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Conservancy A publication of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida

UPDATE Summer 2009

No Slowdown in Development

Conservancy active in protecting water, land & wildlife. Florida’s Department of Community Affairs, which approves local growth management plans, reports it has been inundated with development proposals. These include over 600,000 new residential units and 500 million square feet of new commercial development state-wide. With more than 300,000 homes on the market or vacant across the state – many of which are in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades – these development proposals seem implausible. But they are very real. Government officials, developers, environmental organizations and the public are challenged in new ways to balance smart growth and economic stimulus with environmental restoration and protection. “The financial commitment of our supporters is vital,” McElwaine said. “Given the challenges to protecting our environment, we urge supporters to continue renewing their memberships and making donations. Together we will make a difference in our community that will benefit generations to come.” McElwaine also encourages all members and supporters to sign up to receive and take action on crucial policy issues. and click on Visit “Take Action.”

AVAILABLE FOR DEVELOPMENT Critical wildlife habitat. Important water replenishment areas.

A sampling of some Conservancy work includes: • Protecting sea turtle nests and using new technology to better understand these endangered animals. • Working to improve stormwater rules and reduce pollution in our bays, rivers and estuaries. • Helping to restore normal water flows in the Western Everglades. • Ensuring sustainable and smart growth for the eastern rural lands in Collier County. • Working with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior to protect the endangered Florida panther’s habitat. • Guiding a sustainable future in Charlotte County. • Supporting the historic decision to buy U.S. Sugar Company lands, a significant first step toward better water quality for southwest Floridians. • Protecting wetlands in the Cocohatchee Slough that are vital to purifying our water. • Recommending and supporting an environmentally-responsible site for the proposed new Boston Red Sox stadium. • Limiting development in wetlands to help improve water quality for people and for wildlife.

Associate naturalist Zach Mauk and Education & Discovery Center Manager Troy Frensley measure the new loggerhead.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Debuts In April, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida welcomed a juvenile female loggerhead sea turtle from the Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex in Boca Raton, FL. As the only loggerhead on display in Southwest Florida, the turtle is providing visitors with tremendous learning opportunities. The turtle was part of a Florida Atlantic University research study on the sex ratio of loggerhead hatchlings during last year’s nesting season. At the study’s conclusion, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined where each juvenile sea turtle would go, including the one given to the Conservancy. The young sea turtle will live at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for about three to four years before its release into the wild. Its stay will have a two-fold purpose – allowing it to grow to nearly 18 inches in length, at which time it can be released into the wild with a better chance of survival, and also serving as an ambassador for its species to educate the public about the importance of protecting sea turtles. For more information on loggerhead sea turtles, visit our website. A special coupon for free child’s admission to the Conservancy Nature Center and Discovery Center is also available.

INSIDE A Success

Pictures, results and a 2010 date page 3

Ground Breaking Earth Day “planting” ceremony page 4

A wild season for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

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From the President Protecting Southwest Florida’s unique natural environment and quality of life ... now and forever. directors Chairman Dolph von Arx Past Chair Nicholas G. Penniman, IV Vice Chairman Andrew D.W. Hill President & CEO Andrew McElwaine Treasurer Gary L. Thomas Secretary Pamela C. Williams

BOARD of directors Dawn Allyn

Colleen Kvetko

Edith G. Andrew

Maureen Lerner

Jennifer Cheng

Lisa Merritt

Ted Corbin

James T. Murphy

Paul Corddry

Jane Pearsall

Sue Dalton

Tony Rodriguez

John D. Fumagalli

Jeannie M. Smith

John Hall

Kermit Sutton

Robert L. Heidrick

Judith C. Tryka

Rich Housh

Gene Windfeldt

Update is published by the Conservancy Marketing and Communications team. Marketing Director & Editor Barbara J. Wilson Graphic Designer Kate Kintz We welcome comments and suggestions from readers and ideas for future coverage. Please send feedback to or mail your input to:

From the Vice President Marketing and Development

Conservancy of Southwest Florida 1450 Merrihue Drive, Naples, FL 34102 INFORMATION Conservancy Information

239.262.0304 Native Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

239.262.CARE (2273)

Membership Information


Volunteer Information


Does your mailing smell funny?

That’s because the Conservancy is using environmentally friendly inks and papers.

30 Printers Ink International is proud to be a preferred vendor of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and strives to protect the environment for our children and generations to come by utilizing Soy Bean Inks and buying products with the FSC label, supporting the growth of responsible forest management worldwide. To learn more contact us at 800-940-1500.


