The Red Bug Slough Written by Ethan Schwalm The Red Bug Slough Preserve is a 72- acre preserve is Sarasota, that through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program, was purchased in 2000 and 2001 with funding assistance by Florida Communities Trust. The goal of this preserve is to provide a habitat for wild life and recreation opportunities for locals to experience the vast variety of flora and fauna.
SPHS’s AP Environmental classes has been given permission by the Preserve Manager to use Red Bug Slough as an outdoor class for field experiments. In return, the AP Environmental class, with help of the Biology Classes, remove invasive plant species and clean up trash.
The main threat that the 53 students were eradicating was the Caesar’s Weed (Urena Iobata). This invasive shrub has a dark green leaf with small pink/purple flowers with seeds that have Velcro spikes to hook onto the animal’s fur or a person’s clothing. There were dozens of bags full to the brim with plants by the end of the day. Other invasive species were the Rosary Pea (Abrus Precatorius) and the Air Potato (Dioscorea Bulbifera), Rosary Pea being the more dangerous to animals for it is poisons if consumed. Although of a lesser concern, it was still dealt with if found.
In the end students had a fun time, some wishing that it happened more than once a year. Even students not looking forward to it ended up having a blast, and having fun while protecting the environment is a combination for a successful goal.
“I liked going to the Red Bug Slough. It was nice traveling the trails and making my way to the lake. Taking care of the invasive species was surprisingly fun and I definitely do it again.” - Jayden R.
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