Volunteers Back to Work at OJT
Megan Eidel, Trails Management, has announced that volunteers will be able to work at OJT every Wednesday morning from 8:30 to 11:30 am starting July 1. Up to 5 volunteers will be allowed to work each Wednesday. Volunteers, including Master Gardeners, must email Megan to sign up for work firstname.lastname@example.org Other work guidelines are available at ojtfriends.com click on – Volunteer.
Park News From Sam Wright
Many people may not realize the benefit that dead trees (snags) have for native wildlife. Besides providing a food source for insects that are attracted to the decaying wood, snags also provide nesting areas for birds. Many birds such as woodpeckers will excavate cavity holes within dead trees to build a nest. At Osprey Junction Trailhead (OJT) we have observed multiple nesting events of Red-bellied woodpeckers rearing their young in cavity holes of palm snags. We now have a new species of bird that has created a nest in a snag at OJT! At the beginning of June, a pair of Black-bellied whistling ducks were observed on the edges of the northern pond. Whistling ducks actually nest in natural tree cavities and we have observed the adults ducks flying out of a palm snag. Within the last 40 years, whistler ducks have increased their natural range and become more common in Florida. We are honored that this pair of ducks have chosen OJT to create a nest; hopefully we will see some ducklings soon!
Volunteer Wall of Fame
Leadership Team Member Steve Katzman made and installed our Volunteer Wall of Fame display board in the Visitor Center. We are recognizing volunteers that achieve seven levels of volunteer service at OJT starting at “Over 25 Hours” up to “Over 500 Hours”. We currently have 21 volunteer names on the board.
Giving Challenge Final Report
We received the final report of donations during the April 28 – 29 Giving Challenge fundraising event sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The Patterson Foundation matched all donations $25 to $100. Twenty-two people donated $3,764.96 to help fund our projects, programs and events. People that donated $75 or more will receive a donor recognition engraved brick to be placed in the patio by the Visitor Center.
"Sightings with Sam" Videos
County Parks approved our proposal to produce periodic 2-3 minute videos of Sam Wright on the OJT park grounds and make them available online to the public. The “Sightings with Sam” educational videos will focus on native plants and trees, habitat restoration work in the woods, activity in the ponds, wildlife activity and changes in the demonstration gardens installed and maintained by volunteers. Leadership Team Member Beverly Bowen will shoot the videos of Sam starting in July.
Butterflies from Beverly Bowen
Anartia jatrophae – White Peacock
Family: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae) Subfamily: True Brushfoots
Wingspan: 2 – 2 3/4 inches
Larval plants: – Water hyssop (Bacopa), Fogfruit, Ruellia
Eggs are pale yellow, laid on various host plants including ruellia and water hyssop. Caterpillars are black and spiny, with silver spots. Chrysalis green, darkening with age.
Flight: Throughout the year. We sometimes take them for granted but most of the rest of the country does not get this beautiful butterfly.
Habitat: Open, moist areas such as edges of ponds and streams, along shallow ditches, weedy fields, parks.
The White Peacock flies year-round except in very cold weather. They are not cold tolerant. They sip flower nectar and are attracted to Spanish needles in particular. They have a low gliding flight – they can remain active into the early evening after most other species have roosted.
Pedicab Ride Video
Our proposal to produce a video of a pedicab ride and make it available to the public was approved by County Parks. County Communications staff will shoot the video August 12 with County staff Sam Wright as the pedaler and narrator on the ride. Leadership Team Member Ralph Monti worked on this proposal and he will do the introduction on the video. He is also working with Sam on topics to cover during the ride which will go south from OJT through Oscar Scherer State Park to the South Creek Stop Station and Learning Area.
Biking Tips from Ralph Monti
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Be courteous and always yield to pedestrians.
- Know the rules of the trail. The Legacy Trail’s speed limit is 15 mph. Stay within that speed limit including descents on overpasses.
- Slow down and give a clear signal when passing a pedestrian or another bicyclist—either by using a bell or your voice. The standard passing alert is “passing on your left.”
- Anticipate any crash conflicts with other trail users, and beware of illogical actions of 4-legged critters like dogs on expandable leashes, squirrels, rabbits, etc.
- The most dangerous part of a trail is usually where another trail or road crosses, so be cautious, slow down and yield to any traffic.
- Always be predictable by riding in a straight line, and warn others when you are turning, slowing, stopping, or passing.
- While riding in low light (dusk, dawn, or dark) be sure to use a white front light and a red rear light. Choose bright-colored clothing to be visible.
- When riding with others stay on your side of the trail.
- Do not obstruct the trail. Move off the trail when stopped.
- Avoid cell phones when bicycling. Leave the phone calls and texts for later.
Educational Webinars Program
This fall we plan to offer free educational events online using Zoom, to be managed by Leadership Team Members. Initial offerings will be bike safety by Ralph Monti, plein air painting coordinated by Pam Callender, local butterflies by Beverly Bowen, and local birds coordinated by Holly Vincent. Funding for this new program is being provided by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. If anyone has an interest in helping please contact us at email@example.com
New Staff at OJT
Jacob Klasinski has joined the County Parks team at OJT. He will be assisting with The Legacy Trail, Venetian Waterway Park, and trailheads, including OJT. Jacob was born in La Serena, Chile, and grew up in Ocala, Florida where he found a love for exploring the woods and the outdoors. He moved to Sarasota in 2001 and worked in horticulture for multiple years and it grew his passion for flora. His hobbies include fishing, spearfishing, traveling, chess, reading, art, exploring nature, collecting plants, antique American classic cars, and cooking. He is looking forward to working at OJT and contributing to conservation and restoration efforts for Sarasota County as well as sharing his knowledge and passion for fauna and flora with others.
Engraved Brick Fundraising Program
Leave a legacy on a brick patio at the OJT Visitor Center. Your $150 tax-deductible donation for an engraved brick is a great way to celebrate a special occasion, honor a loved one, recognize a club, or advertise a business. Your donation will help support our projects, programs, and events. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org