Radio active: Turtle watch reaches out on airwaves

The Anna Maria Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring has taken to the airwaves with the Florida Folk Show on public radio.

AMITW executive director Suzi Fox’s voice could be heard July 12 alongside the voices of 88.5 WMNF’s Florida Folk Show’s hosts Ronny Elliott, Pete Gallagher and Gary Horrell. Fox’s appearance on the show aligned with the radio station’s summer fund drive.

“The Florida Folk Show helps educate all of southwest and Central Florida about environmental issues that touch the very hearts of Florida visitors and residents,” Fox said. “The DJs reach out and tell the real story of Florida.”

Fox’s appearance on the Florida Folk Show is her second. She also participated in its February fund drive. So far, she has logged five hours of airtime. However, for AMITW the cameo on public radio is all about exposure and education.

Callers can adopt nests for $100. The station is paying for the materials — a plaque that is staked with the nest throughout nesting season, and given to the adopter after it hatches — and the not-for-profit station keeps the funds.

“Many other shows mention our adoption packages. That is a huge return for us,” said Fox. “When we chose to donate adopt-a-nest packages we had no idea that those adopters had never even heard of us. They not only come frequently to visit their nests on the beach but keep in email contact. Many plan on supporting our nesting program in the upcoming years.”

So far, nearly 20 people have adopted nests through the radio station, including the Florida Folk Show hosts and Rob Lorei, a founding member and news director for WMNF.

Fox said AMITW has allowed other organizations in the past to adopt out nests including the local Kiwanis and Rotary clubs and a few Manatee County schools.

Fox said WMNF and the Florida Folk Show are widely followed by many AMITW volunteers. The Florida Folk Show holds interviews, host artists and reports on environmental news in the Tampa Bay area. Fox hooked up with the show after attending some local, environmental events.

“I heard Rob (Lorei) interview Kent Bailey a few years back. It started us looking into some questionable development of the Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve and the Manatee County side of the Skyway Bridge. I panicked because this area is a nursery for juvenile green turtles and, during that time, there was a bunch of phone calls and meetups,” she said. “I don’t think they realized what we really do over here on Anna Maria Island until then. We all just fell in like with each other.”

The Florida Folk Show broadcasts on 88.5 FM 9 a.m. on Saturdays and showcases Florida folk musicians.

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