“South Florida teen planting the seeds of life with mangrove nonprofit”

“South Florida teen planting the seeds of life with mangrove nonprofit”

Photo: Mangrolife FB
“Jonah Basi may be 16 years old and a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, but he’s got a big vision for what he wants South Florida to look like in the future.

‘I want to see huge green mangroves all along the seawalls that I know are contributing to that cleaner water,’ he says. ‘A blue waterway that’s reflecting the sky and not reflecting the toxins and everything that’s in it. And a waterway that’s not filled with trash.’

And he’s not waiting for anyone else to do it. Basi, who founded the nonprofit MangroLife, is getting his hands dirty and being the change he wants to see in the world.

‘This is the most important fight there is for me,’ he says. ‘This is the topic of my college application essays. This is all I talk about.’

Heartbroken to see the constant garbage and pollution clogging the Fort Lauderdale waterway behind his family’s new home, he decided to do something about it — not just collecting trash, but seeds of life.

Propagules are the seeds produced by red mangroves. Basi finds them floating on the water, and since last fall he’s been planting them, first along the seawall behind his home, then growing them in tanks and replanting the seedlings in pots as they grow.

‘But those ones, instead of keeping them on our property we’ve always had the intention to transplant them,’ he says.

And that’s how MangroLife was born. Baby mangroves, nurtured by Basi in his backyard until they’re big and strong enough to be replanted where they’re needed most — along the shorelines and seawalls, near ailing waters desperate for the good they bring.”

— Louis Aguirre, Local 10 News, Fort Lauderdale
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Earth Day: “Florida Springs film series: Biodiversity”

Earth Day: “Florida Springs film series: Biodiversity”

Photo: Florida Museum
“…Watch two free films online and register to view a corresponding panel discussion about the important role of Florida springs with the Florida Museum of Natural History and the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute.

The films, ‘The Santa Fe River Turtle Project’ and ‘Welcome to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex,’ will be posted online at the museum’s website and YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/channel/UCv0fbbG8Lqnuk-lnziLDZ1Q,
for six days from April 22-27 with the panel discussion held the last day.

Documentary filmmakers Eli O’Hearn and Eric Flagg make up the panel along with Santa Fe College biology professor and Santa Fe River Turtle Project leader Jerry Johnston. It will be moderated by Stacie Greco, water conservation coordinator at the Alachua County EPD…”

— Danielle Ivanov, Gainsville Sun
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Register online here
Visit Florida Museum’s site for complete details about this event

“Volusia County to conserve portion of Ormond Scenic Loop – 71,000 signatures were collected in hopes to save land from development”

“Volusia County to conserve portion of Ormond Scenic Loop – 71,000 signatures were collected in hopes to save land from development”

Photo: Molly Reed, WKMG News 6 Orlando
“Residents who had been fighting to stop planned development along a beloved scenic route in Volusia County have won their battle.

The county council on Tuesday voted to buy 36 acres of historic land on the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail.

‘The public literally rose up and supported this project,’ Founder of Dream Green Volusia Suzanne Scheiber said.

Scheiber’s organization handed out over 600 yard-signs and collected 71,000 signatures in hopes to save the land from development.

‘If you drive the loop today you can see all of the developments, you can see all the traffic and you can see the loss of wildlife habitat,’ she said.

Scheiber was able to get the developer of the plantation oaks subdivision to sell 36 acres to the county for $988,000. The organization raised money to help with that cost, too.

‘We raised collectively with North Florida Land Trust $26,250,’ she said.

On Tuesday, the council voted to do that, after the county ECHO committee approved the land as historic with portions of Old King’s Road running through it.

‘Old Kings Road was built by the British in the 1700s and it was called an engineering treasure and one of the most important roadways in the growth of Florida,’ Dona Butler with the county’s community services said…”

— Molly Reed, WKMG News 6 Orlando
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Florida WildQuest – May 1-9

Florida WildQuest – May 1-9

“Explore Florida’s Wildlife Management Areas through a unique scavenger hunt experience!

From May 1 – 9, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host a series of scavenger hunts on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) throughout the state. With the free and easy-to-use GooseChase app, you can go on a wild adventure at your local WMA and discover some of Florida’s best spots to see wildlife and enjoy the outdoors.

Go on a WildQuest scavenger hunt with your family, friends or as a solo adventurer. Use the app to record photos and videos, responding to fun prompts and earning points as you go…”

Some of the featured Wildlife Management Areas:

Big Bend–Tide Swamp
Fisheating Creek
Guana River
L. Kirk Edwards

— Florida Nature Trackers

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Greenspace: “Clearwater voters reject bid to redevelop Landings Golf Course”

Greenspace: “Clearwater voters reject bid to redevelop Landings Golf Course”

Photo: Google Earth, Tampa Bay Newspapers
“Landings referendum

Clearwater voters Nov. 3 soundly rejected a bid to transform the Landings Golf Course into a light industrial complex.

Just over 61% of voters (35,464) voted no on a referendum question on whether the city could lease approximately 58 acres of city-owned property across the street from the Clearwater Airpark to Harrod Properties.

The owners of the course currently lease the property from the city for $1,000 a month. City code states that voters must approve the sale of any city-owned property identified as recreation/open space on the comprehensive land use plan…

City economic development officials say redeveloping the underused golf course into an industrial park would’ve brought major financial benefits, including generating $9.735 million for the city during its first 10 years and also creating 3,281 jobs with an average salary of about $47,000.

Council member Kathleen Beckman and many neighbors of the project led the charge against it, claiming it wasn’t compatible with the area and expressed concerns about traffic and the environmental impact of eliminating the green space…

‘Once these 77 acres are gone and they’re not green anymore, they’re gone,’ Beckman said in June.”

— Chris George, Tampa Bay Newspapers
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Paddling in Florida: “What It’s Like to Canoe Down the Peace River”

Paddling in Florida: “What It’s Like to Canoe Down the Peace River”

Photo: Sarafina Murphy-Gibson, Sarasota Magazine
“The Peace River offers an idyllic view of Florida nature…

At first, I cling rigidly to my paddle, but soon find an easy rhythm as we glide past the lush combination of cypress, oak and palm. The river is almost otherworldly beautiful. With recent storms, its beds are swollen with nearly five extra feet of water and low hanging-branches on the banks sway in the current. The water’s smooth surface reflects a mirrored jungle, backed by its own blue sky. At times it appears we’re floating on clouds…

My interest in the Peace River comes from my recent acquisition of a Florida Fossil Permit, which allows me to collect vertebrate specimens—within certain regulations—on state-owned land. Florida has fascinating geology, unique from the rest of the continental United States, and its riverbeds are a fossil collector’s dream…

The Canoe Outpost has examples of various finds, from dugong ribs to pieces of giant armadillo shells. Beyond the teeth of the giant megalodon sharks, you can also search for the chompers of horses, tapirs, crocodiles and giant ground sloths. How cool is that?…

Roughly four miles along, the outpost offers a series of picnic areas that can also function as campgrounds for those wanting a little more time on the water. They’re marked with blue signs and have names like First Chance and Armadillo Way…
We pass turtles basking in the sunshine, bucolic fields and trees projecting out of the water, their little islands completely submerged. At one point we hear ominous mooing coming from somewhere in the thick foliage, but escape the bovine menace unscathed. After passing underneath a dilapidated train track that still smells like tar, we round the bend and see our driver waving from the Canoe Outpost dock…

Photo: Sarafina Murphy-Gibson, Sarasota Magazine

We made it—and without getting more than our feet wet.”

— Sarafina Murphy-Gibson, Sarasota Magazine
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