Blue Carbon Study Supports Tampa Bay Habitat Restoration and Resiliency Planning

A study, led by Restore America’s Estuaries in partnership with several leading conservation agencies and organizations including Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Tampa Bay Watch, reinforces the importance of restoring coastal habitats in Tampa Bay and around the nation to buffer the effects of rising seas and a changing climate. By the year 2100 seagrasses, marshes and mangroves in Tampa Bay are expected to remove 74 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – an amount equivalent to removing 160,000 cars off the road every year until 2100.

The study includes locally collected data, models the impacts of sea-level rise over the next 100 years, and provides management recommendations for adaptation planning. This highlights the substantial contribution that Tampa Bay coastal habitats provide for capturing and storing carbon, and provides new data to help local organizations and agencies understand what actions are needed most to help the Bay mitigate the effects of sea-level rise, while continuing to improve habitat health and the Bay’s overall environmental and economic integrity.

Access the report online at

“Folkfest St. Pete” Announces Call to Artists for its 10th Anniversary Festival

Creative Clay, Inc., announces its annual Folkfest St. Pete Nov. 5 and 6 on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg’s Edge District.  This 10th anniversary of the folk art and music festival, held in front of Creative Clay’s headquarters 1114 Central Avenue, benefits its Community Arts Program.

National, regional and local artists are invited to exhibit at the two-day festival, which draws 5,000 visitors annually. Booth fee for two days remains unchanged at $150.00, with set up on Nov. 5. Booth sizes are 10” X 10”. Exhibiting artists receive free parking close to the venue and coffee and light breakfast each morning of the festival.  Festival times are Saturday, Nov 5 , 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 6, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Folkfest St. Pete has attracted well-known folk artists such as Missionary Mary Proctor, Don Stone, Bean Spence, Kerry Topjun, jellykoe and more. Creative Clay’s member artists also exhibit and sell their work, as part of the non-profit’s vision of making the arts accessible to all. All proceeds from the festival benefit Creative Clay’s Community Arts Program, which provides professional arts instruction to individuals with disabilities five days a week.

“We are so excited to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Folkfest St. Pete,” said Folkfest St. Pete Director Emily Turnage, who also serves as Creative Clay’s Community Arts Director and Volunteer Coordinator.  “We’re offering spaces for local and national folk artists alike to enjoy two days of music, art and fun in our vibrant Edge District. The best part is that all funds raised benefit our member artists and help us increase our programming and enhance our educational offerings.”


Creative Clay’s mission is to provide expressive, educational and vocational opportunities in the arts for people with obstacles to arts access. We serve people with developmental, physical and emotional disabilities, as well as people in healthcare settings, children, veterans, and provide outreach art experiences in our community. Creative Clay’s range of innovative programs and special events celebrate community and the richness of our local and regional arts. In addition to its core program Community Arts, Creative Clay programs include Creative Care Arts in Healthcare, Artworks, Artlink, Summer Youth Arts Camp, Transition and Open Studio. These programs serve hundreds of individuals every week. Visit for more information. Like our Creative Clay and Folkfest St. Pete Facebook pages; follow us on Instagram @creativeclay and @folkfeststpete and on Twitter @creativeclay.

Learn about sea turtles, practice turtle ‘Safety 101’

With kids back in school, it’s a good time for families to sit down together to learn about the sea turtles nesting on Florida beaches, and ways to keep them safe.


No pop quiz when you’re done, just a chance to practice what you have learned about coexisting with these ancient sea creatures.

Five Fun Facts about Sea Turtles

1. Sea turtle nesting season in Florida lasts through October.
2. A female sea turtle can lay more than 100 eggs per nest.
3. Some juvenile and adult sea turtles eat jellyfish.
4. Loggerheads are the most abundant sea turtle species nesting in Florida.
5. Male sea turtles never return to shore after hatching, but female sea turtles come back to sandy beaches to nest.