Summer is upon us and along with it, the rainy season has begun – and none too soon. Southwest Florida’s precipitation from January through April was only slightly better than Death Valley. The rapid decline in the health of our aquifer has made things tough for all creatures, not least ourselves. Yet, many new uses are being proposed for our groundwater. For example, too many wetlands are slated for destruction. In north Naples, three developments are approved on 900 acres of wetlands that help the flow of water from Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to Wiggins pass. Much of that area will become several dozen holes of golf. Wetlands naturally store water during drought, help hold back flooding in the rainy season and they naturally purify the water. To have them replaced with thousands of new homes all drawing from our aquifer is a one/two punch on our drinking water supplies. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, along with other conservationists, and led by the National Wildlife Federation, have appealed the permits for all this wetlands destruction. On July 8th, the appeal will be heard by a federal judge. I urge you to visit conservancy. org for updates on this and other issues. Wetlands are part of the solution to water quality and quantity. When you visit our Nature Center in the next several weeks, look out beyond the Wildlife Clinic. You will see a new wetland under construction. For years, all the drainage from Coastland Mall has flowed across our campus and into the Gordon River without any treatment. Our new wetland will hold that stormwater back, allowing pollutants to settle out and be absorbed by the vegetation being planted. By storing water before it reaches the River – even for a short period of time – more of it will filter down into the aquifer. We hope more builders will create wetlands to help solve problems rather than building over them. Our work goes on regardless of season. With your support, and despite challenging times, the Conservancy is financially stable. When the market value of our endowment fell last October, we stopped drawing from it in order to preserve the corpus in perpetuity. All gifts to our Capital Campaign were already in insured money markets and have not been affected. That said, the loss of endowment income put a hole in our operating budget. We made it up through budget cuts and an appeal to our Board of Directors. Although the cuts were painful, we did not reduce our science, policy, wildlife or education programs. All reductions came on the administrative side of the ledger. We have been very fortunate thus far. Thank you for your continued generosity --- both to our Capital Campaign and the annual unrestricted gifts that support our daily work to protect our quality of life. Enjoy your summer and time with your family!

With the season now behind us, I once again am awed by the breadth and depth of support you, our members and donors, have provided. We have been able to maintain momentum on our Capital Campaign, Saving Southwest Florida, raising over $2 million in support to date this fiscal year. These funds are dedicated to critically needed endowment funds for our programs and to fund the balance of $6 million needed to make our vision for our new sustainable campus a reality. In addition to the Capital Campaign, we have asked all of our supporters to continue supporting the annual operating fund of the Conservancy, which is driven by membership, special appeals, events and memorial and honorarium gifts. These gifts are the “fuel” that keep the Conservancy running. As you can see from this issue, the result is outstanding conservation work which benefits all of us. The Conservancy is a grass roots organization. We depend on the continued generosity of our 6000+ members and supporters to sustain our work. Consider making a modest increase in your annual membership gift, respond to our special appeals with a gift of any size, sign up for e-advocacy on our website and become more engaged in the issues, consider volunteering and educating others about the importance of our mission. Every dollar contributed, every hour volunteered and every action taken makes a difference. Thank you for helping us make the past season so successful. I encourage you to sustain your much needed support and help spread the word to friends, work colleagues and neighbors. Together we can continue to protect our water, our land, our wildlife and our future. Sincerely,

Rob Moher Vice President, Marketing & Development

M ag i c u n d e r t h e m a n g rov e s

Magic Under the Mangroves Magic 2010: Raises $380,000 Save the Date More than 350 people attended eco-friendly celebration. Following on the heels of a successful Patron Party event on Keewaydin Island, sponsored by BNY/Mellon Wealth Management, the 2009 Magic Under the Mangroves event, presented by Northern Trust, was a smashing success for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. More than 350 guests attending the March 5 event raised over $380,000 for Conservancy programs. Other major sponsors included Betty MacLean Travel, Inc., Gulfshore Life magazine and Florida Weekly. “The committee worked harder than ever,” said Maureen Lerner, board member and event chair. “We were successful because of their enthusiasm and endless hours of hard work.” During Magic Under the Mangroves, the grove at Wrenwood Farms, generously donated by the Sutton family for the event, was transformed into an eco-friendly paradise. The entire event was eco-chic with

green décor, limited use of paper promotional materials, tree-free, recycled and biodegradable papers on event necessities, sustainable fabrics and materials, low-energy lighting, recycling and waste reduction. Native plants and décor were utilized to transform tents in to an ambient atmosphere. “We extend many thanks to our board member and event chair, Maureen Lerner, for her tireless efforts and leadership on this event,” said Andrew McElwaine, Conservancy president and CEO. “We’d also like to extend our thanks to Robin DeMattia and board member Pamela Williams who donated their time and energy as auction co-chairs,” McElwaine added. Lavern N. Gaynor was presented with the Eagle Award, the Conservancy’s highest honor, given annually to an individual or group for their leadership in protecting southwest Florida. Mrs. Gaynor also served as honorary chair of the event.

