2020 NEST calendar available, featuring Sarasota County students’ artwork

County Commission recognizes winners

The County Commission recognizes the young artists whose work is in the 2020 NEST calendar. Photo courtesy of Sarasota County via Twitter

Sarasota County’s 2020 NEST Calendar — with the theme Water, water everywhere — is available at county facilities, while supplies last, the county has announced.

Each year, the Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) produces the calendar, which supports the county’s goal of environmental stewardship, a news release explains. “The calendar brings together our community’s youth and adults by cultivating strong conversations around the environment, natural resources and the importance of conservation,” the release adds.

Given the 2020 theme, students were asked to illustrate the importance of water and raise awareness about flooding.

In addition to the student artwork, this year’s calendar features the animated Floody the Frog, “a graphic tool used to help simplify the complex concepts of flooding” and make them easier for youngsters to understand, the release adds. “Floody the Frog was developed by the Sarasota County Public Works and Communications departments” to help build an interest in water quality and flood-related issues, the release says.

Students from schools across Sarasota County were honored by the Sarasota County Commission during the Dec. 11 board meeting. During a breakfast ceremony prior to that session, commissioners signed each winning student’s calendar, the release adds.

This is the cover of the 2020 NEST calendar. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Elementary school students in all public and private Sarasota County schools, including charter schools, and elementary-age students who are home-schooled were invited to participate in the calendar art competition, the release points out.

The illustration of Ahli’lani Dunn, a second-grade student at Tuttle Elementary School, was selected from hundreds of entries as this year’s cover winner, the release says. The other winners, whose artwork is featured each month, are as follows:

  • January: Brooke St. Louis, a second-grade student at St. Martha Catholic School.
  • February: Eisabella Maldonado, a third-grade student at Sarasota Academy of the Arts.
  • March: Triniti Ramjas Bryan, a fourth-grade student at Phillippi Shores Elementary School.
  • April: Vallerie Kappelmann, a fifth-grade student at Englewood Elementary School.
  • May: Varshini Ganesh, a third-grade student at Pine View School.
  • June: Zoe Malca, a first-grade student at Gulf Gate Elementary School.
  • July: Natasha Bensen, a fifth-grade student at Venice Elementary School.
  • August: Faith McCue, a fifth-grade student at Ashton Elementary School.
  • September: Yahir Dominguez Hernandez, a kindergarten student at Gocio Elementary School.
  • October: Arseney Machefert, a fourth-grade student at Atwater Elementary School.
  • November: Livia Dietz, a first-grade student at Tatum Ridge Elementary School.
  • December: Selena Shen, a fifth-grade student at Pine View School.

Mollie Holland, the county’s NEST coordinator, noted that reducing the public’s contribution to pollution “will help clean the water that we, and our valuable wildlife, depend on.”

“Having respect for our water resources and being a good neighbor is important to keeping Sarasota a beautiful and vibrant place to live and play,” Holland said in the release, adding, “Using the water we take from the ground wisely will conserve our best resource for water that we drink and grow our food with.”

The calendar offers a variety of opportunities for people to learn “how to be a better neighbor to the water that often surrounds our community so together we can be healthy and safe,” the release says.