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Tampa Baywatch Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission:

Tampa Bay Watch, Inc. is a stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the protection and restoration of the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary through scientific and educational programs.

Programs:

Bay Grasses In Classes

Started in 1994, Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC) coordinates efforts at 18 middle and high schools across the Bay area to grow native salt marsh and then transfer it to large-scale restoration sites along the Tampa Bay shoreline. Through this program, students create, maintain and monitor on-campus salt marsh nurseries. BGIC provides middle and high school students with an educational resource to learn about ecological and agricultural practices, while enhancing the science-based curriculums at their schools. Students actively participate in restoration activities, and work side by side with scientists to perform wetland restoration in Tampa Bay. 

 

Salt marsh plants have many benefits in the Tampa Bay estuary. The loss of coastal wetland habitats has resulted in major declines in fisheries and wildlife that depend upon these habitats for a portion of their life cycle. By involving our youth and educating them about the importance of salt marsh and a healthy wetland environment, Tampa Bay Watch is taking an active role in promoting education about challenges to the health of Tampa Bay and the solutions available through restoration. 

 

The BGIC program is a two phase program. In phase one of the program, students maintain and grow the grasses in their nurseries at their schools. The nurseries are 16 by 16 foot lined ponds that can hold up to 5,000 plugs of salt marsh. During this phase of the program, students are involved with maintaining plant health by checking salinity and pH, fertilizing and overall maintenance of the nursery. The grasses that are raised in the nurseries are used as a teaching tool by providing an educational resource in teaching students ecological and agricultural practices and enhancing science-based curriculums.

 

The second phase of the BGIC program is to transplant the nursery-raised grasses at restoration sites around Tampa Bay. The student-cultivated salt marsh nurseries produce enough salt marsh grasses to restore 10 - 15 new acres of coastal tidal ponds per year. Each school nursery is capable of supporting between one and two rooting cycles per year, for a potential total of 2,500 salt marsh planting units per school, which are available free of charge to local and state environmental agencies conducting habitat restoration projects.

 

The goal of Tampa Bay Watch’s Bay Grasses in Classes Program is to provide middle and high school students with an educational resource to learn about ecological and agricultural practices, enhancing the science-based curriculums at their schools. These nurseries provide hands-on opportunities for students to appreciate and learn about the importance of salt marsh vegetation to the estuarine ecosystem. When planted, student-cultivated salt marsh aids in preventing erosion, absorbing pollutants, and providing shelter and habitat for important fish and wildlife species. Tampa Bay Watch strives to inspire students and teachers to become stewards of their environments while engaging them in the restoration of Tampa Bay through hands-on restoration efforts.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Denise19

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I had the privilege to volunteer for Tampa Bay Watch for quite some time in their main facility, as well as at several outreach events and cleanups. They are a great group of people who are passionate about saving the estuaries of Tampa Bay and making sure they are alive for future generations to enjoy! Peter Clark and his staff accepted me into their group as though I was one of their own and I hope to be able to return to volunteering with them soon. Their work is important and the waters, esturaries, and beaches of Tampa Bay are a better place because of them!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Moving from IL to Saint Petersburg FL just over two years ago, I became aware of Tampa Baywatch (TBW) quickly. TBW is active and visible, with strong leadership and a talented small staff. They stick to their mission, which I admire, and are very efficient in the use of organizational resources. I soon volunteered in several different capacities--a bay clean-up, pulling salt grass from a nursery bed for transplant in the bay, and staffing an education table at a local park/preserve during a special weekend event there. TBW is an impressive non-profit! I am glad to offer support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tampa Bay Watch is a family like non-profit organization that has oppurtunities for people and families of all walks of life to participate. Whatever your phisical limits are there is a job for everyone. The great part of these projects is being able to see them grow (like a communtiy garden) year after year and know that you were one of the people that helped "plant the seed."

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We went with a group of ESOL students from Pinellas County Schools, and planted native plants along the shoreline. Tampa Bay Watch is an amazing organization, and the kids had a great time outdoors in a nature and also learned alot. They returned and made these beautiful displays depicting the day, to show off at a fair. It was one of the best field trips they had, in this day and age where kids don't get out of school much. So spending the day out learning about the environment, as well as actively participating in making the environment better, was just the perfect thing for them. I know they'll always remember that, and I know they'll forever look at nature as something to preserve and protect and appreciate. Thank you to Tampa Bay Watch for all the good work they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the Tampa Bay Watch group for over two years. They have done so much to help the waters of Tampa Bay and they are so grateful toward each volunteer. Tampa Bay Watch is very active and has many opportunities available over the year to help the waterways of Tampa. The oyster bags and domes that are made help clean the water and restore the plant life. They also host an annual scallop search to review the quality of the aquatic life. I don't want to imagine how bad the water would be if Tampa Bay Watch did not exist. I am very grateful they are so dedicated in the recovery of our local waterways it has been a blessing helping them reach their goals.

Gayle4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Gayle Hyde and I am from Jackson, Michigan. Anytime that I am able to visit my sister and brother -in-law Glory and Chuck Moore I always ask if Tampy Bay Watch has anything going on that I can help with. It is such a joy to see how involved and concerned people are reagrding the gulf, oceans, rivers you name it. What an experience every time I have been involved it has been. I have built oyster domes several times and seems like I learn something new about them each time. I wear my sunvisor and T-shirt proudly in Michigan and have even been asked what the Tampy Bay Watch it all about, so I give them a brief run down. Can't wait until I will be able to help out again with whatever it is that needs to be done. Being an avid scubadiver I can see the good that the Tampa Bay Watch has done and I appreciate each and everyone. THANK YOU!!!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent 7 months working for Tampa Bay Watch as an education intern and in that time I was fortunate enough to see how well the Tampa Bay Watch team works together, and how passionate they are about their jobs. As an intern I not only taught, but I also learned a great amount about salt marsh ecology, plankton, mollusks, oysters and more. I enjoyed every minute of working for TBW and still rave about my experiences there. If any organization deserves a reward or to be recognized in any way TBW is it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization to volunteer for. They do a wide variety of organized events (e.g., seagrass plantings, coastal cleanups, oyster habitat building, sea scallop counting, etc.) that has a direct impact on the water quality of Tampa Bay. They also have a wonderful connection to schools, involvement of students in their programs, and summer school marine science activities. Their well managed, have a great staff, and have good visibility in the community. I'm a personal member and the company I work for is a Corporate member.

