VENICE, Fla – Freedom Boat Club has partnered with two organizations in southwest Florida, the Mote Marine Laboratory and the Pine View School, in an initiative to support marine wildlife conservation.
The Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent marine research institution comprised of marine scientists committed to conservation and sustainable use of our oceans. The Pine View School is a college preparatory co-ed school with the only full-time program in Florida for intellectually gifted students in the elementary through high school level. The “Stow It Don’t Throw It” program was originally conceived in 2008 by Mote Marine Laboratory Senior Biologist Kim Bassos-Hull and Pine View high school intern Sean Russell, the latter of whom currently serves as project director.
The team developed personal-sized monofilament recycling bins to protect marine wildlife from dangerous and potentially deadly fishing line entanglement. Made from recycled tennis ball cans, the bins provide anglers a safe housing on their boat to stash used fishing line until proper disposal can be made. This initiative has continued to build momentum and has enjoyed national support from partnering student groups and conservation organizations throughout the country who have collectively produced and distributed more than 17,000 bins.
As a spring community service project, students from the Pine View School’s seventh grade civics classes and their mentors, the PeaceJam Club, produced and assembled 200 of the recycling bins, with the goal to make them available free to anglers within the regional market.
“We approached and partnered with Freedom Boat Club because we felt it was an ideal way to get the Stow It containers to the fishermen directly in our community who will use them,” said Pine View Student Sustainability Council President Katarina Jurczyk.
Freedom Boat Club’s President and CEO John Giglio embraced the initiative and agreed to promote it within the southwest Florida market at the company’s 14 corporate-owned club locations.
“We were very impressed by the innovative product presented and produced by local students and leaders from the Pine View School with the support of the Mote Marine Laboratory, and we immediately understood the benefit of supporting this worthy marine conservation project among our boating and fishing community," said Giglio. “We will proudly feature these bins on all of our fishing boats here in our corporate market, from Bradenton to Marco Island, Fla., as well as promoting the excellent work of the school and its students in our member newsletter and through our social media activities. We are very pleased to have been selected to partner with the Pine View School and Mote Marine Laboratory in their outstanding efforts to protect endangered marine wildlife.”
A team of students from Pine View School will make a presentation to Freedom Boat Club’s management team in early May to explain the program and demonstrate how the bins work. Immediately following the presentation, 200 bins will become part of the Freedom Boat Club fishing fleet.