“Florida beaches provide nesting habitat for loggerhead, green and also, less often, leatherback and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles,” said Dr. Robbin Trindell, leader of the sea turtle management program at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “Let’s help them survive by keeping our beaches free from obstacles, so adults and hatchlings are safe when they visit. To do this, follow a few basic tips so you can help protect Florida’s threatened and endangered sea turtles.”

The FWC recommends residents and visitors in Florida’s coastal communities follow these guidelines to help conserve sea turtles and their hatchlings:

baby-seaturtle-vertical1. Hands Off Hatchlings! Sea turtle hatchlings are digging out of their nests and clambering toward the ocean in September and October, the last months of Florida’s sea turtle nesting season. Just remember, “Hands off!” is the best policy for beachgoers encountering sea turtle hatchings. Even well-meaning attempts to rescue sea turtle hatchlings can do more harm than good. And digging into a sea turtle nest, entering a posted area or picking up a sea turtle hatchling to take a photo are against the law.

2. Turn Out the Lights, Save a Life. Turn off or adjust lighting along the beach in order to prevent nesting females or hatchlings from getting confused and going toward lights on land, instead of the salt water where they belong. Use turtle-friendly lighting outside homes and other buildings along the beach. Replace incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity bulbs with FWC-certified low-wattage, long wavelength options available in red or amber colors. Turn out outdoor lights at night when not needed. With beach lighting, remember to:

  • Keep It Long – Long wavelength lights are better for turtles. Look for the red and amber lights that have been certified as turtle-friendly by the FWC.
  • Keep It Low – When illuminating walkways use low-wattage bulbs and install lights close to the ground.
  • Keep It Shielded – Focus lights down, not up or outward, to avoid confusing nesting turtles and hatchlings.
  • Shut Curtains and Blinds – Close curtains and draw blinds at night on beachfront windows and doors.

3. Clear the Way at the End of the Day. Nesting mothers and hatchling sea turtles can get trapped, confused or impeded by gear left on the beach at night. Remove items such as boats, beach chairs, umbrellas, buckets and tents at the end of the day, and fill in holes or level piles of sand before nightfall. Also, avoid burying umbrella poles in the sand; use pole-holders or sleeves instead. Properly dispose of any trash, food or other litter in covered trash cans to avoid attracting predators to the nests.

4. Choose Turtle-Friendly Activities. Remember less beach driving means more sea turtles surviving! While driving carts, cars or trucks are allowed on some beaches, vehicles can crush sea turtle nests, killing hatchlings and nesting turtles. Lighting bonfires on the beach is also hazardous to sea turtles. In addition to the danger of a fire on the sand, the bright light can confuse hatchlings making their way to the ocean. Also remember it is illegal to disturb or harm sea turtles and their nests, eggs and hatchlings.

The FWC works to conserve Florida sea turtles, including coordinating nesting beach survey programs around the state. Report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 1-888-404-3922, #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone or text Visit, and click on “Sea Turtles and Lights” or “Wildlife Friendly Lighting” for more information on keeping beaches dark and safe for sea turtles.

Information and photos courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

St. Petersburg Museum of History Extends Experience Cuba to October 16

One of the St. Petersburg Museum of History’s most popular exhibits will be around a little bit longer. Experience Cuba – a multi-faceted exhibition celebrating the beauty, culture and history of the once forbidden island – will remain open to visitors through Sunday, October 16.

“The attendance numbers for this amazing exhibit remain strong, which is rare for a temporary exhibit towards the end of its run,” said Executive Director Rui Farias. “We are grateful and honored to have the opportunity to continue to present this amazing exhibit to residents and visitors of Tampa Bay.”


Presented by AARP and the Florida Humanities Council, Experience Cuba is anchored byCuba, The Natural Beauty – A Photography Exhibit by renowned Florida photographer Clyde Butcher. The exhibit also includes artwork from modern Cuban artists, Los Carpinteros and Ibrahim Miranda, as well as a gallery of photographs of Cuba submitted by the Tampa Bay community.

