This morning a few members from Lakewood Ranch Digital Photography Club Macro Group met at Red Bug Slough Preserve in Sarasota for a tour. The 72 acre wooded nature preserve was purchased in the early 2000’s through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program. The preserve offers trails, a small lake with a fishing dock, picnic area, small playground and is nestled in the heart of Sarasota. A small portion of the preserve can be seen from Beneva Road. I have driven by the preserve several times not knowing what a treasure lay beyond a small parking area and entrance.
We were met by an Environmental Specialist for Sarasota County who manages the preserve along with several other parks and preserves in Sarasota County. He was extremely knowlegable as we took a two hour walk through a small section of the preserve. Most of the trees, palms, shrubs and flowers are native to this part of Florida. Occasionally he pointed out those that weren’t and explained how many sprout up from seeds dropped by birds.
One flower we never expected to see was an amaryllis in bloom. Too large for a bird to drop so it was left by someone over the past year. Its orange blossoms glowed through the underbrush surrounded by a carpet of lush green ferns.