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SRQ DAILY Apr 29, 2020

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"EOD's messages of diversity, tolerance, and respect are timeless, but they feel especially urgent of late."

- Greg Luberecki, Gulf Coast Community Foundation
 

[Visual Arts]  Embracing Our Differences Receives Emergency Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Embracing Our Differences’ annual, outdoor juried art exhibition is currently on display at Sarasota's Bayfront Park, which the community is still able to enjoy (following CED guidelines) until further notice. The larger-than-life fixtures celebrate the theme of "enriching lives through diversity and inclusion,” and created by young creatives worldwide, including hundreds of area-based students and educators. 

This week, the local nonprofit announced they received a $40,000 Arts Appreciation grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “Embracing Our Differences brings international attention to our beautiful region while educating and enriching life for tens of thousands of people who live here,” says Greg Luberecki, Director of Communications for Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant will be helping the nonprofit adapt its new educational outreach programming in response to the COVID-19 crisis. “The ability of EOD to keep reaching community members right now, especially teachers and students, is vital. It’s a critical time for philanthropists with the means to continue investing in strong arts organizations like this.”

Sarah Wertheimer, executive director of Embracing Our Differences re-emphasizes that this grant, “could not have come at a better time.” It allows the organization to continue its top priority, which is providing interactive resources to area educators and students. Wertheimer is currently working closely with EOD’s education director Ben Jewell-Plocher to create outreach programs accessed via online and virtual platforms. These include annual teacher workshops and intensives, which will provide our area educators with skills, strategies and resources that relate to arts appreciation and character building. Some of these initiatives can be found here

Luberecki goes on to say, “EOD’s messages of diversity, tolerance, and respect are timeless, but they feel especially urgent of late. This organization is a leader in leveraging the arts for education. We can’t wait to see the creative new ways that Sarah and her team at EOD find to continue advancing their mission.”

For more information about Embracing Our Differences, call 941-404-5710, or visit embracingourdifferences.org. 

Photo of this year's EOD exhibit, courtesy of GCCF.

[Giving Impact]  Boost the Impact of 2020 Charitable Giving: Increased Deductions Under the CARES ACT
Contributed by Charla Burchette, Shutts Partner

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or “Act”) provides emergency assistance and health care response for individuals, families, and businesses affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act also includes permanent and temporary provisions affecting individual donors for the 2020 tax year. In an effort to incentivize more charitable giving during these difficult times, the CARES Act enhances certain charitable contribution deductions:

Deductions for Non-Itemizers
Taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions can take a one-time cash deduction of up to $300 for gifts made to qualified charitable organizations during calendar year 2020.

Suspension on Adjusted Gross Income Limitation
Generally, individuals can only take a charitable deduction of up to 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI), regardless of the total amount of charitable gifts made by that individual. However, in the 2020 tax year, individuals can deduct all of the cash contributions made by the individual to one or more qualified charitable organizations, as long as they do not exceed 100% of their AGI.

Shutts Partner Charla Burchett
Non-Itemizers Can Make a BIG Impact with a SMALL Contribution
The enhanced charitable deductions made available to individuals under the CARES Act provide an incentive to individuals to make charitable contributions in 2020. The CARES Act provision benefits those individuals who otherwise would not receive a tax deduction for cash gifts made in 2020. Local non-profit organizations often rely on a larger number of smaller contributions; these are the organizations that are most likely to benefit from the charitable deduction afforded to non-itemizers.

Take for example “The Giving Challenge,” hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, which assists over 700 local charities in receiving a large number of small contributions during its 24-hour donation event. Reports show that during the 2018 Giving Challenge, local non-profits in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties received contributions as small as $25 with the average gift being $82. However, almost 75,000 total gifts were made in 2018 resulting in over $6 million being gifted to local charities for their unrestricted use.

The upcoming “2020 Giving Challenge” will connect over 700 nonprofit organizations with passionate donors on April 28 and April 29, 2020. This year, the Patterson Foundation will match each contribution by an individual donor up to $100 per organization.

Due to COVID-19, the challenge has pivoted to an exclusive online fundraising platform. While some may not be able to give in 2020 (and others may only be able to give less), it is critical for contributors to understand that their charitable gifts are not inconsequential and make a tremendous impact to a local effort like the “2020 Giving Challenge,” especially considering the magnitude of needs in the community at this time.