Experience Cuba was scheduled to close September 30, 2016.

The St. Petersburg Museum of History – celebrating its 94th year – is located at 335 2ndAvenue NE on the Pier Approach. Hours are 10am-5pm MondaySaturday and Noon-5pm on Sundays. For more information, please call 727.894.1052 or visit

Pinellas Commission Adopts FY2017 Budget

pinellascountyThe Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners adopted the final $2.2 billion budget for the 2017 fiscal year at its Sept. 27 final budget public hearing.

The FY2017 budget represents a 6.4 percent increase over the current budget, due to a net increase in personal services, capital and reserves. No increase in the countywide millage rates was required to balance the budget and meet important needs and priorities. The 2017 fiscal year begins Saturday, Oct. 1.

“The adopted budget aligns with the county’s strategic goal of responsibly managing public resources in our delivery of everyday services to our residents,” said Commission Chairman Charlie Justice.

The FY2017 budget carefully and incrementally will restore service levels to meet pressing community needs in a financially-prudent manner. Key areas include:

  • Increased staffing for code enforcement to reduce response times.
  • Health program enhancements including HIV/AIDS educational outreach, dental sealant for elementary and middle school children, and 211 after-hours staffing to reduce call wait times.
  • Establishment and funding for a Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) in Lealman to enable specific improvements to services and infrastructure as guided by the community.
  • Homeless support to enable rapid re-housing, case management and care coordination.

A comprehensive overview of the budget is available for citizens to review at the Office of Management and Budget website, Residents may also watch a video to learn more about the budget process.

The County Commission held its first public budget hearing on the FY2017 budget on Sept. 14. Earlier in the year, the BCC held a Community Conversation in May, inviting citizen input in person, by phone and on digital platforms about issues important to them. Throughout the spring and summer, the Commission held a series of budget information sessions to review key program areas and develop strategies to better serve the community. At these sessions, the Board obtained information on budget proposals for county departments, as well as budget presentations by independent agencies and elected officials.

The Pinellas County “Doing Things for You” app is available for residents to report issues and access useful resources. Pinellas County can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. More information is available on the county website which features LiveChat for assistance. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Produce, Grower and Food Vendor Applications Now Being Accepted for The Beach Markets

beach-marketsAdditional spaces have become available at free to discounted rates for Produce, Grower and Food Vendors at the the Mid-Week Madeira Beach Beach Open Air Market (held on Wednesdays) and the Indian Shores SundayMorning Market.

The Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market will open on Sunday, October 2 and the Madeira Beach Open Air Market will open Wednesday, October 5.  Both Markets are Seasonal and are scheduled to run weekly through the end of May, 2017.  Hours at the Madeira Beach Market are from 9am-2pm.  Hours at the Indian Shores SundayMorning Market are from 9am-1pm.

New Vendors and new applications are subject to Advisory review and will be accepted as space allows. Vendor Applications, Market Rules and the Vendor Handbook are available at

The Madeira Beach Open Air Market is located on Madeira Way between Gulf Boulevard and the Tom Stuart Causeway and hosts between 55-90 Vendors. The Indian Shores Sunday Morning Market is located on the grounds of the Town of Indian Shores Municipal Center at 19305 Gulf Boulevard and accommodates approximately 40 Vendors.

The Markets are free of charge and family friendly.  Leashed pets are welcome.

For further information, or to apply as a Vendor, please

St. Petersburg Preservation Walking Tours Start this October

October marks the beginning of St. Petersburg Preservation’s (SPP) 2016-2017 walking tour season. Tours will be offered every Saturday through April. Tours are free to SPP members and just $10 for non-members. Tours start at 10 a.m., except for the Historic Gulfport tour (3pm) and the lunch time tour (noon). Saturday tours, last approximately two hours and the Friday lunchtime tour lasts approximately one hour. Tour starting locations vary, depending upon the tour. Tour details, including starting time and location are listed below.

