youthoceanconservationteam.org. Additionally, Sean's contributions were recently honored at the 6th annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards where he received the Christopher Benchley Youth Award. UF/IFAS Extension congratulates and celebrates Sean on his leadership!
Free, Cutting Edge Learning Events
Sharpen your saw where and when it's most convenient with online learning. The UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education (PIE)monthly webinar series, Easy as PIE, andeXtension's free professional development sessions at Learn are both free and open to anyone. Upcoming topics include Pinterest for Your Business on March 14, Impacts of Locally-Grown Foods on March 20, Don't Bug Me Webinar: You Have Fire Ants Where? on April 5 and Strategic Planning on April 17. Visit the PIE Center and the Learn website for information on all upcoming events.
April is Water Conservation Month!
April is Water Conservation Month and a good time to get your irrigation system working its best. Consider signing up for a free irrigation evaluation, attending the upcoming Irrigation 101 class, adding moisture-conserving mulch, or installing a smart controller to help save water in your landscape.
UF/IFAS Water Survey
5th Small Farms Conference: Aug 2-4
The 5th Annual Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference promises to inform and inspire agricultural innovators. Join us August 2-4 in Kissimmee, Florida for farm tours, a trade show, networking opportunities, live animal exhibits, hands-on workshops, and delicious locally-grown food! Don’t miss this chance to learn more about farming as well as alternative enterprises such as beekeeping, hydroponics, grass-fed beef and more. You will have the opportunity to interact with other farmers and industry professionals and get all of your questions answered. Join the mailing list on the conference website to receive updates.