On Saturday, Aug. 8, volunteers will monitor the scallop population of Sarasota Bay by snorkeling alongside weighted ropes, called transect lines, in the second annual Sarasota Bay Great Scallop Search.
For last year’s event, Sarasota Bay Watch organizers had to drive to Tampa to borrow transects from Tampa Bay Watch. But this year, Sarasota Bay Watch will have its own equipment thanks to Sarasota resident Daniel Ryan, who is making the transects as part of his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project, a community-service project that Scouts must complete to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
Ryan, 15, who will be a junior at Sarasota Military Academy, learned about Sarasota Bay Watch’s need for the transects last year through his parents, John and Ronda Ryan, who are involved with Sarasota Bay Watch. At the time, he was looking for an Eagle Scout project. In order for the project to qualify as an Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project, the Scout must write proposals, raise funds and lead other Scouts who help to complete it.
“The goal is leadership,” Ryan said. “It’s not about just doing a project.”
At first, the $2,400 cost of building 50 transects seemed too pricey for an Eagle Scout project. But Ryan negotiated discounts with vendors and got supply donations from Economy Tackle, in Sarasota, which lowered the cost to $1,200. Then, through a $1,000 grant from the Longboat Key Garden Club, Ryan secured the funding.
For the past month, Ryan has gathered approximately 12 other Scouts in his back- yard to help him work on the project.
After he completes his project, Ryan, who is currently a Life Scout, will have just three more badges to earn before he can apply to become an Eagle Scout.
To Ryan, the project is important because it will help to preserve Sarasota Bay.
“I want it to be protected for future generations,” he said.
IF YOU GO
Sarasota Bay Great Scallop Search
What: Help scientists monitor the population of scallops while snorkeling in seagrass flats. The event is free for boaters and their crews. Bring snorkeling equipment, a dive flag, sunblock and drinking water. Lunch and a T-shirt will be provided. Space is limited. Call 953-5333 or go to www.sarasotabaywatch.org.
When: Mandatory captains meeting is at 8:30 a.m.; event takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Sarasota Outboard Club, 1763 Ken Thompson Parkway, City Island