Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Raising money for the Paleo Preserve one lemonade stand at a time

RUSKIN — Standing next to a display case filled with fossils, Braden Cliff grinned.

The 9-year-old Tarpon Springs boy held a $50 check in his hand. He earned it selling lemonade.

Now, he wanted to give it away.

The lucky recipient? The Paleo Preserve.

A small museum located at Camp Bayou, the Paleo Preserve houses an exhibit of ice age fossils found at the nearby Leisey Shell Pit in Ruskin. The museum's president and curator, Frank Garcia, discovered the more than 1.7 million year old bones in the 1980s. Today, he uses them and more recent discoveries to teach children about Florida's history.

"Kids often say this is the best field trip they've ever been on," Garcia said. "It means an awful lot that this kid doesn't want to see us go under."

Braden wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. He's read every book and watched every documentary on dinosaurs and reptiles that he could find. Most of his T-shirts feature the creatures.

He visited the nonprofit museum for the first time with his father last year. He brought along some fossils to donate: a deer antler; dolphin and alligator vertebrae; and an alligator scute (a bony scale), all in a display case with his name underneath.

His visit also inspired him.

"Last time I was here, they said they were having a pretty hard time staying open," he said. "I wanted to help keep the museum running."

Garcia said the museum counts on school field trips to stay open. Those visits are down as school districts tighten belts, he said.

Tasked with developing a business for his third-grade gifted class at Sunset Hills Elementary in Tarpon Springs, Braden chose lemonade with the Paleo Preserve in mind.

He named his stand "Lemonade for Paleo Aid."

He spent two days dishing out the fresh-squeezed lemonade for 50 cents a glass.

"They usually just gave me $1," he said.

He recently traveled to the preserve to make the donation before an afternoon soccer game. While there, he swapped fossil finding stories with Garcia.

Braden's knowledge of dinosaurs even impressed the curator.

"He knows more about dinosaurs than I do," Garcia said.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at or (813) 661-2442.

. fast facts

The Paleo Preserve

It's located inside Camp Bayou at 4140 24th St. SE in Ruskin. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Raising money for the Paleo Preserve one lemonade stand at a time 01/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  2. Marine colonel on temporary duty at CentCom arrested in Polk prostitution sting


    A Marine colonel on temporary duty at U.S. Central Command headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base was among nearly 300 people arrested in a Polk County Sheriff's Office prostitution and human trafficking sting.

    Marine Col. Kevin Scott, 51, was arrested in a Polk County prostitution sting on Oct. 14. Scott, on temporary duty at U.S. Central Command, was charged with a misdemeanor county of soliciting a prostitute. He was released on $500 bond. Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
  3. Senator says deal set on restoring ACA subsidies ended by Trump

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A leading Republican senator says he and a top Democrat have reached an agreement on a plan to extend federal payments to health insurers that President Donald Trump has blocked.

    President Donald Trump sits for a radio interview in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) DCSW104
  4. Pasco delays Irma food distribution after problems elsewhere

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Pasco County has pulled the plug on a planned Food for Florida distribution at the Land O'Lakes Recreation Center that had been scheduled to open to the public on Sunday.

    Pasco County has postponed a planned Food for Florida distribution at the Land O' Lakes Recreation Center on Collier Parkway and is seeking an alternative site. Last week, commissioners said they feared a repeat of the long lines of traffic that appeared outside Plant City Stadium on Oct. 9. The nutrition program for people affected by Hurricane Irma had been scheduled to come to Land O' Lakes Oct. 18 to 27.  [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Officials caution residents regarding storm debris removal


    As the Pasco County Solid Waste Department and its contractors continue to remove debris left behind by Hurricane Irma, residents are reminded that the free removal does not include picking up new, green vegetation.