Outreach and Ecotourism: Where wildlife and people meet
The purpose of this page is to discuss the impact on wildlife of human use in a semi-urban setting. The 300-acre Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility is embedded in the greater Roberts Bay North Watershed in Sarasota County. Water from the Celery Fields flows into Philippi Creek and then into Sarasota Bay.
Since the Fields perform triple use—as a public utility, as a passive recreational area and as a haven for birdlife—the need for public outreach and education is crucial. With the use of hikers, bikers, kayakers, fisherfolk, walkers, exercise buffs, dog walkers and birdwatchers, the potential for overuse and increased pollution is real. The site has also been recognized as a destination for eco-tourists where visitors can enjoy birds and other wildlife.
By providing public education through interpretive signage, printed material, nature walks and children’s environmental programs, it is hoped that the general public and visitors will be able to understand the need for careful use of this outstanding Sarasota asset for the ultimate benefit of a healthy Sarasota Bay, and for the economy of Sarasota County.
Submitted by: Jeanne Dubi, Audubon of Sarasota