Tampa Bay Watch and you can save the bay

Tampa+Bay+Watch+and+you+can+save+the+bay

Emilia Vadnais , Web Manager

Many Warriors will head out to the beach and go boating this holiday weekend. What they may not know is that behind the scenes, Tampa Bay Watch is cleaning the very waters they swim through.

Lauren Twele, with Tampa Bay Watch, said that the organization works to restore the Bay and often focuses on the estuaries. An estuary is where fresh water and saltwater meet and mix, creating brackish water. Specific types of animals live in this brackish water because the fresh water is too fresh, and the salt water is too salty for them. One example of these animals is an Ornate Diamondback Terrapin Turtle. Lauren brought in one of these turtles, named Palm, for her presentation. Lauren also went over how important these estuaries are. She said that they act as a nursery for baby animals. Lauren said,“Mainly we take plastic and pollution out of the water; we are not really an animal shelter by any means.”

Mainly we take plastic and pollution out of the water; we are not really an animal shelter by any means.”

— Lauren Twele

In fact, she said the only reason she had Palm was because someone found him in trouble and did not know where to take the little guy, so they went to Tampa Bay Watch. When Tampa Bay Watch received him, he was the size of their palms, and they decided to take him in.

Each year, volunteers come out and help with projects. Lauren said that Tampa Bay Watch, near Fort De Soto, has dozens of projects a year, and many people show up to help the Bay. One project they have is recruiting oyster spat in concrete domes, and they do this because oysters are a natural filter for the ocean. “We actually make our own oyster catchers.” Lauren said that during field trips, she really enjoys being there with the kids who do not get to have field trips as much and are less fortunate. “It’s awesome to be there for their first time doing these things and have them help out.”

Not only does Lauren work to save the environment, she also lives to save the environment in her day-to-day life. Lauren’s favorite role in the company is being outside, and she really enjoys being out in the sun. “I love working outside and actually being up and teaching.” There were some concerns about whether she ever runs into sharks during her projects and she is quite unbothered by the fact there are sharks in the water with her. She said, “Sharks are really good for coral reefs and the ocean in general, any day we have sharks in the water is a good day.” 

“Sharks are really good for coral reefs and the ocean in general, any day we have sharks in the water is a good day.”

— Lauren Twele

If you volunteer, you may be eligible for Bright Futures hours.  Check with your guidance counselor for confirmation.