On November 6th, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) in a public hearing voted 5-0 to put parcels 1, 2, and 4 (SE, NE, and SW) at the Celery Fields under conservation easement! Parcel 3 already has a fire station on it so that parcel was out of play. The effort to save the Quad parcels started 3 years ago by a community activist group, Fresh Start. After several public hearings, public input, and multiple letters/emails to the BCC, Sarasota Audubon teamed with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to request a conservation easement on the parcels.
It was in large part due to the trust that the BCC has in Audubon and the Conservation Foundation, that the 5-0 vote came about. This was a truly community/society/foundation effort though. Fresh Start’s loud voices got this effort to the finish line, and Audubon and the Conservation Foundation were able to push it over!
The next steps? Sarasota Audubon and the Conservation Foundation will work with at least 6 county departments in shaping the conservation easement. This will likely take about a year. In the meantime, both of our organizations will have to raise funds for the restoration and maintenance, as well as for volunteers to help with plantings. If you would like to be part of this conservation effort, you can donate at www.sarasotaaudubon.org/donate. We have set up an SAS Quad Fund for this purpose.
Thanks to all who poured their energy into this momentous outcome. Let’s keep going!
Jeanne Dubi, Acting President