Tour participants see the jewels of St. Pete’s past while learning about the founding of the city, its historic architecture, and some of its newest architectural gems. SPP will be offering a wide choice of walking tours for the fall season. Tours, times and locations can be verified by checking the SPP website calendar, or by calling the SPP event line at 727 824 7802.



Saturday, October 1 & November 5 – The “Original” Downtown Walking Tour – starts at 10 a.m. at the corner of 1 st St and 1 st Ave. S.E., next to the entrance to the Saturday Morning Market (100 1 st St. S.E., St. Petersburg 33701). Tour participants will take a trip through the heart of downtown St. Pete, seeing grand hotels, stately churches, and architectural treasures like the Snell Arcade and the Open Air Post Office as well as seeing many examples of how historic buildings have been successfully reused. Additionally, participants will learn about how the city started and became one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations in the 1920’s. Much of the walk will be thru the Downtown National Register Historic District.


Friday Lunchtime Tour – Oct. 7 & Nov. 18 – starts at noon in front of Mickey’s Café & Organics, 318 Central Ave. The Friday lunchtime tour is led by architectural historian and St. Petersburg Preservation President Emily Elwyn. Tour goers will see some of the best of the city’s architecture, including the Open Air Post Office and the adjacent Snell Building, while being led by a historian offering a unique perspective on the growth of the ‘Burg. The tour will last approximately one hour, offering a great introduction to the city for visitors and a fun way for residents to learn something new about their city.

Saturday, October 8 &November 12 – The Waterfront Tour – starts at 10 a.m. at the corner of 1 st St and 1 st Ave. S.E., next to the entrance to the Saturday Morning Market (100 1 st St. S.E., St. Petersburg 33701). The waterfront has a great history, ranging from being the site of the fountain of youth to the departure point for the world’s first airline. Tour participants will get to visit the fountain of youth and learn about the history of the city, including the civic visionaries who transformed a working waterfront into one of the largest waterfront park systems in the country. In addition to seeing some of the best of the past tour goers will also have a chance to learn about some of the newest buildings gracing the waterfront and what the city has done to encourage good design in those buildings.

Saturday, October 15 & November 19 – Historic Gulfport – starts at 3 p.m. at the Gulfport Historical Museum, 5301 28 th Ave. S., Gulfport, FL. The Gulfport tour offers a stroll in the "suburbs" of funky and artsy Gulfport. Tour participants will get a look at this former fishing village on Boca Ceiga Bay and its collection of historic commercial and residential structures, including the National Register listed Gulfport Casino. With the introduction of the streetcar connecting it to St. Pete, Gulfport began to grow and to attract tourists in the 1920’s. The tour will be led by Cathy Salustri, a Gulfport local, author and the arts & entertainment editor for Creative Loafing.

Saturday, October 22 & November 26 – Westward Ho to Historic Kenwood – starts at 10 a.m. at Craftsman House Gallery, 2955 Central Ave. The tour offers a chance for participants to enjoy the feel & character of Historic Kenwood, one of the country’s premier bungalow neighborhoods and a National Register listed historic district. The tour is led by neighborhood residents proud to “show off” their neighborhood and excited to explain how hard work and reusing history changed a declining neighborhood into one of the ‘Burg’s most desirable neighborhoods. The tour will include a brief look inside one of the neighborhood’s restored bungalows. After the tour, guests can choose to enjoy a drink or lunch on the wonderful front deck at the Craftsman House, an “airplane” bungalow, the neighborhood’s original model home and a locally listed landmark.

New Name for Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary

baby-birdLetter from the NEW Seaside Seabird Sanctuary:

We are delighted to announce a new path forward for our sanctuary! As of September 1, 2016, we are a completely new organization, now known as Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, formerly Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. With experienced management, a new board, and leadership from the Busch von Gontard family, who possess a long history of wildlife conservation, we look forward to earning your continued support as we put avian wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and environmental education at the forefront of our mission.

