An afternoon with Boyce Blackmon!  

Please Join the Friends of the Carlton Reserve for a presentation on the history of the Carlton Reserve and their end of year meeting. Light refreshments.

Public is welcome 

WHEN:  Tuesday, April 18th from 4:00 - 7:00pm

LOCATION:  T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve, also known as the Carlton Reserve., 1800 Mabry Carlton Pkwy, Venice, FL 34292

Want to learn more about Boyce Blackmon before you go?


Boyce Blackmon will present a program about the history of the Carlton Reserve, changes he's seen over the years, conservationism/environmentalism, he'll answer as many questions as he can and share lots of stories with folks. 

Boyce had the original Hunt Lease for more than 3 decades on the then privately owned Ringling/MacArthur Tract - now in permanent public ownership as the well loved Carlton Reserve. He was an active Sarasota County volunteer for many years and has spent another 20+ years helping educate folks about this fabulous Reserve! 

He'll give a history of the Carlton and highlight some of the changes he's seen since the 1960s. He spent his career as a builder and cattle rancher in Sarasota County. He is a conservationist/environmentalist. He co-founded and was on the original Friends of Sarasota County Parks (FOSCP) board. Boyce brought his friend, Jack Urfer (Ie. Urfer Park) to Parks and Rec for Jack's MILLION dollar donation!  Boyce is a loyal member of Friends of Carlton Reserve and proudly holds membership #1!  Please join us for this fun and educational event. 


Bob Oliphant

former president of Friends of Carlton and long time mechanic who serviced all the power tools for volunteers.


(click on picture for link to video)



Pete Davis


former president of Friends of the Carlton


(click on picture for link to video)



Two of our long time officers, Jim Courtright, president, and Russ Johnson, secretary/treasurer

are stepping into retirement.


Here are two video tributes to their two decades of service to the Carlton Reserve and Friends of the Carlton:





In Transition

Friends of Sarasota County Parks--Friends of the Carlton parent 501(C)3--

Terry Redman (right) retires, Buck Buckmaster (left) assumes presidency:


Terry Redman (retiring):

"Working with County Parks staff and all our dedicated, talented volunteers has been one of my greatest enjoyments.  Watching our community grow in recreational amenities (facilities/programs), has made Sarasota County a leader in Florida and the United States.  After many years of participation in County Parks and 20 years with Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Inc., it is time to accept new challenges.  I can never say enough about all the support I have received over the past 20 years as we watched new projects and programs completed.  The Friends of Sarasota County Parks (FOSCP) has a dedicated leadership team and is prepared for this challenge on July 28, 2022.  I will always be available to assist FOSCP and will continue to support our County Park system/staff.  Being the President (numerous times) of FOSCP has been an honor and privilege.  Now, with over 20 Chapters of FOSCP and the 2022 Giving Challenge over, it is time for new leadership.  Thank you to all the volunteers and staff which have made this journey a pleasure."
Buck Buckmaster(new President):
Hello, I would like to take a moment to announce some new news and some exciting things going on. As you know by now, Terry Redman retired. I would like to introduce myself as the new president of FOSCP, My name is Buck Buckmaster. 
I have worked with Terry for about 8 years on different projects throughout Sarasota County. I was born here in Florida and grew up in Englewood since the 60's. I also have a small establishment in Venice called Revolutionary Martial Arts.
I look forward to working with each and every one of you. I know I have some big shoes to fill following Terry, but I am sure Terry groomed me well over the last few years. 
I have only one requirement, please.  We, the Board of Directors, would like to meet you, or someone that will represent your Chapter, and be present at the quarterly Board of Director meetings. This is so we can help you and that you have a "say" in us helping you with future funding to support your chapter.
Our next meeting is October 27th at 3:30 pm at the Venice Community Center. Please email us who will be representing you and the name of your chapter.
Thank you, and I look forward to working with you.
Be Safe and Travel in Peace,
Master Buck



Congratulations to Debbie Blanco, retiring after over two decades of service to Sarasota County as land manager of the Carlton Reserve.


Click on picture or here to view video tribute 3:50 minutes

Venice Area Beautification, Inc., Lemon Bay Playhouse, Friends of the Carlton Reserve, and Friends of Sarasota County Parks  celebrate Russ Johnson

Fran Valencic       Sun Columnist    

         Venice Area community service organizations and family celebrated Russ Johnson whom they refer to as “The Man For All Seasons” with a surprise 80th birthday party. Bob Vedder kept a long line of members paying tribute to the volunteer to just 5 minutes each. Some had names for Russ including the “Godfather of Beautification in Venice.”

“There are no pictures of Russ,” Monty Andrews said. “He leaves when the work is done and never sticks around for pictures.”

The list of work by Russ Johnson is long including helping plant more than 200 trees in Venice over the past few years. Russ installs the lights for the Holiday Parade and the Boat Bash. He designed the butterfly gardens at Venice Gardens and the YMCA. In his red truck, he waters the trees in the Venice Urban Forest.

The group agreed Russ’s major deficit is he just can’t say no. After greetings and accolades everyone sang Happy Birthday and said,: “We love you.”

 On the occasion of his 80th birthday, Russ Johnson was honored Dec.  1, 2019, at the Venice train station for his numerous contributions to the Venice Community, including the Friends of the Carlton Reserve.

 Click here to view a video tribute to Russ's many good works in the Carlton Reserve.    

Russ Johnson is the Indispensable Knight of the Reserve. Besides doing triple duty for Friends of the Carlton as Secretary, Treasurer and main supporter, he has been repeatedly recognized as “Volunteer of the Year” for his dedication to community service. For years he has been a loyal worker for groups like ours--VABI (Venice Area Beautification, Inc.), Lemon Bay Playhouse, and Shamrock Park. He has been seen on many sensitive lands with his infamous gang-- the pepper patrol--removing exotic invasive plants or setting out acres of native plants as part of a restoration project. Russ worked tirelessly on the 12 stall pole barn and WindySawgrass Cow Camp restoration and on virtually every project and event we have ever undertaken.  From the beginning Russ has been there for us and the lands.

Thank you, Russ.


Carlton Friends and Volunteers Honor Bob Branson & Family

Photos by Jean-Louis Dumaine

 Check out the Sarasota Herald Tribune article

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

featuring one of our best Friends: Jeff King

Jeff King is a long time Friend of the Carlton--his donated signs guide hikers and bikers, and a cage he donated sequesters giant air plants, (endangered by an invasive Mexican weevil) to be used as seed banks.





Website & Info:


Park Naturalist

Meghan Harris Meyer



Link to searchable U.S. map resources with parks, trails, campgrounds, historical sites, marinas, etc.



Sarasota County

Field Guide

to Conservation Lands

(download 64pp. PDF)

Field Guide.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 3.8 MB



Friends of Carlton Reserve

is a chapter of  FOSCP   

not for profit corp.