Historic carriage house at Conservation Foundation receives facelift

Junior League of Sarasota members undertake the project

On Sunday, Feb. 19, seven members of the Junior League of Sarasota spent the day at the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast’s Bay Preserve headquarters in Osprey, revamping the first floor interior of the Foundation’s historic carriage house, the Foundation has announced.

Although the carriage house has served several purposes over the organization’s history, in recent years, the first floor had functioned primarily as a storage space, a news release notes. “Now, thanks to Junior League’s signature Done in a Day program, the area has been transformed into an organized, multi-functional education center curated for Conservation Foundation’s outreach programming,” the release points out.

A local, not-for-profit land trust, the Conservation Foundation serves thousands of participants each year in its educational and environmental outreach programs, the release explains. For example, its Youth in Nature program works with partner organizations “to provide WOW! moments in nature to at-risk, underserved middle and high school youth,” while the Nature Explorers program provides community science opportunities to elementary-age children — those in grades K-5.

The latest addition to the line-up is a Nature Interpretation program, which “provides memorable, equitable experiences” to adults, children and families, expanding understanding about conservation efforts community-wide, the release adds.

The new education center will serve as the Conservation Foundation’s programming hub, “enhancing participant experiences,” the release points out.

“This revitalized space will help us connect even more people to nature, furthering our impact and enhancing the experiences of those who engage with our work,” said Christine P. Johnson, president of the Foundation, in the release. “We are grateful to Junior League of Sarasota for their time, energy, and continued commitment to the Sarasota community.”

Done in a Day projects are planned and coordinated by Junior League members to provide hands-on service opportunities in partnership with other organizations to improve the community, the release explains. As part of the Conservation Foundation initiative, Junior League members not only cleaned the carriage house, but they also sorted through old supplies and removed unnecessary items. They then built and installed storage units, organizing the Conservation Foundation’s various program supplies for easier access and increased utilization, the release says.

In addition to providing the volunteers and their work hours, the Junior League gave the Foundation a $1,000 matching grant to enable the Foundation staff to purchase shelving and storage units, the release notes.

To learn more about the Foundation’s mission, visit conservationfoundation.com.

For details about the Junior League, go to jlsarasota.org.