March 4, 2010

After the most successful year for Magic Under the Mangroves, planning has already begun for the sixth annual 2010 Magic gala and auction fundraiser. And due to the continued greening of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida campus, a new offsite location has been chosen: Gulf Bay’s Cap d’Antibes mangrovefringed property located at Pelican Bay. “We are very grateful to both Mr. Aubrey Ferrao, president of Gulf Bay and Jim Hoppenstead, president of the Pelican Bay Foundation, for making this beautiful property available to us,” said Andrew McElwaine, Conservancy president. “This site provides a perfect magical setting for the event.” The 2010 Magic Patron Party at the Keewaydin Club on Keewaydin Island is planned for February 21, 2010. Learn more at

Chair Named

Nancy White to lead the next Magic fundraiser. Magic Committee member, Nancy White, will be spearheading the 2010 Magic Under the Mangroves fundraiser and auction as the event chair. “Nancy has been Nancy White a part of the Magic Committee for several years and is already active leading the event planning, helping to secure sponsors and in the site selection,” said Rob Moher, Conservancy development and marketing vice-president. “We have such a great committee, said Nancy.” Our plans for the 2010 event are very exciting.

Eagle Award Recipient

Ellin Goetz, former Board member, to be honored.

Top(From L to R): Lavern N. Gaynor and Maureen Lerner; Kermit & Jenny Sutton with Dolph von Arx; Robin & Pat Stranahan. Middle: Sara & John Fumagalli with Jay & Patty Baker; Henley & Nelly Shotwell with Chip & Lynne Shotwell; Bottom: Walter Ganzi and Sandra Cuyler; Suzanne Seekins, Addison Fischer, Heather Burch and Ian Bartoszek.

Ellin Goetz has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Conservancy Eagle Award, presented in recognition of her work throughout the community that focused on protect- Ellin Goetz ing our natural environment. “Ellin is very deserving of this award,” said Conservancy President Andrew McElwaine. “She has a very long history with the Conservancy, serving as past Chairperson of the Conservancy and is a long-standing advocate for environmental causes.”


New, Sustainable Nature Center Begins Vicky and David Smith

Capital Campaign Momentum Continues with Two New Gifts Above: Board members and Conservancy campaign supporters at the Earth Day ground breaking celebration.


n Earth Day, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida celebrated the much anticipated launch of its campus renovation with a ceremonial ground “planting” event, recognizing the start of the new filter marsh and overall campus. The Conservancy Volunteer Connection also announced their $5,000 contribution to the campaign. The 21-acre Conservancy campus is being transformed into a model for sustainable design and environmental responsibility. It is the first non-municipal project in Florida to pursue registration as a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) prototype

Supporters with a long history with the Conservancy join Chairman Dolph von Arx: Lavern Gaynor (daughter of Conservancy founder, Lester Norris), Mrs. Anthea Turner (daughter of Willard Merrihue) and Ms. Marilyn R. Laurion (sister of the late Dorothy Blair).

“When complete, the Nature Center will provide our community and our state with a model for sustainable development and serve as an educational tool to help us all understand what we can do individually to help protect our precious Florida environment.” Andrew McElwaine, Conservancy president & CEO. campus, a special designation reserved for large-scale sustainable projects. The renovated campus will include a new Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic, Nature Discovery Center, a hands-on nature education lab, an environmental planning center and a filter marsh designed to enhance Gordon River and Naples Bay water quality. Everywhere guests visit on campus will include interactive educational opportunities designed to encourage them to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices in their own lives. Construction will be phased over several years to provide for ongoing operation of the campus and to minimize the impact on Conservancy guests and staff. “When complete, our campus will provide our community and our state with a model for sustainable development and serve as an educational tool to help us all understand what we can do individually to help protect our precious Florida environment,” said Andrew McElwaine, Conservancy president and CEO. The campus renovation is part of the $33 million capital campaign. Funded by generous donors, $28 million has been raised to date. Many naming opportunities are still available. For more information on how you can help the capital campaign, call Rob Moher, vice-president of development and marketing, at 239-403-4205, or visit


