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Water-Related News

2021 Sarasota County NEST calendar now available

Sarasota County's 2021 Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) Calendar is now available at county facilities, while supplies last. The calendar is provided each year by the NEST to build community awareness and help introduce environmental and sustainability practices to elementary schools.

This year's theme, "Today, I choose the bay," challenged students to illustrate ways to incorporate sustainability practices into everyday routines. Students identified positive habits such as rerouting downspouts, limiting single-use plastics, and practicing responsible boating as some of the many ways residents can help protect area watersheds.

Students are typically honored by the Sarasota County Commission during a December board meeting proclamation, however, this year's winners and their families submitted their own photos for a presentation to the board on Wednesday.

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

Kiera Gilmour, a second-grade student at Tuttle Elementary School, was selected from hundreds of entries as this year's cover artist. The other winners, whose artwork is featured each month, were:

  • January: Sustainable choices can keep our bay clean and healthy.
    Artwork by Chloe Knowles, Laurel Nokomis Elementary School, Grade 5.
  • February: Plastic and other trash can end up in our bays, so use less single-use plastic.
    Artwork by Chase Lanum, Garden Elementary School, Grade 4.
  • March: Participate in a local clean up event to keep our waterways clean.
    Artwork by Camden Lee, Garden Elementary School, Grade 1.
  • April: Support local sustainable products and companies.
    Artwork by Ava Donoghue, Tatum Ridge Elementary School, Grade 5.
  • May: Be a respectful boater when enjoying our bays.
    Artwork by Kingston Wilhelm, Fruitville Elementary School, Grade 3.
  • June: Our beautiful wildlife needs clean water to live.
    Artwork by Eligh Galati, Bay Haven Elementary School, Grade 3.
  • July: Reroute downspouts to help the rain soak in.
    Artwork by Blaydynn Ward, Glenallen Elementary School, Grade 1.
  • August: Pack it back! Make sure you leave your spot on the beach clean and litter-free.
    Artwork by Jackson Grundy, Lakeview Elementary School, Kindergarten.
  • September: Most pollution sources are land-based, so do your part to reduce the effects.
    Artwork by Sofia Shahan, Tatum Ridge Elementary School, Grade 4.
  • October: Keeping Sarasota clean can have global benefits.
    Artwork by Mia Peralta, Phillippi Shores Elementary School, Grade 2.
  • November: Be a good ambassador for clean water everywhere you go.
    Artwork by Addison Delgado, Phillippi Shores Elementary School, Grade 2.
  • December: It’s fun to fish, swim, and dive in clean waters.
    Artwork by Addison Olivia, Sarasota Suncoast Academy, Grade 5.

According to NEST Coordinator Mollie Holland, this year's theme reminds the community how we can continue to improve our natural resources by making small changes to the way we live our everyday lives.

Hundreds of drawings were submitted illustrating a variety of responsible habits and the winners did an amazing job of sharing pictures of their celebrations since an in-person reception could not be held, Holland said.

"These artists did a really good job of representing what these changes meant to them," she added.

The NEST calendar began in 2005 as a way to help students understand water quality improvements, terms, and practices at a young age.

For more information on the NEST calendar, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit