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Water-Related News

Conserving wildlife habitat focus of February workshop

Urban development would seem to share little with habitat conservation, but a Florida professor will show in a Sarasota County workshop how pairing the two can help save the state's wildlife.

Dr. Mark Hostetler, a University of Florida wildlife ecology and conservation professor, will highlight actions that developers and decision-makers can take to preserve habitat and wildlife during the Feb. 27 "Conserving Biodiversity and Bird Habitat When Land is Developed" workshop.

  • The event, which also will feature experts from UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County highlighting local programs to aid in this effort, is free to the public.
  • It runs 8:15 a.m. to noon at the Sarasota County Extension office, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota.

  • "Urban environments can be designed and managed to conserve wildlife habitat and to minimize impacts on surrounding landscapes," Hostetler said. "For example, small urban forest fragments and trees in residential areas are important habitat for hundreds of species of bird."

    Balancing growth and conservation is critical in a state whose population swells by more than 1,000 each day, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Sarasota County feeds into that rapid growth, adding 20-plus new residents every day, the data show.

    The Feb. 27 workshop, open to the public, will explore principles and practices to assure neighborhoods and developments conserve biodiversity and natural resources. Attendees will learn actions to take before putting plans to paper, while crews are on-site, and after the last nail has been driven.

    The workshop also will highlight the "Building for Birds" online evaluation tool, which allows users to manipulate the amounts of forest fragments and tree canopy available to determine the best designs for conserving bird habitat.

    Hostetler, who brings more than 20 years of experience in urban wildlife and green development issues, will be joined in the workshop by:

    1. Dr. Katherine Clements, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County ecology and natural resources educator
    2. Dr. Abbey Tyrna, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County water resources agent
    3. Dr. Robert Kluson, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County agriculture and natural resources agent
    4. Sara Kane, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County sustainability outreach coordinator

    5. Learn more and register at, or for more information call 941-861-9900 or email Interested participants can register to receive AICP or LEEF credits for a $20 fee.