SARASOTA, FLA. - Karen Fraley knows how important Sarasota Bay is to our way of life.
"We depend on the fish, shell fish, everything starts their life cycle right out here in the grass flats."
Fraley, the owner of Around the Bend Nature Tours, is also committed to teaching children about the importance of Sarasota Bay.
"If they understand the watershed and why we need to keep the land clean so that when the water washes down into the bay that’s clean water coming in.”
On Saturday, Fraley was one of many friends of the bay who gathered on City Island to be a part the Sarasota Bay Water Festival..
"The water festival is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of Sarasota Bay to our environment and our economy,” explained festival director Randy Moore.
Moore tells ABC 7 the bay is a major economic engine that benefits both Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
"That goes to the heart of tourism, fishing, boating, even the local real estate value of our property."
The mission of the second annual Sarasota Bay Water Festival is to drive awareness about the importance of taking care of one our most treasured and productive natural resource.
“It takes human beings helping to nurture the bay and take care of it . It takes people and organizations, government as well as private industry and nonprofits as well to work together to help restore and protect the bay."
Plenty of people braved the windy and sometimes raining conditions Saturday to enjoy good food, take part in the art zone and to learn more about the importance of our waterways but Moore said, Saturday’s event was also about building relationships which will extend long past a one day event.
"Those relationships are the key to enhancing and protecting this bays future.” Moore says the next step for the Sarasota Bay Water Festival will include filing for 501(C) (3) status so they will be able to help raise money for educational programs that our teaching the importance of our area waterways.