Sister Keys Cleanup
May 4 @ 8:30 am - 11:30 am
It’s time for the Sarasota Bay Watch Sister Keys Cleanup!
The purpose of the event is to remove trash and debris from Sister Keys, the largest undeveloped islands from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, developers sought to build the Shangri Isle Club on the mangrove islands — complete with a golf course and landing strip for airplanes — and later planned to develop residential homes on the islands. But thanks to the efforts of the Sister Keys Conservancy, a group of citizens that formed to fight development on the four islands, the town purchased the keys in 1992, ensuring their preservation as mangrove wetland.
From 2007-2011 a one million dollar mitigation project removed all invasive floras, replacing them with native species and creating a two-acre wetland. The islands are now one of the best examples of a thriving native marine environment on the west coast of Florida.
Volunteers should bring sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, gloves, glasses and water shoes. Kayaks and boats are welcome; those who don’t have a boat can sign on as crew members. Participants will receive a complimentary lunch after the cleanup at Mar Vista.
Registration begins at 8:30am
Within the beautiful natural habitat of the Sister Keys, nature has some potential hazards. We ask volunteers to please stay within the designated search areas. These areas are located along the mangrove fringe of the islands where all of the significant trash will be found. Thick underbrush, poison Ivy, and many plants armored with thorns are present on the uplands. There is also the possibility of encountering a rattlesnake. The marked trails will minimize any of these potential hazards for volunteers.
For your safety, we have created these designated areas for everyone to have a safe and an enjoyable experience.
- Please stay on the marked trail near the mangrove fringe where most of the trash is found.
- On-foot volunteers can access this area from the trail or by wading along the mangrove fringe in the bay.
- Kayakers can paddle along the bayside and stop at intervals to enter the mangroves and collect trash.
- We’ll provide trash-grabbers for kayakers who prefer to stay in your boats.
- If you spot a gopher tortoise, please enjoy them quietly from a distance. They are an endangered species.
Trash bags and grabbers will be provided. Please leave full bags on the bayside of the mangroves or along the marked trail for Longboat Key Public Works to collect later.
Sarasota Bay Watch members will be along the path and mangroves to assist volunteers and answer questions.
Please consult the map that was provided at registration to acquaint yourself with the search areas and help stations.
To minimize our ecological footprint, please bring your own reusable water bottle with you.
Most importantly enjoy this wonderful resource and thank you for helping to keep it special.
Closed toed shoes, hat, and sunscreen strongly recommended. This is a cleanup event so there is a possibility of getting dirty.
Parking: Please park on the streets in Longboat Key Village where parking is allowed. Please try not to park in restaurant parking spaces.