One couple has a passion for animal welfare. A second supports environmental planning and stewardship. Both have made generous gifts to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to sustain two very important Conservancy initiatives. Vicky and David Smith recently made a donation to the Conservancy Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (WRC) endowment. The work of the WRC is near and dear to their hearts. “We share the commitment of the Conservancy to rehabilitate injured wildlife and return them to their natural habitat whenever possible,” said Vicky Smith. “We are extremely impressed with the professionalism and caring nature of the Conservancy team and are proud to support their work.” Mary and Stephen Byron Smith made a gift to help bring the planned Environmental Planning Center closer to reality. “The Environmental Planning Center is the quiet but inspiring name for a vital building on the Conservancy campus,” said Mary Smith. “We’re certain that the fine minds and eyes at the Conservancy will have a wonderful new facility in which they can tend to the business at hand, and also plan for the future, ensuring long-term conservation planning, practices and stewardship.” Learn more at

Stephen Byron Smith and Mary Smith

S av i n g s o u t h w e s t f l o r i da C a p i ta l C a m pa i g n

New Filter Marsh Future home for wildlife diversity, cleaner waters. When completed, the new filter marsh an ongoing scientific study. Conservancy will provide enhanced habitat for tiny crea- scientists will be initiating a five-year study tures and wading birds and is the first to determine the filter marsh’s pollutant sign of progress in removal capabilities the sustainable camby monitoring water pus initiative of the quality in the treatConservancy Capital ment areas prior to Campaign. entering and after The filter marsh exiting the filter is a water filtration marsh. system designed to Aside from the reduce water pollutenvironmental benants that enter the efits, the ConserGordon River and vancy filter marsh Naples Bay, by filter- White Ibis will be a model to ing stormwater from encourage others to parking lots and implement stormwa“It’s going to be a good roadways in surroundter best management demonstration project for practices. ing neighborhoods. Even though the fil- what people can do within The filter marsh ter marsh is not yet will include three complete, there are their own developments to “best management already signs of life. improve water quality.” practices” for storm Wading birds have water management Kathy Worley, Conservancy co-director of been spotted feeding endorsed by the environmental science in the marsh and wildSouth Florida Water life sightings should Management District. increase as the native vegetation grows and “It’s going to be a good demonstration flourishes. project for what people can do within their This filter marsh will also be the site of own developments to improve water qual-

Kathy Worley at ground “planting” ceremony.

ity,” said Kathy Worley, Conservancy codirector of environmental science. “Developers can incorporate filter marshes into their project designs and homeowners can utilize some of the concepts in their own backyards. As our filter marsh matures, we look forward to people visiting and taking important lessons with them.” Construction of the filter marsh is being funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Federal 319 program, South Florida Water Management District, Collier County, City of Naples and the Conservancy Capital Campaign. Although construction is nearly complete, filter marshes tend to evolve naturally, so it will be some time before vegetation is mature and the biological diversity es.

New Discovery Center Unique naming opportunities abound. Imagine your name on aquariums housing live snakes, alligators or even a sea turtle! Or what about on a super-sized gopher tortoise burrow? Cypress trees teeming with orchids? Or, a panther den showcasing one of the world’s most endangered big cats? The new Conservancy Discovery Center will be brimming with exciting educational exhibits and accompanying naming opportunities unlike any other in Southwest Florida. Donors to the Conservancy Capital Campaign have made significant and generous leadership gifts, donating more than $28 million of the $33 million goal. Now, the campaign is shifting to a grassroots level where donations in smaller dollar values are equally valuable. And the planned Discovery Center offers some unique opportunities to help create one-of-a-kind nature exhibits. “We are so fortunate to have incredibly generous gifts from major donors,” said Rob Moher, Conservancy vice president of marketing and development. Now we have an opportunity for others who want to help at a lower dollar range. “Donations to the planned Discovery Center are an amazing opportunity to make an impact with gifts starting at $5,000 to $10,000.” For example, a $5,000 donation could help build a “Conservation Station” designed

to delve deeper into the Conservancy’s role in each of the featured habitats. A $10,000 gift could provide an exhibit helping visitors learn the importance of mangroves with aquariums showcasing the magical animals living in the prop roots. For $15,000, donors could make possible a trash tank with examples of how trash affects the marine environment and how each of us can help prevent injured animals. Planners and the Conservancy team are continuing to fine tune the design of the Discovery Center and sponsorship opportunities will evolve from there. But, the emphasis remains on ensuring visitors feel like they are immersed in the Southwest Florida environment as soon as they walk in the door. Visitors will do more than learn about the Southwest Florida environment. “This building will showcase the beauty of the unique southwest Florida environment

Conceptual drawing provided by C7A

and really impress visitors,” explains Troy Frensley, education and Discovery Center manager. “Visitors will leave knowing what they can do to protect our fragile environment and what the Conservancy is doing to protect our water, our land, our wildlife and our future.” To learn more about sponsorship and naming opportunities or to make a contribution, please contact Rob Moher at 239-403-4205 or visit


E - C o mm u n i c a t i o n s

The Power of the People. Sign Up Today!