Jo Lynn G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My friends and I have volunteered with Tampa Bay Watch over the last few years. We have built oyster domes, helped with Evening for the Bay and with an Easter event for kids. They have many areas to volunteer, with a wide variety of interests. They're website is very informative and easy to use. Volunteering with this organization is an awesome way of paying it forward for the true Floridian who enjoys the beaches, seafood and other activites that the Florida lifestyle offers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tampa Bay Watch is a superb organization with outstanding leadership volunteer support. As people who live on Tampa Bay and regularly enjoy fishing and water sports, my family and I have all benefited from their programs. I have personally participated in a number of activities including planting salt marsh grasses in areas being reclaimed, building eco-friendly oyster domes and manufacturing and installing oyster shell bundles to prevent shoreline erosion and to provide structure to re-establish shoreline oyster beds. These activities are always well planned and enthusiasticly executed due to the organization's dedicated staff. Educational and outreach activities have contributed to increases in water quality and grass beds in Tampa Bay as well as educational opportunities for regional schools.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for many non profits over the past 40 plus years and with a degree in forestry have always aligned myself with groups who genuinely care about the environment on all levels. Tampa Bay Watch is one of those special organizations who definitely walk the walk as well talk the talk. Their zeal and energy and commitment are outstanding, so much so that my wife and I are supporters and members and volunteers and we live over a thousand miles away. We are that impressed with their staff and mission. We have helped out with one project in particular - the oyster dome building - which has numerous positive benefits to the water quality and erosion control of the region. Art Hoffman

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for Tampa Bay Watch to build oyster bars and protect the mangrove islands and other areas. This is just one of the many projects and efforts TBW does to help restore Tampa Bay to it's previous habitat. The effort of the group is amazing considering the very tiny staff, but the volunteer programs they sponsor and support gets the job done. We have done so much but there is so much more to do. They are a great group of folks!

Timothy N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Tampa Bay Watch about two years ago. I have found the projects very interesting and helpful. I get to be in the great outdoors, whether standing by a lagoon or water inlet shoreline, or even get to ride in one of their boats on the Tampa Bay waters. It feels great to be giving back to the community while helping the world be a better place any way I can. The best part of Tampa Bay Watch is the wonderful people there. They are very generous, genuine, and helpful. They really care about the work they do, but, most importantly, care about the people that work on the projects, especially the volunteers!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tampa Bay Watch is a great volunteer opportunity that provides very positive impacts to our waterways, animals and volunteers. They offer a range of "hands on" opportunities for volunteers to directly/positively impact our water environment. These activities offer teaching opportunities for our youth and "hands on - on-site" coastal waterways activities for our youth and all age level adults. (I am 65 years old and still am very active in their on-site projects.) Tampa Bay Watch always includes an educatio0nal componet to their volunteer opportunities - and typically they provide the volunteers to see the benefits of previous volunteer projects. Ron Heimburger - heimburger@mindspring.com - 813-677-9361

Volunteer

Rating: 4

TBEP is fantastic. As a college student always looking for ways to improve Tampa Bay's wildlife and learn more about Florida, TBEP has brought to my attention SO MANY services, classes, book signings, and volunteer opportunities that I would otherwise be unaware of.

Todd A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the years, I have had the chance to work with the great team at Tampa Bay Watch and have enjoyed every moment. They do so many great things, not only for the environment, but also for the community as a whole. The only thing that I wish, is that I had more time to give or even was able to work for such a great project. You can see all the wonderful progress that has taken place around the barrier islands, estuarys, and keeping our coast line clean. While I was working for Post Properites, an apartment community, I was able to get the company to allow the employees to do volunteer work for Tampa Bay Watch as part of our companies Hope program. Everyone enjoyed themselves tramendously and many people started helping them on their own after that. Tampa Bay Watch doesn't only say they care about the community, they show it everyday.

Cookye H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While visiting our daughter in St. Pete she mentioned the need for volunteer work to be done with Tampa Bay Watch, so our adult daughters, my husband and myself rolled up our sleeves and joined in making oyster domes. It was great family time and I felt we had made a contribution to helping not only the organization but nature as well. THANK YOU T.B.W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for Tampa Baywatch for 15 years (maybe more!) In that time the water quality of Tampa Bay, one of the most important estuaries in Florida, has improved dramatically. This is largely due to the efforts of Tampa Baywatch. Tampa Baywatch has also done a phenomenal job of bringing conflicting interest groups to the table to discuss issues that affect everyone.

Monica8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tampa Bay Watch hosts numerous volunteer projects throughout the year which spread the word about the importance of the restoration of Tampa Bay. There are projects suited to all levels of ability, including member outreach, beach cleanups, building oyster domes, and creating oyster bars.

Glory M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Tampa Bay Watch in 1993 and have seen great improvements in the waters of the Tampa Bay estuaries. Their hard work and dedication to the restoration effort has paid off, but the challenges seem to never end. I enjoy being a part of this organization.