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Calusa Land Trust holds work\party at Baxley Preserve

June 13, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Calusa Land Trust held its monthly work/party at the Baxley Preserve in St. James City. This little known 5.4-acre preserve was donated to the CLT in 1998 by Joe and Judy Baxley.

"I think we have about a dozen volunteers here today for this monthly work party," the trust's chief land steward and ranger Ed Chapin said. "We're going to work on the maintenance and observation trail along our fence line. We'll be removing invasive exotic plants to control them to keep the preserve in a natural state. The smaller plants can be extracted but on the larger plants we have to use herbicide."

Joe Baxley taught the fifth grade at Pine Island Elementary and led his class on annual (and extremely popular) tours of Calusa Land Trust and other conservation areas on Pine Island.

Article Photos

Ed Chapin, center, with the members of Satur-day's work/fun party at the Baxley Preserve in St. James City.


Baxley Preserve is located on the southeast side of Pine Island near Pine Island Creek. It is at the end of Redwood Drive off Woodstock Road. The preserve includes three-quarters of an acre in pine flatwoods.

Pine flatwoods gave Pine Island its name, though there are precious few left.

The preserve also contains a "transition zone" and mangroves. Transition zones are saltwater marshes located landward of a mangrove fringe and a prime feeding area for many animals. Mangrove forests are a dominant feature of Pine Island and the basis of the islands' food chain web. These mangroves provide nursery areas for fish, crustaceans and shellfish and food for an incredible variety of marine species.

As an all-volunteer land conservancy, the Calusa Land Trust relies upon volunteers to care for its properties. Participants in work parties should bring work gloves/clothing, pruning tools and happy spirits. Due to large turnouts at its work parties, CLT now provides cold beverages and a pizza lunch.

For additional information about the Calusa Land Trust or the monthly work/parties, contact Chapin at 239-218-7531.



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