Grassroots advocacy made easy with a click of the mouse. Imagine over 4,000 e-mail messages sent to legislators and decision-makers on environmental issues regarding southwest Florida. Then imagine 12,000 e-mail messages sent to just three decisionmakers in the course of four days. It can, and did happen. Since the launch of the Conservancy e-advocacy Action Alert program launched in August 2009, over 948 activists sent over 4,000 emails by taking action on 22 issues.

And in an outside test, over 12,000 email messages were sent to just three decision-makers regarding the protection of the Florida panther. Here’s the opportunity…the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has over 6,000 members, but yet only 10% of the members have signed up to receive e-Action Alerts. Collectively, we can make a difference. Take action and sign up today. It’s easy!

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After you have signed up to receive future Action Alerts, you will be automatically e-mailed a “Policy Alert” whenever a new issue needs to be addressed. The alert will describe the issue and includes a blue “Take Action” link on the upper right side of the email. You will then be directed back to the page that automatically has the target audiences identified and the suggested email message. Your contact information will already be populated the next time you go to take action on an issue. Questions? Please contact Barbara Wilson at 239.403.4216

C o n s e rva n c y H a p p e n i n g s


Celebrating people, places, events of note. Earth Day

Great Birthday Gift Idea

Over 2,000 guests visited the Conservancy Nature Center the weekend of April 18-19 to celebrate Earth Day Weekend. The event was sponsored by Amerivest.

Dawn Allyn and Patsy Schroeder

WGCU Premier

Children enjoying a flower planting exhibit at Earth Day.

Celebrating 100 Years

On April 16, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida held a surprise 100th birthday party for longtime volunteer Mae Wood. The Naples resident remains a big supporter of the Conservancy, particularly its Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and attends Conservancy events as often as possible.

Patsy Schroeder and Dawn Allyn hosted a breakfast at the Port Royal Club for the premier showing of “Protecting Paradise: Collier County Conservation,” a part of WGCU’s Untold Stories series. Conservancy history and its role in protecting Collier County was highlighted throughout the show. Mrs. Lavern Gaynor and Naples Backyard History helped to underwrite the television show, which was produced by Lynne Howard Frazer. Copies are available in the Nature Store.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida

dining for wildlife On April 22, participating restaurants donated 50 percent of sales for the evening to the Conservancy Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. This 16th annual Dining for Wildlife program, this year led by Board Member and Volunteer Connection President, Judy Judy Tryka Tryka, raised more than $22,000. Many thanks to participating local restaurants!

Patsy Schroeder, Tuck Tyler, Barbara Moore , Dolph von Arx, Mae Wood and Andrew McElwaine

New Resale Shop

Volunteers and staff were on hand at the ribboncutting for the newly expanded Naples Furniture and More Resale Shop. The expanded store located on 764 9th Street in Naples, a few doors down from its original location. The store is always looking for upscale furniture and accessories for donations or consignment. Please call Jan Castle, store manager, for information at 239.263.0717.

L to R: Donna Erkenbeck, Barbara Ott, Pat Gaither, Ian Wright, Jan Castle (store manager), Jane Derf, Betty Wardle and Sheila Mahoney

New Board Member

Tony Rodriguez has been elected to serve on the Conservancy Board of Directors. Rodriguez is senior vice president, philanthropic consultant for Wachovia and oversees the company’s fiduciary services to non Tony Rodriguez profit organizations.

Local Schools Get Involved

Charity for Change, an organization focused on encouraging daily giving for all ages, worked with Calusa Park and Lely elementary schools. The students donated their change and organized small fundraisers to collect $300 for the Conservancy. The total donation increased to $455, since community partners added $1 for each correct answer given by students to the Counting for Charity math game. Mrs. Aliseo’s fifth grade class at Calusa elementary raised $121.13, coming in first place in the event.

When Dr. Leonard Ginger, a longtime member of the Conservancy since 1986, celebrated his 90th birthday a few months back, his daughter didn’t hesitate on what to get him for a birthday gift. Since Dr. Ginger has particular interest in the Conservancy work with wildlife and education, Betsy Ginger-Rose (Mrs. Warren Rose) gave a gift of $300 for bird food from the Wildlife Clinic wish list and $400 for laminated trail guides for Education in honor of his birthday. Dr. Ginger is also a member of the Conservancy Eagle Society.

