Throughout the year, the Friends sponsor ongoing and special projects—made possible through membership dues and generous donations–as well as volunteers contributing many, many hours. Below are some of the ongoing projects:
- Saylor Nature Trail
- Educational Programs
- Learning Center
- Gopher Tortoise Sanctuary
- Osprey Platform
- Butterfly Garden
- Cactus Garden Title
A mile long trail winding through the trees to Wiggins Pass provides the chance to view over 30 species of native vegetation all tagged and identified by the Friends. Friends’ members regularly groom the trail, clearing out exotic plants and replacing them with natural species. They’ve also erected directional signs, identified vegetation, provided benches to sit and enjoy the natural beauty of the trail and the Gulf.
Educational Programs ~ Seasonal lecture series features guest speakers who are experts on subjects as varied as: shells, dolphins, eagles, tortoises and early Florida Indian culture. For years, these popular lectures have played to large crowds. Other educational offerings are naturalist guided walks and talks that include Beachcombing & Shelling talks, nature walks along the boardwalk, and exploration of the coastal habitats of the Preserve. All of these help to provide recreation and education on diversified subjects, primarily related to environmental topics for the benefit of thousands of local residents and visitors of all ages.
Learning Center ~ Located in the heart of the Preserve, this structure is full of displays and literature, including an extensive shell collection. Built and maintained through private contributions, this structure is staffed by volunteers from December through April and maintained by the Friends of Barefoot Beach.
Displays ~ Individual members have sponsored and/or developed posters and displays which are exhibited on wall-mounted cases and in free standing cabinets all year round. Unique shell collections are on permanent display. Plant specimens from the trail and marine species from the beach are displayed.
Library ~ Maintained for the use of visitors who wish to identify specimens and/or explore books of interest for adults and children on the many and varied elements of this natural habitat.
We continue to actively monitor and protect the population, distribution, and habitat of the Gopher Tortoise—a threatened species which is protected from the encroachment on their habitat in the Preserve.
Poles and platforms for Ospreys have been constructed and installed in several places within the Preserve. In addition, Ospreys have established a nest on the trail in a dead tree. Ospreys have taken possession and reared families in all the nests. During nesting season, you can see and hear them as they call to one another, fish for food, and feed and raise their fledglings.
Dedicated to founders, Naida and Leon Eisenbud, with ponds and waterfall, a beautiful butterfly garden constructed, planted, and maintained with mostly native plant materials that attract butterflies of many species. Thanks to a few dedicated volunteers, the garden is flourishing. More helping hands, however, are always welcome.
Just to the South of the Learning Center, in vivid contrast to the Butterfly Garden, the friends also maintain a xeriscape (dry) cactus garden. This past year, one of the volunteers made identification signs for the plants within this garden. Be sure to check with one of the docents to see the notebook that was created for the Cactus Garden.
Friends regularly assist the County with Beach Cleanup.