Reel Time: Scallopalooza, it’s clamtastic

Reel Time: Scallopalooza, It’s Clamtastic
Volunteers from area schools plant clams in Sarasota Bay during the 2019 restoration effort. - Rusty Chinnis | Sun

Sarasota Bay Watch’s “Scallopalooza, It’s Clamtastic!” fundraising event is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Feb. 15, 2020.

SBW’s major fundraiser supports the many projects the organization is involved with including its ongoing shellfish restoration project.

After almost a decade at the Sarasota Yacht Club, this year’s event is moving to a larger banquet venue at Sarasota’s Hyatt Regency. At press time, over 300 participants are signed up for the event. Past events were capped at 200 due to space limitations at the Yacht Club.

Monies raised from past events have paid for the introduction of millions of scallop larvae and adult clams into Sarasota Bay from Bradenton to Sarasota with the hope of repopulating our Bay waters with these once-abundant species.

SBW’s restoration effort is growing exponentially, fueled by the interest and concern of the communities surrounding the Bay as well as the determination of its citizens to be part of the solution. The importance of this work has been made all the clearer from the water quality issues that have been plaguing area waters for years.

Hard-shell clam restoration has proven more suitable than scallops to challenging water quality issues while providing a sustainable approach to improving water quality. Sarasota Bay Watch’s restoration program has gained the attention of scientists and community leaders interested in the benefits of the clam’s natural filtration as well as the army of motivated volunteers that have backed the initiative.

This year the effort has been given a tremendous boost by a generous $106,000 donation from the Charles and Marjory Barancik Foundation. These monies are being used to plant one million clams in Sarasota Bay in 2020.

These million clams can filter huge amounts of water every day helping to clean our Bay waters and reduce excess nutrients that may contribute to red tide. They also provide a food source for a plethora of wildlife.

Our Bay and Gulf waters are the key to our robust economy and provide the environment that attracts people and commerce to this region. Sarasota Bay Watch is committed to protecting and preserving the Bay water and the animals that depend on it. Please, join us to help us raise the funds needed to maintain and drive this vigorous level of restoration.

The Scallopalooza event has enjoyed the continued support of the community, proof that the businesses and inhabitants of Manatee and Sarasota counties care about and are willing to tackle this long-term restoration project. Sarasota Bay Watch was initially formed with the mission of protecting and restoring Sarasota Bay’s ecosystem through community education and citizen participation. The spirit of the mission is reflected in the organization’s slogan, “A healthy Bay is everybody’s business.”

Come and join SBW on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, for an evening of camaraderie, great food, music and libations at one of Sarasota’s most spectacular venues. The event kicks off with 6 p.m. cocktails, followed by a silent and live auction. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The Sarasota Hyatt Regency is located at 1000 Boulevard of The Arts in Sarasota.

Tickets are $100 per person and tables are $850 for 10 people. Tickets can be purchased online. For additional event information contact Ronda Ryan at [email protected] or call (941) 232-2363.

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