Many non-profits may be struggling to keep their doors open or to buy computers to support remote work, but as a recipient of an individual donor’s contribution plus the matched donation from the Patterson Foundation, such a non-profit would benefit immensely from the enhanced charitable contributions provision under the CARES Act.

Furthermore, if an individual were to take advantage of the entire $300 tax deduction by making a donation of $100 to three different organizations during the “2020 Giving Challenge,” not only would the individual donor receive a deduction on their tax return of $300, but the gift to the donor’s favorite three charitable organizations would be doubled and each of those organizations would receive $200. Alternatively, those able to give more could maximize their gift in 2020 because their contribution would not be limited to only 60% of their AGI, allowing donors to give any amount up to 100% of their AGI. 

[The Giving Challenge]  Be the One for Habitat for Humanity

In the past few weeks, we have heard from dozens of Habitat Sarasota families that have been impacted by job loss and reduction in wages. We have heard their stories of impact of COVID-19. Their livelihoods are now in question and they are already struggling with their basic household expenses. For the past 35 years, Habitat Sarasota has continually adapted to the changing needs of our families. Please donate to Habitat for Humanity Sarasota today. 

Click to donate.

[The Giving Challenge]  Today is the Day to Show Your Love for The Bay

The 2020 Giving Challenge ends at noon today! Become a Friend of The Bay and your gift will be matched in two ways: A direct match up to $100 thanks to The Patterson Foundation and a donor-for-donor match where if we inspire 1,000 people to donate, an anonymous Friend of The Bay will donate an additional $100,000. 

Click to donate.

[The Giving Challenge]  Create the Next Generation of Architects

Center for Architecture Sarasota is dedicated to heightening awareness of and appreciation of innovative architecture, good design and resilient urban planning. Education is an important part of their mission and this year's 2020 Giving Challenge, wrapping up at noon today, is dedicated to supporting architecture students in the undergraduate and graduate program at the University of Florida, whose education and finances have been impacted by the pandemic. In 2013, the Center for Architecture Sarasota formed a partnership with the University of Florida to bring architecture students to Sarasota as part of CityLab-Sarasota located adjacent to the Center's gallery and lecture hall. The Center maintains an active scholarship fund, and to date has awarded $37,000 in student scholarships. Every dollar given to the fund will be matched by the Center for Architecture Sarasota and the Patterson Foundation. 

Click to donate.

[The Giving Challenge]  Meet the Sailor Circus Academy Kids

The Sailor Circus Academy plays an important role in many students' lives. The Sailor Circus Academy Seniors graduate learning lessons of trust, teamwork, courage and self confidence - all from circus arts training. This year, our graduating class consists of 9 amazing students.  Summer Camp creates wonderful life-long memories for children from six to fifteen.  #BeTheOne to make a difference in kid's lives that otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend Circus Summer Camp or the Sailor Circus Academy. During this unprecedented time when families are struggling with so many hardships they need our help more than ever. Will you be the one to help us help them?  Donate online during #GivingChallenge2020. Thanks to the generosity of The Patterson Foundation, your gift of up to $100 will be matched. #BeTheOne to #GiveCircusArts Scholarships to those students that can’t afford to attend circus summer camp and Sailor Circus Academy. 

[The Giving Challenge]  Help Bring More WOW to the World

Now’s your chance to be the one to help The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature bring more WOW to the world! How? It’s simple. Just make a donation to The Bishop through the Giving Challenge online portal between now and noon today. When you give, The Patterson Foundation will match the first $100 of your gift over $25! The 2020 Giving Challenge presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation is an opportunity to have your contributions matched — giving you even more power to help bring even more WOW to the world. Your $100 gift becomes $200 of WOW! 

Donate now.

[The Giving Challenge]  How You Can Be The One For The Ringling

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art opened in 1946 and helped shape Sarasota as an arts destination. With art, circus, architecture, performance, and gardens, The Ringling is “a place that integrates the arts and brings them alive” (Chick Austin, Museum Director, 1946-57). The 2020 Giving Challenge is a way to support The Ringling, especially during these turbulent times. Museum educators and staff are working tirelessly to support our community by creating Museum From Home materials to share the resources of The Ringling online. Our grounds, facilities, and security teams are busy keeping the museum clean and our collections safe. 

Donate now.