Forty Under Forty

Conservancy Education and Discovery Center Manager, Troy Frensley, has earned the “40 Under 40” recognition from GulfShore Business magazine. This annual award recognizes the best and brightest among Southwest Florida’s young professionals who excel in their profession and make Troy Frensley a positive difference in their community. Troy and the other winners will be featured in the September issue of Gulfshore Business.

Next Generation Philanthropists Help Raise Funds for Conservancy For the fourth year in a row, Luke Peterson sacrificed his own birthday presents to benefit the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Peterson, of Barrington Ill., made a $300 donation to the Conservancy thanks to the generosLuke Peterson and Andrew ity of his family and McElwaine friends. Peterson, who is now 7, first visited the Conservancy of Southwest Florida during a trip to see his grandparents and has been donating his birthday money ever since. Best friends Allison Meland and Carley Kukk celebrated a dual birthday party and raised $240 for the Conservancy just by asking their guests to donate to the Conservancy in lieu of birthday presents. These nature lovers will begin third Allison Meland and Carley Kukk grade at the Community School in the fall and are both attending the Conservancy Summer Camp. Carley’s mom, Julie Kukk, also attended Conservancy Camp as a child. Allison’s dad, Wayne Meland, is the 2009 RedSnook Auction Chair.


Conservancy of Southwest Florida


Cleaner Water for Floridians Purchase of U.S. Sugar lands makes way for Everglades restoration.

Environment Hits a Home Run New Red Sox stadium site decided.

The Lee County Commission selected an environmentally responsible site for the new Boston Red Sox stadium, demonstrating their continued commitment to ensuring adequate protection of our natural resources and quality of life. The Conservancy analyzed the environmental and growth management impacts of each of the initial sites proposed, offering technical comments and recommendations throughout the process as the original list was whittled down to four. The site-specific comparative analysis included assessing each site’s: • Impact on critical water resource areas such as well fields and wetlands • Location within existing urbanized areas with compatible zoning • Location in relation to the Primary Panther Zone habitat and other endangered species critical habitat areas • Location in relation to existing transportation infrastructure The county selected the Waterman site on Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers. This was the same location the Conservancy deemed the most environmentally responsible of the four remaining sites under consideration. “We understood the significant economic value to the community a new stadium could bring, if it were placed where there was the proper infrastructure to support it and if it would not diminish or destroy critical natural resources,” said Jennifer Hecker, Conservancy natural resource policy manager. “We are very pleased that commissioners gave great weight to the environmental impact of the new stadium and selected a site that was consistent with effective growth management practices and natural resource protection.”


The South Florida Water Management In the future, these lands will be used District’s (SFWMD) historic decision to to restore historic sheet flow to the Everbuy part of U.S. Sugar Company’s lands is glades and renew the entire natural system. a significant first step toward Everglades And, the effective treatment and storage restoration and ultimately a cleaner water of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee supply for southwest Floridians. would allow for cleaner and more manageThe purchase will include 40,000 acres able releases of water down the Caloosaof sugarcane fields located close to Lake hatchee River. Okeechobee that can be used for water “Buying this land is only the very first storage reservoirs and 33,000 acres of cit- step to provide real solutions for the necesrus lands that can be used to treat agriculsary storage and treatment of water that tural runoff. SFWMD has the option to buy will restore the Everglades and south Floran additional 107,000 ida’s communities and acres from U.S. Sugar “Buying this land is only the very first environment,” said and has the ability to step to provide real solutions . . . that Andrew McElwaine, swap, buy or sell land Conservancy presiin order to facilitate will restore the Everglades and south dent and CEO. Florida’s communities and restoration projects The contract and that hold, treat and financing option need environment,” -Andrew McElwaine, convey water from to receive legal approvConservancy president and CEO. Lake Okeechobee al but the acquisition into the Everglades. The 73,000 acres will should be finalized by early 2010. The Conbe purchased for $536 million, which will servancy will continue to support this acquibe borrowed and later repaid through the sition and advocate for restoration projects district’s future property tax revenue. Propthat help to meet the ecological and water erty taxes are not being increased to pay for resource goals for the southwest Florida the land. region and the Everglades.

