Tampa Audubon Junior Naturalists

May 21 – Flatwoods Park - entrance on Morris Bridge Road ($2.00 per car).  http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/areas/lh-flatwoods.html
– Bluebirds

We meet the 3rd Saturday of each month September – May.  Each program starts with an educational portion about nature and lasts 10-15 minutes. Then we will go on a 45 – 60 minute nature walk.  Participation of a parent is a requirement.  These programs are free.

Park entry fees apply and each program requires pre-registration by emailing the leader Nancy Murrah at EagleWatch@tampaaudubon.org. You may also  text or call her at 813-205-1851.  Please bring plenty of water for each person and a small snack. Each person must be able to hike on their own.  Some parks have paved trails or boardwalks, others have hard packed sand which may or may not accommodate a stroller or wheelchair. If you or your children have special needs, please discuss these with the leader prior to signing up for the program.  Bug spray and sun screen are suggested and it’s a good idea for everyone to wear a hat.  If it is raining the trips will be cancelled.  If it’s cold, please layer clothing for comfort.

Programs are held at various parks around the Tampa Bay Area.

  • The programs will start at 9:00 and will conclude by 10:30. (exception is 2/20 Manatee Viewing Center, which doesn't open until 10:00am)
  • There will be an extended portion of the walk from 10:30 – 11:00 for families with older kids that want to see more. 

How to Practice Conservation with Children’s lunches

Summer has come and gone – vacations were taken, relatives were visited, memories were made. The beginning of a new school year is a great time to develop some easy and green habits to carry on throughout the year.

For kids who take their lunch to school, there are so many alternatives to the single-use packaging often turned to simply for convenience. Ultimately, these same single-use containers contribute to unnecessary amounts of trash ending up in landfills. However, there are ways to minimize your landfill contributions:

  • Forget buying the 24-pack of individual water bottles and buy just one that can be refilled hundreds of times. There are many different designs and styles, but most of all, you won’t be contributing to the millions of water bottles that become litter or end up in the trash.
  • Sure there are plastic forks, spoons and knives, but what happens when the meal is over? Another piece of plastic usually ends up in the trash. Instead, try switching to reusable bamboo utensils, or even buy inexpensive flatware that can be washed daily.
  • Plastic baggies are a convenient way to transport small amounts of food items for lunch. BUT, baggies turn into another wasteful product when emptied. Today, there are colorful, reusable plastic bags that can transport your daily food choices just as well.
  • Individual servings can be fine – when you individualize them yourself. Instead of buying the 6-pack of fruit slices or juice boxes, buy a larger can of fruit or bottle of juice and divide into reusable containers. It not only helps the environment, but also saves money.

The facts below may make it easier to forego the convenience of single-use packages:

  • Only 9 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2013 was recovered for recycling. (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
  • It takes about 72 billion gallons of water a year to make plastic bottles. (Source: Say No to Plastic).
  • Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. (Source: Ecowatch).
  • Recycling 1 ton of plastic can save over 7 cubic yards of landfill space. (Source: Recycling Facts.org)

When it comes time to recycle your worn-out reusables, contact your local county recycling program or visit Earth911.