Endangered Giant Air Plant (tillandsia utriculata)
killed by invasive, Mexican weevil (metamasius callizona).
Weevil lays eggs in mature bromeliad and the larvae kill the plant before it can reproduce. This plant, 15-20 years old, had 5 larvae in various stages of maturity.

Blooming in the Reserve now:

Photos by Sherm



Blazing Star, Gayfeather--liatris, sp.


Blooming in the Carlton Reserve now


Click on picture for video link

STAFF HAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE CARLTON RESERVE IS OPEN AGAIN. Visitors should be alert to trail conditions that may have been affected by fire fighting equipment during the Memorial Day fires and by recent law enforcement operations.


Amazing half hour video


captured by Jacob Klasinski documents not only the dynamic Carlton Reserve environment as it transitions from drought to flood, but also its rich biodiversity of wildlife and habitats: coyotes, owls, bobcats, alligators, herons, egrets, hogs, deer, otter, vultures, raccoons--even crayfish and fish! Click on video  


Ernie Winn photographed this rare and endangered, night blooming, Jameson's Waterlily (Nymphaea jamesoniana) in the Carlton Reserve. 

Excellent video on Alligators

Sarasota County Play on FaceBook

 filmed in the Carlton Reserve


Resilience and Rejuvenation at The Carlton Reserve
Photos by Jean-Louis Dumaine on reopening day, one month after Memorial Day fire.

Rarely seen in the Carlton Reserve

Florida Milkweed---Asclepias feayi (endemic)

photo by Art Smith

Out of the Ashes

Just 15 days after the lightning set fire in the Carlton Reserve

Video by Dave Cavanaugh: Gopher Tortoise in Carlton Reserve returning to its burrow, adapted to survive periodic fire.



"Queen of the Marsh"

new trail camera video


alligator and other wildlife from the Carlton Reserve


by Jacob Klasinski

Volunteer for the 2021 Liberty Litter Cleanup!



Help keep our beaches and parks clean after the July 4 celebrations. The first 100 volunteers to register will receive this year's commemorative T-shirt, featuring Sarasota County's centennial logo.

Blooming now in the Carlton Reserve

Photos by Art Smith



More great trail camera video


from the Carlton Reserve and Big Slough


by Jacob Klasinski

Click on photo



New trail camera video footage 


from Jacob Klasinski


Carlton Reserve Wildlife:

coyotes, deer, turkey, bobcat, feral hogs, etc.


Click here or on photo

Windy Sawgrass Camp Working Windmill

Eastern Diamondback

In the Carlton Reserve Today

Photos by Dave Cottrill



Swallow Tail Kites


Carlton Reserve

In the Parking lot



Photo by Art Smith

The first blue flag irises and other early spring wildflowers

A photo gallery 

by Jean-Louis Dumaine


If there is a silver lining in the COVID pandemic it is the re-discovery of Sarasota County Natural Lands which offer safe opportunities for exercise, inspiration, creation and recreation.


Haiku and Photo  by Janet Sharp

Painting by Bill Sharp


Deer Creek Prairie fence
Innocuous it may seem
Bright burst of color


Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

photo by Troy Franson

Crested Caracara in the Carlton Reserve

Photo by Art Smith

In the Carlton Reserve This Month

 photos by  Ernie Winn, Art Smith, Jean-Louis Dumaine, Sherm Stratton

Morning in the Carlton Reserve

photos by Art Smith

see more of Art's wildflowers HERE

"You are here" map kiosks (12) have been installed in the Carlton Reserve to assist trail users along 100 miles of trails crisscross 38 sq. miles.


12 UV resistant signs were designed by Debbie Blanco (retired 10/30/20), funded by Friends of the Carlton, printed by H&H Signs, and installed today by Russ Johnson and Art Smith.








Rick Storsberg's daughter has notified us that Rick's lung condition has deteriorated. He and Sally are staying in Orlando where Rick is in line for a lung transplant that will not be fully covered by medical insurance. Here is a link for more information and how to contribute.




Trail Camera Video

Friends of the Carlton Reserve


Trail camera team: Donna Day, Ernie Winn, Martin Siesta funded by Friends of the Carlton Reserve


Click on picture or here for video


Carlton Reserve Update


1. Volunteers in the Save Our Native Florida Bromeliads Program relocated a fourth cage in which to sequester select plants to protect them from an invasive Mexican weevil until they can produce seeds.


2. Ten wildlife monitoring trail cameras remain in service 24/7. Since 2001, over 14,000 images of animals have been entered into a database. Click here to view gallery


3. Sarasota, the name given to a swallow tail kite from the Carlton, was outfitted with a satellite tracking device and departed for Brazil in August and returned to the Reserve in March.  


4. New YOU ARE HERE maps are being readied to assist bikers, hikers and riders. They will be located at key locations as soon as conditions permit placement.


5. Volunteers and Friends who contributed during the Patterson Giving Challenge earned the Friends of the Carlton an extra $675. 

New Carlton Reserve history pages:

Turpentine and Windy Sawgrass 

Surviving Fire: in Florida Scrub

16 min. film from Archbold Biological Research Station


Who knew?

The lowly palmetto (serenoa repens) may be as much as 10,000 years old!


Click here to read Florida Native Plant Society "Palmettos" issue 

Black Skimmers of Lido Beach

Latest and last of Darryl Saffer's Florida Field Journal films for the Education channel.

