2021 Sarasota County NEST calendar available

Students recognized for creativity in illustrating theme Today, I choose the bay

This is the cover of the 2021 NEST calendar. The artist is Kiera Gilmour, a second-grader at Tuttle Elementary School in Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County

A sure sign that a year is drawing to an end is the announcement that Sarasota County’s Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) calendar has been made available at county facilities, “while supplies last,” as a news release put it.

The goal of the annual NEST calendar is “to build community awareness and help introduce environmental and sustainability practices” to elementary school students, the release notes.

The 2021 theme, Today, I choose the bay, “challenged students to illustrate ways to incorporate sustainability practices into everyday routines. Students identified positive habits such as rerouting downspouts, limiting single-use plastics, and practicing responsible boating as some of the many ways residents can help protect area watersheds,” the release says.

Students typically are honored by the Sarasota County Commission during a December board meeting proclamation, the release points out. However, because of safety precautions implemented during the pandemic, this year’s winners and their families submitted their own photos for a presentation to the board on Dec. 9.

Elementary school students in all public and private Sarasota County schools, including charter and home-schooled elementary students, were invited to participate in the competition, the release notes.

Kiera Gilmour, a second-grade student at Tuttle Elementary School, was selected from among the hundreds of entrants as the 2021 calendar cover artist. The other winners, whose artwork is featured each month, are as follows:

  • January: Sustainable choices can keep our bay clean and healthy; artwork by Chloe Knowles, Laurel Nokomis Elementary School, Grade 5.
  • February: Plastic and other trash can end up in our bays, so use less single-use plastic; artwork by Chase Lanum, Garden Elementary School, Grade 4.
  • March: Participate in a local clean up event to keep our waterways clean; artwork by Camden Lee, Garden Elementary School, Grade 1.
  • April: Support local sustainable products and companies; artwork by Ava Donoghue, Tatum Ridge Elementary School, Grade 5.
  • May: Be a respectful boater when enjoying our bays; artwork by Kingston Wilhelm, Fruitville Elementary School, Grade 3.
  • June: Our beautiful wildlife needs clean water to live; artwork by Eligh Galati, Bay Haven Elementary School, Grade 3.
  • July: Reroute downspouts to help the rain soak in; artwork by Blaydynn Ward, Glenallen Elementary School, Grade 1.
  • August: Pack it back! Make sure you leave your spot on the beach clean and litter-free; artwork by Jackson Grundy, Lakeview Elementary School, kindergarten.
  • September: Most pollution sources are land-based, so do your part to reduce the effects; artwork by Sofia Shahan, Tatum Ridge Elementary School, Grade 4.
  • October: Keeping Sarasota clean can have global benefits; artwork by Mia Peralta, Phillippi Shores Elementary School, Grade 2.
  • November: Be a good ambassador for clean water everywhere you go; artwork by Addison Delgado, Phillippi Shores Elementary School, Grade 2.
  • December: It’s fun to fish, swim, and dive in clean waters; artwork by Addison Olivia, Sarasota Suncoast Academy, Grade 5.

NEST Coordinator Mollie Holland noted in the release that this year’s theme reminds members of the community “how we can continue to improve our natural resources by making small changes to the way we live our everyday lives.”

Hundreds of drawings were submitted, illustrating a variety of responsible habits, Holland added in the release. The winners “did an amazing job of sharing pictures of their celebrations since an in-person reception could not be held,” Holland pointed out. She made the presentation during the County Commission’s Dec. 9 meeting.

“These artists did a really good job of representing what these changes meant to them,” she added in the release.

“The NEST calendar began in 2005 as a way to help students understand water quality improvements, terms, and practices at a young age,” the release explains.

For more information on the NEST calendar, call the county Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit scgov.net.