The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) has scheduled 10 free guided kayak excursions on Sarasota Bay from December through April. The first two trips are to Neal Preserve on Saturday, December 1 and Saturday, December 15. Neal Preserve is located in Manatee County. All of the SBEP kayak excursions require online registration at sarasotabay.org.
The SBEP Bay Wise Kayak Tour Program is a fun learning opportunity to discover the plants, animals, habitats, and restoration projects that distinguish Sarasota Bay. Brad Tanner, a professional guide and the School Programs Coordinator for Mote Marine Laboratory, is the kayak tour leader. Brad is also a member of the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee.
Additional trips are planned for Leffis and Jewfish Key (1/5 and 1/19), Lido Mangrove Tunnels (2/2 and 2/16), Blind Pass (3/2 and 3/16), and Lyons and Blackburn Bay (4/6 and 4/20). Additional information and online registration is available at sarasotabay.org. Participants are required to bring their own kayak and gear. Outfitters throughout the region rent kayaks and offer demonstrations and beginner classes. The Bay Wise Kayak Tour Program is for experienced kayakers.
The late Jack Taylor, a respected marine biologist and former member of the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee, launched the kayak tour program in 2007 as part of a SBEP Bay Partners Grant. Jack earned a PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Florida. He was active with many conservation groups throughout the region and some of his poetry is also posted on the SBEP website at sarasotabay.org.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is dedicated to restoring the area’s greatest natural asset—Sarasota Bay. Its unique program strives to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the area for use and enjoyment by the public. Sarasota Bay is one of 28 protected estuaries in the U.S. The SBEP was founded in 1989 and its partners include Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, Town of Longboat Key, Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.