[The Giving Challenge]  Education Transforms Lives—Be The Reason for Change

Today is the day—the Giving Challenge is here. Consider supporting the Save Our Students Scholarship at Ringling College. You can #BeTheOne to transform a student's life and #BeTheReason they can return to campus this Fall. The Save our Students Scholarship is a one-time award that helps alleviate some of the stress of unexpected financial hardships. Today your gift to Save Our Students means even more as a generous donor has offered to match all gifts to this special fund up to $30,000. This combined with The Patterson Foundation match triples your impact.  

Donate now.

[The Giving Challenge]  Support Sarasota Contemporary Dance

Help SCD get the word out! Tell a friend, word of mouth can be powerful! Share and join the SCD Giving Challenge event on Social Media.  Use hashtag #GivingChallenge2020 when you make your contribution and tag SCD. SCD will be giving shoutouts to donors every hour of the giving challenge on our social media. 

Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

Donate now.

[The Giving Challenge]  Be the One for Cat Depot

Cat Depot has received a $10,000 matching challenge for this year's Giving Challenge thanks to an anonymous donor which means in conjunction with The Patterson Foundation's match, the first $10,000 in donations we receive will be tripled - $25 will become $75, $100 will become $300. Please donate online during the Giving Challenge from noon to noon on April 28 - 29. Although our physical doors may be temporarily closed to the general public due to the Governor's Stay at Home order, we are still working hard for the cats and people in our community that need help now more than ever. 

Donate now.

[The Giving Challenge]  Will You Be the One for Students?

The Giving Challenge is today until noon and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County is asking you to join them in their efforts to make this the most awesome Giving Challenge Sarasota has ever seen! They are writing to ask you to take five minutes to give to the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. We believe an investment in a child's education is the best investment anyone can make.

Be The One to . . . 

Spark a student’s curiosity,
Inspire innovation in a classroom,
Champion education in our community,
Ignite a lifelong love of learning, and
Motivate a student to graduate with a postsecondary plan.
Here’s how you can make a HUGE difference today:

Make a donation
Spread the word. Text a friend. Forward this email. Post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GivingChallenge2020 . Oh, and you can also just tell someone in person – that works, too. 

Donate now.

[Recreation]  MarineMax Women on Water Boating Safety Classes Go Virtual

MarineMax is committed to providing the world's best pleasure boating experience. On top of purchasing boats online and scheduling service appointments digitally, customers can now take virtual classesto expand their boating knowledge. MarineMax Director of Marketing, Abbey Heimensen, comments, "we continue to look at existing and new technology to improve the boating lifestyle and allow customers to choose how they find the boat of their dreams, how they complete the purchase process, and how they take the boat home. Every customer becomes part of our family, and a full orientation and boating education is something we've always offered. We're navigating the best way to bring our classes online so customers can continue their education and feel safe and secure on the water."  The highly popular MarineMax Women on Water® class, designed to inspire confidence on the water, gets women behind the helm, enjoying the boating lifestyle. The course presents information in an active, fun, and supportive environment. And now participants will take the virtual helm for an online edition where they will learn boating basics like line handling and how to tie proper knots, boat terminology and the rules of the water, and boating safety techniques. Classes are taught by U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains who have been certified by MarineMax to conduct the lesson. Whether you are new to boating or have been on the water for a while and are now ready to take the helm, MarineMax Women on Water classes can help you gain confidence on the water to be the captain of your own ship - no matter how large or small your boat may be. MarineMax anticipates more locations announcing new classes each month. The best place to check for upcoming courses is the MarineMax website or on the MarineMax App under the events tab. 

Explore the virtual classes.



[Best of SRQ]  Celebrating the Best Local Coffee of 2020

The best part of waking up is coffee in your cup. Now that you have that catchy jingle stuck in your head, here are the best places to get up and get caffeinated. Following their win last year, PERQ COFFEE comes out on top once again as our Platinum Best of SRQ 2020 winner. THE CLEVER CUP went from tall to grande, and jumped up to Gold. New beans on the block PROJECT COFFEE took home Silver for their mindful vegan options, and PASTRY ART BAKERY CAFÉ held on to their Bronze title confirming that our readers like them a latte. 

 

Read more from the Best of SRQ 2020 Competition HERE

[Brain Health Initiative]  Couples and COVID-19: A New Kind of Togetherness

COVID-19 has changed our primary relationships. Around the world, millions of couples who mostly led separate lives from 9-to-5 are suddenly safer-at-home. We are stuck together all day, every day, with no end in sight. This could be good for your brain and physical health or not.

