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Bay Guardians Remove 342 Pounds of Air Potato Vines at North Water Tower Park

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SARASOTA, FL – A group of 25 adult and youth volunteers with the SBEP Bay Guardians removed 342 pounds of air potato vines and seeds April 14 at North Water Tower Park in Sarasota. The fourth annual Air Potato Roundup was supported by several members of the Sarasota Sky Pilots Disc Golf Club. North Water Tower Park is the home of the area’s most popular disc golf course.

Air potatoes are an invasive species that strangles and covers Florida native plants. The volunteers enjoyed a picnic lunch following the project and a few volunteers practiced throwing discs with guidance from Mike Hepner, an advanced level disc golf player. Another disc golf player, Elken Moseley, won a prize for collecting the most vines and seeds during the morning project. Naturalist guides with Around the Bend Nature Tours were on hand to share insights about the local habitat and wildlife.

The next Bay Guardian volunteer outing is set for Saturday, May 12 at Emerson Point Preserve located in Manatee County. The Bay Guardians will work with professionals from Manatee County Natural Resources to plant a butterfly garden at the popular preserve located at the mouth of the Manatee River. Last June, 55 adult and youth volunteers with the Bay Guardians planted hundreds of Florida-native plants at the 365-acre preserve. Participating groups included Bay Scout Troop 111 and the Marine Scene 4h Marine Science Club.

The Sarasota Bay Guardians is a family-friendly volunteer program that SBEP manages in partnership with Around the Bend Nature Tours. The program was established to attract volunteers interested in helping restore Sarasota Bay. New volunteers receive a blue tee shirt featuring the Bay Guardians logo. You can sign up to participate as a Bay Guardians online at sarasotabay.org. Local school and church groups interested in volunteering can also contact Sara Kane at sara@sarasotabay.org