Charlotte County’s New Mining Ordinances Give Public a Voice Charlotte County recently approved excavation and earthmoving ordinances and reinforced its commitment to ensure the public has a voice in future mining issues. For the past two years, Conservancy staff participated in a panel review of the ordinances and provided testimony on numerous occasions before the public hearing examiner. The Conservancy’s goal was to limit the impact to the surface and groundwater resources, wildlife and their habitat in Charlotte County and the region. In the end, the Board of County Commissioners adopted ordinances requiring a future land use map amendment and rezoning, prior to application for a mining or excavation permit. This will allow the public to comment at zoning and land use hearings prior to a decision about a permit. The ordinances also require a cumulative impact report to summarize potential impact of mining on the surrounding environment.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida


Saving Wetlands

More houses and golf courses still a possibility. For the past several years, the Conservancy has vigorously opposed the Mirasol development at the local, state and federal levels, based on the project’s proposed destruction of 586 acres of wetlands within the Cocohatchee Slough. This slough system begins near Lake Trafford and flows in a southwesterly direction, through the Corkscrew Swamp, connecting to the Cocohatchee River and emptying into the Wiggins Pass Estuary. Historically, the slough was more than 20 miles wide, but has been significantly narrowed due to development. While the developer of the Mirasol project gained project approval at the local level, federal litigation is still pending over a permit to allow residential and golf course development that will impact hundreds of acres of wetlands. A hearing before a federal judge is expected in July. The Conservancy and others presented testimony to the Collier Board of County Commissioners demonstrating that the county had the authority and the obligation to require the developer to avoid directly impacting these wetlands. This requirement is contained within the Growth Management Plan interim Watershed Management Plan regulations. “It was unfortunate that the majority of County Commissioners did not apply the wetland policy in making

their decision,” according to Nicole Ryan, Conservancy government relations manager.

Planning for Sustainability YOU can create Charlotte’s future.

More to Come The Conservancy and environmental partners, led by the National Wildlife Federation, now focus on a federal challenge against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ wetlands permit for Mirasol. We also will continue to work with Collier County to replace interim guidelines and implement an effective Watershed Management Plan. Developing the plan will provide for better decisionmaking and gives the county the opportunity to take a more active role in protection of watershed resources. “The Growth Management Plan currently requires the county to create a watershed plan,” said Nicole

Ryan, Conservancy Governmental Relations Manager. “It is important to understand that this effort is not just about stormwater conveyance or flood control. This is a holistic approach to planning, which incorporates appropriate land use decisions based not only on the impact of the project within its footprint, but also how activities at the site design level impact the watershed as a whole and the estuaries to which they are connected. These plans, if developed properly, will be a significant planning tool, along with providing a benefit for improvements in water quality and in decreasing stormwater runoff.”

For Action Alerts, updates on current environmental issues and what you can do to help, please visit

Charlotte County residents and others concerned about the region’s environment can get involved now in a community-based planning process that will guide the future of Charlotte County. Smart Charlotte 2050 will cover a vast range of topics from green construction to enhancing waterfronts as part of changes to the county’s comprehensive plan. According to the Smart Charlotte 2050 Web site, the process “will establish a blueprint for the future of the county and will provide an inclusive planning process that welcomes all residents, business owners and land owners.” Suggested changes to comprehensive plan are available for review online at and public comments are encouraged. Actively involved in Smart Charlotte 2050, the Conservancy has written comments and presented before the Local Planning Agency and the Board of County Commissioners. The Conservancy has focused on attempts to head off development expansion into rural eastern Charlotte County. Intense development will have a detrimental impact on Florida panther corridors and other natural resources if expansion is approved into the Urban Service Area. In addition to encouraging public comments in the planning process, the Conservancy is working with a coalition of other environmental organizations to ensure they are involved in shaping changes to the comprehensive plan as well. Visit for more updates on this issue.


Conservancy of Southwest Florida


All Politics are Local Conservancy staff brings local perspective to Capitol Hill.


n national River Action Day on Capitol Hill, Conservancy Natural Resource Policy Manager Jennifer Hecker accompanied two other Florida delegates from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and American Rivers in meeting with Senators Nelson and Martinez as well as Congress persons Wasserman-Schultz, Klein, Rooney, and Mack. On the agenda, three major pieces of pending legislation and an urgent ask for additional EPA staffing and resources to be directed towards providing additional federal oversight in Florida. By bringing local perspectives on the importance of wetland and water resource protection to our federal legislators, the Conservancy helps ensure that better policies are in place to promote sustainability and preserve our quality of life for generations to come.

Conservancy lobbying efforts included support for: • Sewage Right to Know Act (SB 937), a bill requiring monitoring and notification of public when a sewage spill occurs and a clean-up plan. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that over a million people get ill each year from swimming in contaminated waters as a result of sewage spills. This bill would provide long overdue protections for human health and safety and protection for aquatic organisms and environments.

