Preserves need to be maintained
Brooker Creek Preserve, along with the other county environmental lands, needs restoration, maintenance and help to remove invasive plants. Too much of the Pinellas County Environmental Land Division's budget goes to the education centers, which leaves little money for restoration.
It is the land we preserved that should come first. There are two education centers and just four maintenance workers to care for all of these lands along with volunteers and some herbicide treatments.
The county needs to shut down the Brooker Creek Preserve Education Center or transfer the center to a nonprofit organization such as Audubon and use the saved dollars for hiring maintenance workers to care for these lands. The Weedon Island Education Center could be placed with the county's Culture, Education and Leisure Department.
Also, the county's Environmental Lands Division needs to be reorganized with a focus on caring for these lands. The division needs to hire a couple more land managers and at least 20 maintenance workers to better care for these lands.
What good are education centers when the land is polluted with invasive vegetation that is killing the native flora? These lands need to be restored and maintained to offer the best example of real Florida. Some of these lands, such as the Ozona Preserve, have lost much of their native flora because there was little help to prevent the invasives from spreading. The invasives have crowded out, strangled and killed off too much of the native flora on these precious lands.
The county government has to find a better way to care for our preserves.
Reggie Hall, Ozona
Re: Teen with a cause confronts county | story, Jan. 8
Thanks to teen who sued county
A special thank-you to Mathew Poling for doing something every citizen in Pinellas County should be doing: suing the county to stop it from building more water plants or reservoirs on land labeled "preservation" in the countywide plan.
While the rest of us are just sitting around watching our county government abuse our environment, a young 18-year-old has the guts to take on the county and tell them to stop it. We should all stand behind this young man and support him in every way we can.
As Indian Chief Seattle wrote, "The earth does not belong to man." It is our responsibility to protect it.
Margaret Hyde, Clearwater
Re: Fresh start for injured Marine | story, Jan. 4
Injured Marine is a wonderful man
I am lucky enough to be working with Sentinels of Freedom Tampa Bay team leader Lori Polin to help Nathan Handville and his fiancee, Leah. I wish everyone could have a chance to meet Nathan and see what a wonderful young man he is.
This isn't about how you feel about the war, this is about being able to say thank you to someone who served our country, was injured and still would do it again for his country.
I am honored Lori asked me to be on her team, and to work with Nathan is a blessing.
Jane Xiques, Tampa