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Sarasota County introduces free tool to guide new residents

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 24, 2023
The Sarasota County Starter Kit is available online.
The Sarasota County Starter Kit is available online.
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To assist newcomers in settling into Sarasota County, UF/IFAS Extension now offers a new tool to help ease that transition: the Sarasota County Starter Kit.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county adds an average of 35 new residents each day. The kit includes free classes and other tools to serve as a guide to living on the Suncoast, equipping both newcomers and longtime residents alike with essential information from saving on utilities to coexisting with local wildlife.

“There is a lot to learn about living in Southwest Florida, and the Sarasota County Starter Kit is our way of saying welcome to new residents while offering valuable resources to better understand how to get settled in your new home,” said UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County Director Lee Hayes Byron in a news release. “We believe that informed and engaged residents lead happier, healthier lives and contribute to the overall well-being of our community.”

The kit covers a range of topics including:

  • Sustainability and resource conservation
  • Gardening in Florida
  • 4-H activities for youth and families
  • Understanding and interacting with local wildlife
  • Saving on utilities
  • Recycling and reuse
  • Protecting water resources, from ponds to seas
  • Florida-friendly landscaping
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Identifying beneficial insects and pests

Starter Kit classes begin Jan. 17, with new offerings available every two weeks. Classes are free, open to the public and offered online.

“We get so many comments from our program participants about how different it is here compared to where they moved from, including what grows here, what gets recycled here and what creatures live here,” said Byron in the release. “By offering these classes, we hope to empower residents with information that is easy to understand and to apply in their daily lives so they can enjoy their new community and actively contribute to the well-being of Sarasota County.”

To learn more about the starter kit series, including class schedules and registration details, visit the website, email [email protected], or call 311 or 941-861-5000 if calling from outside of Sarasota County.


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