NonProfit Gets Money, gift for Bay work
Sometimes, people do nothing, because they can only do a little. But as the great American anthropologist Margaret Mead once said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Organizations such as Tampa Bay Watch rely on volunteers to do everything from salt marsh plantings to oyster bar construction. This nonprofit organization, started 18 years ago in the spare bedroom of executive director Peter Clark's house, has done more to improve the water quality in the bay, and as a result, both inshore and offshore fisheries, than any other nongovernmental agency.
Groups such as the Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers provide support for everything from beach cleanups to monofilament line removal projects on local bird colony islands.
Pinellas Park outdoor retailer, the Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure, sells the kayaks that many of these volunteers paddle. The store, which has been selling outdoors gear for 65 years, is a member of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. The organization, comprised of 38 independent outdoor retailers, is dedicated to protecting and preserving the outdoor experience.
Many of these stores sell gear from Patagonia, a Reno, Nev.-based clothing company, known for its activism. The company's mission statement is simple: "Make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."
Since 1985, Patagonia has given more than $30 million to more than 1,000 grassroots organizations, such as Tampa Bay Watch.
On Monday, Patagonia and the Grass Roots Alliance will award Tampa Bay Watch $1,500 along with a matching gift of $500 from Bill Jackson's.
The $2,000 will go a long way in helping restore the bay's ecosystems.
"With the money we will be able to buy 6 tons of materials for oyster bars, make 40 oyster domes or pay for five school groups to come and send a day at our science center," Clark said.
To learn more about Tampa Bay Watch and its volunteer programs, go to tampabay watch.org, or head to the Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure (9501 U.S. 19 N).
• Sunday through July 19: Regional blue crab trap harvest closure for the Tampa Bay region. Any traps remaining in the water will be considered derelict and removed.
• July 11: Start of four-week St. Petersburg Sail and Power Squadron boating course. 7-9 p.m. Cost of materials: $35. Information: online at boating-stpete.org or call (727) 498-4001.
Terry Tomalin, Times Outdoors Editor