The Sanctuary’s daily operations will be managed by Eddie Gayton, Operations Manager, who has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation for the past six years. He will be supported by Brian Tharp, Business Manager, a retired United States Air Force officer, and by a team of passionate and loyal staff and volunteers. My family and I are excited to work with Eddie and Brian and the rest of the team to make Seaside Seabird Sanctuary a world-class avian rehabilitation center.

Please come by, if you haven’t already, and see our newly refurbished bird enclosures and rehabilitation facility. We know that we are stronger together, and that the birds deserve a brighter future.

If you have any questions, please contact our office at 727-392-4291. For donations and address information, we are Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, still residing at 18328 Gulf Blvd, Indian Shores, FL 33785.

By conserving our precious seabirds and the resources they and all of us depend on, we are fostering a healthier environment while instilling a legacy for future generations. We look forward to seeing you and your families soon!

With warmest regards,

Andrew von Gontard
President and Executive Director, Seaside Seabird Sanctuary

Build Oyster Domes at Tampa Bay Watch

oyster-domesTampa Bay Watch is recruiting 10-20 hard-working volunteers to help build oyster domes at our Marine Center, 3000 Pinellas Bayway South in Tierra Verde. The project takes place on specified weekday mornings from 9 am until noon. The minimum age to participate in this project is 16 years old. The project involves pouring marine-friendly concrete into fiberglass molds to create oyster domes and taking apart the molds that were previously poured.

Oysters need to attach to a hard structure to grow into adults and the rough texture of the domes makes it easier for oysters to grow. Oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. Learn more about the oyster dome program here.

Click on project date to register to volunteer:

Wednesday, Sept 21

Monday, Sept 26

Monday, Oct 3

Wednesday, Oct 5

Friday, Oct 7

Monday, Oct 10

Wednesday, Oct 19

Friday, Oct 21

The Florida Holocaust Museum chosen by USA TODAY as the #1 Museum to visit in St. Petersburg and Clearwater!

florida-holocaust-museum-25-yearsThe Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) is thrilled to announce that they have been chosen by USA TODAY as the #1 museum to visit in St. Petersburg – Clearwater out of a top 10 list of museums! This rating comes at a very exciting time for The FHM as the start of their 25th Anniversary year was just announced last weekend.

Upon visiting many of the wonderful museums in the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area, USA TODAY “10 Best Expert” Michelle da Silva Richmond said, “One of the most impressive is The Florida Holocaust Museum, where that sad chapter in history is reverently honored.”

For the past 25 years, The Museum’s focus has been to tell the story of millions who suffered or died during the Holocaust through the personal testimonies, official documentation, photographs and artifacts of individual narratives. As we continue to hear news stories regarding the hatred and intolerance throughout our nation and the world, The FHM’s commitment to preventing future genocides by teaching the lessons of the past through testimonies, artifacts, and lessons of the past is more important than ever.

Throughout the duration of The FHM’s 25th Anniversary year, there will be many exciting events and exhibitions taking place. The next upcoming event is The Giving Challenge, a 24-hour online day of giving event starting onTuesday, September 20th at noon and ending on Wednesday, September 21st at noon. The Patterson Foundation will provide a 2:1 match for contributions from all donations made online at The FHM is the only organization in the Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater area selected to participate.


The Florida Holocaust Museum features permanent exhibitions of one-of-a-kind artifacts from the Holocaust and traveling exhibitions of art and history. Its educational programs and resources for students and teachers are used throughout the state of Florida and beyond. The FHM is one of only three Holocaust museums accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and uses the lessons of the past to help create a better future for all.

The Florida Holocaust Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Link to read USA TODAY’s “10 Museums Worth Visiting in St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL” article:

About The Florida Holocaust Museum

The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of innocent men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides.