Interested persons encouraged to serve as county water stewards after taking UF/IFAS program

Eight-week course to begin Sept. 12

Image courtesy Sarasota County

“Water is essential to our very existence, but we often overlook the importance of protecting and preserving our limited supplies,” staff of Sarasota County’s University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Extension and Sustainability (UF/IFAS) division says in a news release.

“You can help remedy that through the Florida Water Stewardship Program,” the staff adds in the release, noting that its office oversees the program. “This eight-session course, launching Sept. 12, uses expert presentations, hands-on learning, field training, and communications exercises to give participants the tools to become stewards of the area’s water resources,” the release points out.

“As a plumber, I only knew one side of water. Now I understand that water is everywhere and connects everything,” said Duane Sinkwich, a retired plumber and a graduate of Sarasota County’s first water stewardship class, in the release. That class was held in 2016, the release notes.

Course participants will learn about local water quality and quantity issues at locations around the county. The course comprises eight sessions:

  • Sept. 12: Watershed Basics and Stewardship, to be conducted at the UF/IFAS Extension & Sustainability office, located at Twin Lakes Park at 6700 Clark Road in Sarasota.
  • Sept. 26: Water Flow, Then and Now, to be held at the South Gate Center in Sarasota.
  • Oct. 3: Managing Stormwater in Sarasota County, to be held at the Audubon Nature Center at the Celery Fields in Sarasota.
  • Oct. 21: Water Supply and Demand, to be conducted at the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority offices in Lakewood Ranch.
  • Nov. 4: Wastewater Management, to be held at the Bee Ridge Wastewater Reclamation Facility in Sarasota.
  • Nov. 14: Conservation in Action, to be conducted at the Englewood Water Authority.
  • Nov. 28: Communicating Water Stewardship, to be held at the South Venice Civic Association facilities.
  • Dec. 9: graduation and guided kayak tour at Historic Spanish Point in Osprey.

This $80 course is open to the public, though seating is limited, the release points out. Scholarships and government employee discounts are available. “Learn more and register early at to reserve your spot,” the release adds.

For more information about the course or available scholarships, contact Extension Water Agent Abbey Tyrna at or 861-9818.