By Sean Murphy
CORTEZ – What starts with a P and causes water pollution?
“Poison!” shouts out a girl from the DeSoto Boys and Girls Club.
Sara Kane of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program can’t argue, even though the right answer is pesticide.
Each Monday, a group from the Boys and Girls Clubs tours Cortez, learning about water pollution, how a fish house operates, what the U.S. Coast Guard does and other water-related topics.
The program will introduce 160 children to Cortez, the Florida Maritime Museum and the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH), said museum site manager Ryan Murphy, who is leading the project.
Students tour the museum, the boatworks, the trap yards, the FISH Preserve, the A. P. Bell Fish Co. and U.S. Coast Guard Station Cortez.
Last week, they also heard from Kane about the importance of keeping the estuary clean.
Sarasota Bay is a nursery for fish, dolphins, and other marine life, with manatee grass and turtle grass providing food for the animals they’re named for, she told the group of nine-year-olds.
Oil, trash, fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants wash into the bay from many sources, which she illustrated on a model of a small city.
Kane let the kids “trash” the city, using oatmeal to represent garbage, chocolate syrup to represent dog waste, powdered drink mix to represent fertilizers and pesticides and other pollutants.
Imitating a hard rain, she poured water over the city, demonstrating how everything eventually runs to the lowest point – rivers, bays and the Gulf of Mexico.
Lessons learned include riding bikes and walking instead of using cars, fixing leaks in cars, using cloth bags and metal water bottles instead of plastic, picking up trash and dog waste and limiting fertilizer and pesticide use by planting native plants.
The group then explored U.S. Coast Guard Station Cortez, where they checked out the seagrass growing along the seawall and boarded a Coast Guard vessel for a tour.
For more information, call 708-6120.
SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE
Sara Kane of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program shows kids
from the DeSoto Boys and Girls Club how trash, oil,
fertilizers and dog waste wind up in area waters after a rain.