Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stow It-Don't Throw It - November 2010 Project Updates

Hey “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project participants!

I hope everything’s going well with all of you! This post is an update on some of the work that has been carried out for the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” project over the past few months, as well as some of our current efforts.

To begin with, many 4-H and youth groups, as well as our partnering organizations worked to expand the efforts of the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” project throughout the summer. From July 7-11, over 80 Sarasota County 4-H Members attending 4-H Camp Cloverleaf assembled approximately 200 personal-sized fishing line recycling bins while learning about the importance of fishing line recycling, and how they can educate others to protect marine wildlife. These 4-H members also brainstormed ideas for youth led service projects that could help combat other environmental problems affecting our state. A special thanks to the Sarasota County 4-H Foundation for providing funding for summer camp supplies and for their continued support of this project. A special thanks also goes to the Sarasota County 4-H Staff and the Florida 4-H Camping Program for incorporating the project into their summer camp activities!

Around 100 of the recycling bins assembled by these Sarasota County 4-H Members, were distributed on June 11th, to anglers and event participants attending the captain’s meeting for Tampa Bay Watch’s annual Ed Alber Tarpon Rodeo tournament. We greatly appreciate the support of Tampa Bay Watch and their efforts to promote sustainable fishing practices as well as protect the marine environment in the Tampa Bay Area.

Thanks to support from Karen Blyler and the Florida 4-H Marine Education Program, the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project was also shared with participants in other 4-H educational programs this summer, including the Florida 4-H Marine Ecology Summer Camp.

We’re excited to continue to involve groups, like Volusia County 4-H, who assembled their first fishing line recycling bins as part of the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project earlier this year, and look forward to the opportunity to involve youth and environmental organizations in new counties across Florida in our work.

Currently, we are excited to be working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, to involve students at Destin Middle School in the assembly and distribution of personal-sized fishing line recycling bins. Youth and adults involved in this program are working to spread the word about the project, collect tennis ball containers, and develop outreach materials to further their efforts. We are also in the process of working with the Manatee County Natural Resources Department to bring personal-sized fishing line recycling bins to the Manatee County area.

We’re also continuing to work with Green My Parents, a youth movement to empower youth to teach their families and friends how to protect the planet, while saving money, that I introduced to you in my last e-mail update. Green My Parents is working to inspire 1 million youth across the country to collectively save 1 million dollars, while helping out the environment and giving back to their communities. You can learn more about how to get involved in this program by visiting or “liking” “Green My Parents” on Facebook @ From these sites, you can also find more information about the Green My Parents book, which features an article about the work we’re doing with the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project across the state of Florida!

As part of our outreach efforts, I had the opportunity to share the work being carried out by “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project participants, as well as the Green My Parents program to students participating in the University of Florida’s Young Entrepreneurs for Sustainability and Leadership Program. I was joined by Green My Parents team member Josh Stempel, via a video conference from California. It was exciting to discuss the “Green My Parents” program with the youth participating and share with them ways they could implement these ideas to bring about positive change in their communities.

As we continue to spread the word to the public about the importance of recycling used fishing line and protecting aquatic environments, the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project and its efforts were helped by being featured on Sarasota Access 19’s Inside County 4-H TV show which is run by Sarasota County 4-H member, Jared Padgett. This show provided another great opportunity to promote sustainable fishing techniques to the public!

Please continue to check out updates to the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” website –, including general page updates, blog posts with photos and information regarding the work being carried out across the state, and other important details! Also, check out our Facebook page at and share it with your friends!

If you are reading this and you or your organization would like to become involved in our work, please get in touch with me. I would be happy to work with you to develop an action plan for your group to help with the assembly and distribution of the personal-sized fishing line recycling bins and/or our environmental outreach efforts. It is also good to see many groups who participated in this project in the past, continue to stay active. If you have already been involved in the program, and would like to continue to help, please let me know!

As always, thank you for all of your dedication and support of the “Stow It-Don’t Throw It” Project. It is exciting to see how successful you have made this program over the past two years! I’m looking forward to working with all of you in the upcoming year to continue our work to protect Florida’s marine wildlife.

Sean Russell
Stow It-Don’t Throw It Project Chair