This new found togetherness can increase brain health, or it can cause sky-high stress levels. According to Harvard colleague, McLean Hospital psychiatrist Jacqueline Olds, MD, the stressors caused by the COVID-19 crisis can be compounded by the adjustments of forced togetherness.

“You might be worried if you’re going to make it economically, if you’re going to lose your savings, or how you’re going to take care of your children at home,” Dr.Olds said. “And you may take it out on the only person who is around—your partner.”

What you can do today to protect your brain health.

Dr. Olds suggests that partners can effectively deal with the pressures brought on by the pandemic by practicing brain healthy communication and by being vigilant, open, and willing to ask for help.


Take Your Emotional Pulse: There is a tendency to become more controlling when you are scared or angry, and that can become dangerous if there is only one other person around. People tend to become more controlling with their partner during times of distress, so it helps to stop and check your emotional pulse every so often. Try diffusing anger and stress by counting to ten. If you’re about to say something unfair or nasty to your partner, count to ten and let it pass.

Find Some Separation: That feeling of being confined can spur anger and frustration in the best of times, coronavirus, and the resulting safer at home experience, can make this problem worse—and harder to deal with. To protect your brain health, take a break, and create some time and space between you and your partner. Find ways to physically or mentally create space. If you are working at home, work in separate rooms. Designate certain times during the day when you want to be alone.

Reach Out for Help: The coronavirus pandemic is increasing risk of brain illness and causing stress, anxiety, and depression among many individuals and couples who have never faced a mental health issue. Don’t be ashamed to reach out for help. Almost overnight, mental health services have become available remotely. There are links to connect you with providers, and platforms for online counseling sessions — including virtual couples therapy.

Find the Silver Lining: Promote your brain health and look for the positive in your situation. The couples who are thriving during the pandemic are the ones who are adept at finding the silver lining. Look at this as an opportunity to do more of the things you like do together or maybe experiment with new roles, such as taking over the cooking.
McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass, is the largest psychiatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Read the full article at: https://www.mcleanhospital.org/news/cooped-couples-navigating-newfound-togetherness-during-covid-19


 

Click here to see all Brain Health Boosts.

[Technology]  MiHealth Monitoring Launches to Provide Peace of Mind and Security for Medicare Recipients with Chronic Health Problems

Medical Innovations LLC today announced the launch of MiHealth Monitoring (http://www.mihealthmonitoring.info, a Medicare covered daily at-home remote asynchronous monitoring service for patients with chronic health problems.

The COVID-19 health crisis has had a major disruptive effect and MiHealth Monitoring is designed to help medical professionals keep a close eye on their patients at home while keeping vulnerable patients out of waiting rooms filled with sick people.

“We have realized that with current and developing technologies, we can actually manage patients better in their home than we can at the office,” said MiHealth Monitoring creator Kirk Voelker, MD.

The MiHealth platform leverages the technology of activity trackers such as FitBit that record activity and heart rate every minute of the day – providing tracking of a patient’s normal activity patterns as well as their heart rate response to a given activity.

MiHealth Monitoring combines artificial intelligence with real human medical intelligence to see when there are deviations from normal patterns. This may indicate that there is an early problem which the patient themselves may not even be aware of. In addition, by directly interfacing with a simple finger oxygen meter, unique ways to look at the body’s response to activity have been discovered, allowing for the detection of early physiologic changes that may indicate an exacerbation of a heart or lung problem.

MiHealth Monitoring Process Flow

How does this work in reality? Dr. Voelker has recently completed a study of 60 emphysema patients discharged from the hospital, with half receiving home monitoring while the other half received usual care. In the group with usual care there were 6 readmissions to the hospital and 3 emergency room visits. In the group of patients on MiHealth Monitoring at home, there were no readmissions and only one ER visit. Of additional importance, those who were monitored were very grateful that professionals were checking in on them.

“Because of the COVID scare, many people with chronic health problems are feeling anxious and isolated. As the economy re-opens, some experts have suggested that those over 65 continue moderated self-isolation. MiHealth Monitoring provides the knowledge and comfort that comes from knowing someone is watching over them. Fortunately, Medicare has realized the value in remote monitoring and during the COVID-19 emergency period, has even dropped the co-pay requirement making it no cost for all Medicare patients. When we see something out of the ordinary, we contact our patients using the HIPAA-secure questionnaire, text, voice or video chat functions of the MiHealth Monitoring integrated app. If there is a concern, we then contact the patient’s physician to make them aware that early intervention may be needed,” Dr. Voelker said.

