Park News From Sam Wright
Spring is here and there are many wildflowers blooming at Osprey Junction Trailhead (OJT). Some people might be familiar with Leavenworth’s Tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii), which is the state wildflower of Florida, but may not know of a rarer Coreopsis species called Florida Tickseed (Coreopsis floridana). Florida Tickseed is one of two endemics (found only in Florida) that we recently observed at OJT. The other endemic is Florida Loosestrife (Lythrum flagellare), which is state endangered and can be seen blooming along the edges of our pond. Florida Loosestrife is found in only 13 counties in Florida which are concentrated in the southwest portion of the state. Going forward, as we restore other sections of OJT, we expect to discover more botanical surprises.
Special Volunteer Work Continues
Even though volunteer operations at Osprey Junction Trailhead Park are suspended, a few of our volunteers continue to work on projects, programs and events that do not require work at the park. Some are already approved for implementation and some will be proposed to County Parks for approval to be implemented.
PROJECTS/PROGRAMS/EVENTS APPROVED FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Fireplace Metal Artwork Project
Mark Malkasian made a special donation to fund a special metal artwork to be created and installed above the fireplace in the Visitor Center. Mark is managing the project and has been assisted by Pamela Callender as they worked to select artist Debbie Marucci of Venice and work on the design. The design has been completed, the contract with the artist has been finalized and the artist is working on the artwork.
Brick Patio Project
Dave Zimmerman and Chuck Butterfield are working to install a 12’ x 14’ brick patio at the east end of the Visitor Center screened porch to include a bench. Dave completed a CAD drawing of the design with specifications, the bricks have been selected and general permit approval has been completed. A landscape architect is being selected to prepare construction drawings and an installation contractor will be selected.
Engraved Brick Fundraising Program
Veronica Battles is the administrator of this program. We are selling engraved bricks that will be placed in the Visitor Center patio later this year. The special pre-patio installation price is $150 for a brick plus a variety of symbols are available for $15. The tax-deductible donation for a brick will help support our projects, programs and events.
PROJECT PROPOSALS BEING DEVELOPED FOR APPROVAL
Volunteer Wall of Fame Project
Steve Katzman designed a plaque with movable name plates that will recognize volunteers as they achieve increasing levels of volunteer hours at OJT. It will be installed on the Visitor Center entry area wall. The project is pending approval by County Parks. After approval, Steve will build and install it.
Wildflower Garden Project
Master Gardener Meg Larrabee is working on the proposed design and plant list for this 1900+ sq. ft. garden to be located at the west end of the park near the Visitor Center. It will be installed after the sidewalks are constructed as part of the Park Improvements Project.
Rain Garden Educational Brochure Project
Master Gardener Elena Foster is developing a brochure describing the benefits of a rain garden along with the list of plants in the OJT rain garden. It will also have plant pictures. We will use the brochure as an educational handout when the Visitor Center opens to the public. It will also be used as a model for planned brochures for the butterfly, bird and wildflower gardens.
Sidewalk Circle Landscape Project
Master Gardeners Patty Rohrer and Molly Bartlett are working on the design and plant list for a 350+ sq. ft. landscape area in the middle of a large sidewalk circle that connects four sidewalks. This sidewalk circle is located in the middle of the park as part of the Park Improvements Project with planned construction later this year.
Gardening Activities and Learning Center Project
The greenhouse renovation is being integrated with improvements to areas outside the barn for a proposed Gardening Activities and Learning Center. The primary purposes of the Center will be to grow plants for use in the park, grow plants for sale and conduct gardening education classes for the general public and OJT volunteers. Dave Zimmerman and Chuck Butterfield are developing a concept plan with drawing for approval by County Parks. After approval of the Concept Plan, we will work on specific plans for implementation to be approved. Master Gardener Mary Matteotti and Steve Katzman have joined the Project Team.
Biking Tips from Ralph Monti
Ralph is the immediate past Chair and board member of The League of American Bicyclists in Washington, D.C. He serves as a committee member of the Sarasota Bicycle-Pedestrian-Advisory Committee. Ralph is League Certified Safety Instructor and teaches bicycle safety and maintenance classes in Sarasota and Manatee counties. And he is a proud member of the leadership team of FOJT.
The Bicycle Pre-Ride Quick Check
It’s always smart to check out your bike before every ride. It takes a few minutes but the time you invest is well worth it. Here’s what’s called the pre-ride ABC Quick Check.
A is for air. Check to see there is enough air in both tires and that the tires are in good, working condition.
B is for brakes. Check that your brake pads are good and that they are parallel to the wheels. Check brake lever travel: there should be at least 1 inch between the handlebars and lever when the brakes are applied.
C is for cranks, chains, and cassette. Check to see that the cranks are tight, that the chain is not rusted, crimped, or obstructed, and the cassette cogs (the rear gears) are clean.
Q is for quick release. Quick releases are the levers that might secure your seat post or wheels. Check to see that they are all securely closed.
And lastly, do a final “pre-ride” check by taking a short ride on the bike before leaving on the ride. Make sure everything feels good and is working properly.
Got a bicycling safety, bicycling law, or maintenance question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org