The maritime committee concentrates on programs and events which focus on stewardship and promotion of Charlotte Harbor and in particular, the Punta Gorda waterfront. Maritime works closely with the City of Punta Gorda and the Punta Gorda Boaters Alliance. It is involved in harbor conservation projects in partnership with local environmental groups. It also promotes local harbor related events to encourage boaters to visit Punta Gorda.
Two of the committee’s recent projects are highlighted below.
Trails that Teach Interpretive Signs
Maritime Co-Chair Ann Taylor played a key role in our Trails that Teach Interpretive Signs project. She explained, “The objective is to educate local residents and visitors on the importance of Charlotte Harbor’s estuaries. One sign explains the importance of an estuary and provides information specific to the Charlotte Harbor National Estuaries study area. Another sign explains the characteristics and importance of our mangroves.” The Estuary display is located adjacent to Punta Gorda’s Harborwalk in Laishley Park. The Mangrove display is located further east along Harborwalk. Both signs feature photos donated by Steven Scott, a local photo naturalist. To further re-enforce the message of the Harborwalk signs, volunteers from Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) will lead free monthly educational seminars to provide more in depth information and discuss how citizens and visitors can help to preserve these important natural resources. The project is a collaborative effort of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuaries Program (CHNEP), the City of Punta Gorda, Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC), and TEAM Punta Gorda’s Maritime Committee. The design and installation of the signs by TEAM was funded by a grant from the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program.
Waterfront Clean Up
TEAM Punta Gorda’s Maritime Committee, partnering with Keep Charlotte Beautiful, recruited and orchestrated approximately 200 volunteers to clean up over 3 miles of Punta Gorda waterfront as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 17. Areas worked included the entire length of Harborwalk, Gilchrist Park, Linear Park and Ponce Park by land. Kayakers worked the coastline from Fisherman’s Village to the I-75 Bridge. The Punta Gorda volunteer effort was part of the greater Charlotte Country Coastal Cleanup Campaign, which included over 800 volunteers. Items collected included cigarette butts, beverage bottles and cans, bottle caps, cup lids, plastic straws, food wrappers, plastic bags, old tires, rotting wood, rusting abandoned crab pots and more. TEAM’s Maritime co-chair Ann Taylor was thrilled. “Our intention was to try and boost Punta Gorda’s community participation in this important clean-up effort,” explained Ann, “Keep Charlotte Beautiful has always had excellent participation among Port Charlotte groups. We wanted to play our part.”Keep Charlotte Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. Thanks go to volunt