Kirk Voelker M.D., creator of MiHealth MonitoringMiHealth Monitoring was created by critical care pulmonologist and Medical Innovations founder Dr. Kirk Voelker, who serves as the director of clinical research for Sarasota Memorial Hospital and is helping drive the Covid-19 treatment research efforts there.

“For patients recently discharged from the hospital, with daily post-hospitalization monitoring we can identify patients who need early intervention. Standard practice calls for a check-up appointment with a physician within weeks following discharge, MiHealth Monitoring allows medical staff to observe what happens in the interim, in that crucial time from discharge to next appointment,” Dr. Voelker concluded. MiHealth is designed to look at health and recovery trends over time - it is not designed to be a “real time” vital sign or emergency service. MiHealth Monitoring is covered by Medicare and standard copay may apply.

Requirements: The patient or their caregiver must be able to download the MiHealth Monitoring app on an Apple or Android phone or tablet. Following activation, the patient’s vital data is asynchronously downloaded daily and reviewed by a consulting physician for anomalies in the recovery process. 

For more information.

[Testing]  Prescriptions No Longer Needed for This Week's Drive Through Collection at Convention Center

In an effort to have more Manatee County residents tested for COVID-19, patients may now call to make an appointment for this week's drive-through collection without a doctor's prescription. Patients who call to get an appointment will be screened for signs and symptoms and then scheduled for a specimen collection at the drive-through.

Appointments are required for the three-day collection period tomorrow through Friday. Patients may call to make a drive-through appointment by calling (941) 748-0747. There is no cost for patients who use the DOH drive-through collection site.

The collection dates at the Bradenton Area Convention Center will be held Wed., April 29 - Friday, May 1 and the site will be open from 10 am to 4 pm each day.

Manatee County residents who need to be tested for COVID-19 also have the option of visiting one of five MCR Health locations in Manatee County.

Specimens collected at the drive-through site will be sent to labs for testing. During the three-day event 240 specimen collection kits will be used, and the Department of Health will schedule up to 80 appointments on each of the three days.

Visitors to the collection site are asked to make an appointment in advance with Manatee County Health Department by calling 941-748-0747.

In addition, everyone who arrives at the drive-thru must:

Be in a vehicle. No walk-up patients will be seen. Drivers must remain in their vehicle at all times. Drivers must present a photo ID (Name on ID or proof of address and the name on the prescription must match.) Anyone in Manatee County who believes they may have COVID-19 should call the Manatee Health Line at (941) 242-6649 BEFORE calling 911 or visiting a hospital emergency room. 

Click here for more information.

[Safety]  Manatee County Public Beaches to Reopen with Restrictions Monday, May 4

County Commissioners today unanimously voted to reopen public beaches next Monday, May 4 to allow Manatee County residents to enjoy the sand and surf along Anna Maria Island.

The County will reopen public beaches with restrictions. Beachgoers are expected to observe CDC social distancing guidelines and they will be limited to two hour parking if they're parking at the County's public parking lots. County Administrator Cheri Coryea said those who park beyond two hours will be given a parking ticket. Fines and additional restrictions on public beaches will be announced later this week as County Government leaders elaborate on the plan to reopen public beaches and spaces.

Administrator Coryea made the recommendation to Commissioners to reopen beaches as part of a phased re-opening of public buildings and facilities in May. Additional County reopening details are dependent on orders and guidelines being issued by federal and state officials.

"We will be looking at parking restrictions at beaches by reducing the amount of parking available and asking people to limit the amount of time they're there," Coryea said. "We plan to offer time-limited parking so that more individuals can passively enjoy the beach."

"I like this plan (to reopen beaches) but we don’t want people loitering," said County Commissioner Priscilla Trace. "People should come and exercise, walk, shell, swim and move on."

Manatee County's public beaches initially closed March 20. Today's action was the latest in a series of virtual meetings Commissioners have had during COVID-19. It can be viewed on demand on the County's YouTube channel.

Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur relayed all of the latest local details and response efforts to Commissioners earlier in the meeting. He also explained how Department of Health officials are responding to the spike of coronavirus cases in local longterm care facilities whose residents make up a large percentage of the County's total number of cases and deaths.

"The Department of Health has every possible resource in the facilities with a (COVID-19) outbreak," Saur said. "We’ve been doing assessments on those facilities for a month. We continue to test, test, test. The National Guard will be coming and working day and night to get it under control."