See what's coming to a park near you soon. Preview of coming attractions:

Sarasota County Parks Master Plan (download)


Click Bike Venice Florida for great regional biking information!


T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve, protects Sarasota County's water supply and habitat for wildlife. It does not permit pets. Pets are permitted elsewhere on leash in 71 parklands and off leash in 5 others. Click Here for list.

The FWC believes a female panther has crossed the Caloosahatchee River, the first in more than 40 years--great news for the long term prospects for the endangered animal's survival.

Read more here

See more photos here

E.O. Wilson explains why parks and nature are really good for your brain: Washington Post

So when the Washington Post asked Wilson what he thought about the mechanism by which these environments relax, rejuvenate and restore people. His answer was simple but pretty sweeping at the same time.

“Instinctively, without understanding what’s happening, they know that in certain wild environments, they have come home.” 

Click here for latest additions to 

The Florida Field Journal

by Darryl Saffer

Darryl Saffer video news:

The Evil Weevil part 3 now airing on the Education Channel, You Tube

Wildlife Photography: second in a web series  on You Tube.

Notebook sketch of Oscar Scherer State Park: Florida Field Journal

"Not Long Ago," a FL Field Journal video is being screened Feb. 14, 2016 in Gainesville:    Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival: schedule



Darryl Saffer has given voice to one of our own-- Grandmother Oak located in the Carlton Reserve



Darryl Saffer video essay on MRSP

 Not Long Ago

Dr. Mary Jelks on Myakka River State Park

oral history project   Slideshow


Evil, The Weevil! part 2 

Mexican invasive insect threatens bromeliads

see Darryl Saffer's latest FL Field Journal filmed in the Carlton Reserve

Starring Donna Day, Dr. Theresa Cooper and Mike Owen,  click here


Photo by Darryl Saffer: Hummingbird Clearwing


You never know what's waiting for you in the forest. . .Check this out


Carlton Reserve featured in Harbor Style magazine: Seeking Serenity p. 78-88

 (Excellent article overall but here are some corrections/clarifications)


Need a natural escape vacation? check out Florida's Coastal Dune Lakes


Teaching Cats To Dog Paddle? or Crossing the Caloosahatchee 


Caught on camera in Carlton Reserve Dec. 2001 Track cast on display in visitor's cabin
Caught on camera in Carlton Reserve Dec. 2001 Track cast on display in visitor's cabin
Carlton Feb. 2010, View footprint in visitor's cabin
Carlton Feb. 2010, View footprint in visitor's cabin

     We are a 501(C)3 community support organization whose mission is to support the parks and natural lands of Sarasota County, Florida.

      With 24,565 acres  on the state protected "wild and scenic" Myakka River, the Carlton Reserve has over 90 miles of trails and nearly 40 square miles for wilderness recreation:



  • hiking
  • biking
  • paddling
  • horseback riding
  • reserved camping on a limited basis at designated sites.

The Carlton Reserve is wilderness habitat/environmentally sensitive land:  

No pets     No hunting 

Ordinances, Resolutions and State Laws Protecting the Carlton


Economic Benefits of Wilderness: US Fish&Wildlife Service

     $4.87 economic benefit for each tax dollar spent on wilderness Click here 

     75% from passive recreation: hiking, biking, picnicking Click here

Global Forest Change Map: zoom in to view Florida and Carlton

Threatened Native Bromeliad Found in Carlton Reserve Picture here

Guide and Maps of Invasive Species  Click here.



Florida Field Journal: Crowley Museum and Nature Center: video

Florida Field Journal: Selby Gardens 1, by Darryl Saffer video

FL Field Journal: Fire and Flood, Myakka RSP by Darryl Saffer video

Recommended streaming video: Great Plains Episode 1   Episode 2

Monitor Poaching in Africa, Sri Lanka on iPhone:Instant Wild

Photo of the Month: Stewards of the Land, the Next Generation

Leucistic Buck caught on cameras in Carlton over 5 years: click here

Nature Conservancy Buys Critical Panther Corridor: Click here.

Florida Field Journal: Baby Birds, Save Our Seabirds,by Darryl Saffer:video

Florida Field Journal: Celery Fields-Jeanne Dubi: by Darryl Saffer:video

Gators Gather at Deep Hole: video

Cornell Ornithology Lab Project Preview: BIRDS OF PARADISE

World Heritage Sites   360˚ aerial views



PantherTalk and Natural Lands

Panther Breeding Territory Expanding Northward? Herald Tribune, Oct.12

Panthers May be Moving North St. Pete Times Jan.04

Panther Habitat Facts Tampa Tribune

Panther Habitat Protection in Florida Sierra Club

Lawsuit Over Panther Habitat Protection Sierra Club

 Friends of the Fakahatchee Trail Camera Gallery

The Wanderer, Panther No. 62 Craig Pittman

Paving Paradise Craig Pittman


Use top bar to navigate this site.





Information & Website



Park Naturalists:

Meghan Harris 


         Art Jensen





Sarasota County

Field Guide

to Conservation Lands

(download 64pp. PDF)

Field Guide.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 3.8 MB

Counter set 03/24/2015

Friends of the Carlton

is a chapter of  FOSCP   

not for profit corp.