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Water-Related News

2019 NEST calendar now available

The calendar features Sarasota County students' artwork
It's now available at county facilities, while supplies last.

Each year, the Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) produces the calendar, which supports the county's goal of environmental stewardship. It cultivates a strong conservation ethic in the community's youth and adults.

The theme of the 2019 calendar is "Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution," in which students were asked to convey ways to help reduce the amount of plastic littering our environment, especially on the beaches and in waterways.

Students from schools across Sarasota County were honored by the Sarasota County Commission during Wednesday's board meeting. During a breakfast ceremony prior to the meeting, commissioners signed each winning student's calendar.

Elementary school students in all public and private Sarasota County schools, including charter and elementary-age home-schooled students were invited to participate.

Ty Johnson, a fifth-grade student at Atwater Elementary School, was selected from hundreds of entries as this year's cover winner. The other winners, whose artwork is featured each month, were:

  • January: Wesley Grant, a first-grade student at Atwater Elementary School.
  • February: Annie Sizemore, a second-grade student at Phillippi Shores Elementary School. March: Marcella Byzewski, a fifth-grade student at St. Martha Catholic School.
  • April: Halle Robertson, a fifth-grade student at Laurel Nokomis School. May: Gabriella Stavola, a second-grade student at St. Martha Catholic School.
  • June: Blake Pardee, a second-grade student at Venice Elementary School. July: Dallena Shelton, a fifth-grade student at Island Village Montessori School.
  • August: Sean Ballentine, a fourth-grade student at Taylor Ranch Elementary School. September: Emily Smalley, a fifth-grade student at Incarnation Catholic School.
  • October: Aria Geimer, a first-grade student at Ashton Elementary School. November: Reece Lanum, a fourth-grade student at Garden Elementary School.
  • December: Stephanie Orjuela-Ortega, a third-grade student at Imagine School at Palmer Ranch.

According to Mollie Holland, NEST coordinator, plastics in the ocean are becoming the largest environmental threat to Earth's oceans. Every day, tons of plastic waste from the land finds its way to the ocean, forming vast islands of floating trash.

"Plastic has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or becoming entangled in it," Holland said. "Throughout the calendar there are opportunities to learn simple changes in everyday life that can help reduce the amount of single-use plastic products found in the environment."

For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000