Commissioners extended the local state of emergency related to COVID-19 but they let expire the local burn ban that had been in place since March. Steady rains over the weekend helped reverse very dry local conditions.

At the end of the meeting Coryea relayed additional news from Tallahassee. She said Florida Senate President Bill Galvano confirmed that a regional (Manatee/Sarasota) test center is now being planned and details will be announced as soon as they're finalized with local officials. Galvano also said another 1,000 COVID-19 test kits will arrive for local testing tomorrow, with details announced after determining where they're needed most. Finally, Galvano has requested a separate batch of test kits specifically for the homeless of Manatee County. County leaders will announce when those test kits become available. 

For more info.

[Extending Our Reach]  UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County is Still Here for You
Crystal Snodgrass, County Extension Director

What is Extension, anyway? Most folks know Extension through experiences with 4-H, our popular Master Gardener Volunteer program or our services to our county’s agriculturalists. However, Extension is always expanding to meet the needs of our ever-changing community, and this is especially true now when social distancing is so important. UF/IFAS Extension is a partnership between federal, state and county governments to provide research-based education to citizens in each of Florida’s 67 counties. Here in Manatee County, we are a division of Manatee County’s Parks and Natural Resources Department.

So, what do we do? We solve local problems, provide educational opportunities, promote economic enhancement and strive to improve the quality of life of citizens. Examples of educational programs cover a wide range of topics, including school and community garden development, environmental sustainability, red tide and harmful algal blooms, sustainable fisheries, 4-H Youth Development, Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM, water conservation, the Master Gardener Volunteer program, relationships and financial management, Agricultural Best Management practices – and many more.

Just last month our world was turned upside down. People have had to change the way they work and play, and Extension is meeting the challenge to continue providing much needed services. Here are just a few ways we have been meeting the needs of citizens during this unprecedented time.

Our commercial agriculture agents are working to make farm to consumer connections. Sustainable Food Systems Agent, Lisa Hickey, is working on two projects with input from marine, livestock and horticulture agents. The first is a joint project with Sarasota County Extension and Transition Sarasota that lists local farm products available directly to the public. That list can be found here: http://www.transitionsrq.org/ Hickey is also working with the Bradenton Farmers’ Market to set up a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where people buy shares of produce. Products can be selected for purchase Monday 4 pm to Wednesday at 9 pm and picked up in Bradenton. Check out the online store here: https://shop.realizebradenton.com/ Remember, you can also find producers that are selling directly to the public by checking out this site: https://www.fdacs.gov/Agriculture-Industry/Florida-Farm-To-You.

Our Sea Grant (Marine) Agent, Dr. Angela Collins, is working to connect commercial seafood producers with local consumers, and she is collaborating with other Sea Grant agents to provide, “Bite-sized Science” on topics such as living shorelines, marine fisheries, seagrass, manatees, safe boating and more. Check out this page to view recorded seminars and for additional information: http://bit.ly/bite-sizedscience. Florida Sea Grant has also developed a list of resources to assist stakeholders during the COVID-19 event: https://www.flseagrant.org/disaster-assistance/.

Our Residential Horticulture Agent, Alyssa Vinson, oversees our Master Gardener Volunteer and Master Naturalist programs. As one of our most tech savy agents, she has jumped right on the virtual education train blogging on topics like “Peace in Gardening” (found here: https://bit.ly/3eVr6Ei ) and webinars like Benefits of Trees and mangrove trimming. She has also developed webinars specifically designed to keep her 94 volunteers engaged[VA1] . Master Gardener Volunteers are hard at work answering the public’s questions via our “Ask an MG” email service: email gardening questions to manateemg@gmail.com. They also are keeping their green thumbs in action in their home landscapes, growing plants for the educational gardens and the annual fundraising plant sale the first weekend in October.

Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Nelly Nelson, is educating her audience on topics such as spending your stimulus money wisely, working from home with children, safe grocery shopping and managing stress and anxiety. She worked with a team of faculty to translate general COVID-19 resources (https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_spa_covid19) and COVID-19 for the pest management industry resources (https://pestmanagementuniversity.org/covid-19/) to Spanish.

Together with our partners at UF/IFAS Extension in Sarasota County, we are providing monthly sustainability webinars that started as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and have focused on issues including microplastics, sustainable seafood, backyards for birds and more. To register for these free webinars visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ufifas-extension-sarasota-county-422952084 

For more upcoming programs and virtual events.

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