• Clean Water Restoration Act (“CWRA”, SB877), a bill which would restore the Congressional intent to protect all wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Over half of Florida’s wetlands and headwaters are losing protection. This legislation would protect the waterbodies that: – support the base of our food chain, – provide base flows to our rivers and estuaries, and – cleanse and store stormwater and freshwater.

Conservancy’s Jennifer Hecker, American Rivers’ Laurie Kracum, and SCCF’s Rae Ann Wessel as Florida’s delegates.

Free Presentation! Water quality improvement tips. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida wants to send an expert to homeowners associations, civic or social groups to help residents learn about simple things they can do to protect the water in this region. For more information or to schedule the 30-minute program, call 239-403-4204 or email

Marco Island and Code Enforcement Culvert Cracks Down on Violations Culprits The City of Marco Island Code Enforcement Board has continued their proactive leadership to protect the City’s environmental resources. We applaud The Code Enforcement Board acted promptly regarding two recent code enforcement cases involving the Key Marco development. Located on Horr’s Island, which is situated between the village of Goodland and Marco Island, Key Marco is part of a 804 acre island containing unique and diverse natural habitats, Key Marco vegetation. including a mangrove fringe owned by the State of Florida and rare upland ecosystems. This mix of mangroves and unique upland plants is rare in Collier County. As part of the Deltona Settlement agreement, the Conservancy is responsible for enforcing the conservation easement that protects the 15 preserves located throughout the site. Any vegetation trimming within the preserves requires both a City of Marco Island permit and approval by the Conservancy, and all activities must be consistent with City Code and our conservation easement. Earlier this year, the city cited Key Marco for excessive vegetation trimming, much of which was done without a permit. The trimming and plant removal included clearing of groundcover plants, removal of limbs from large, healthy trees and the destruction of a black mangrove tree. This constitutes a violation of city code and also violates our conservation easement. In May, the Marco Island Code Enforcement Board found the Key Marco Community Association and their landscaper in violation of City Code. The vegetation removal constituted “irreparable and irreversible” damage, with fines imposed and mitigation required. “The Conservancy was very pleased by the outcome of the Marco Island Code Enforcement Board,” said Nicole Ryan, Conservancy governmental relations manager. “Its decision reinforces the irreplaceable value of this unique habitat and the absolute necessity to follow all applicable regulations. Looking forward, our hope is that future violations will not occur.” The homeowners have appealed the decision.


Science-based decision needed.

Over a year ago, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, in partnership with Lee County, persuaded the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to delay installation of the culverts proposed under Interstate 75 at Halfway Creek until a scientific study was undertaken. The study would determine if the culverts were necessary and the impacts to natural resources and neighboring communities. The study is nearing completion and the science indicates that proposed culverts would drain wetlands, diminish water supply, flood neighborhoods and degrade the water quality of the Estero River and Estero Bay. Regardless, a push continues to install them anyway. However, it is not fiscally or environmentally responsible to install the culverts, especially since they are not necessary. The installation would delay completion of the widening of I-75 and the cost of the culverts and downstream improvements that would have to be made is estimated at $15-20 million dollars. The Conservancy will continue to advocate that these financial resources go toward necessary and environmentally responsible water infrastructure improvements.

E n v i ro n m e n ta l S c i e n c e

Saving Sea Turtles

Where, Oh Where, Do Our Turtles Go?

In-water study underway.

Generous donors support satellite tracking. What happens once a nesting sea turtles leaves the shores of Keewaydin Island? The Conservancy of Southwest Florida will be able to find some answers to this question thanks to satellite tracking devices purchased with donations, making the 28th season of the Conservancy Sea Turtle Monitoring Program a special one. The satellite tags will help researchers investigate another aspect of the life history of the loggerheads that nest on Keewaydin Island each year. Project staff will be able to track female turtles after they leave the island and begin their migration through the Gulf of Mexico waters to foraging areas. Thanks to donations from Don & Ruth Campbell and John & Donna Hall and four generous donors to Magic Under the Mangroves Fund-a-Need, four female turtles who have nested on Keewaydin in the past will be outfitted with satellite tags. Researchers can track the turtles’ movements as data is transmitted to an Argos satellite each time the animal surfaces to breath. “Knowing where the turtles go when they leave the beach can be applied to conservation efforts beyond the Keewaydin nesting beach,” said David Addison, Conservancy science co-director and lead biologist. The Conservancy estimates that it has helped more than 250,000 sea turtle hatchlings since it began its work almost 30 years ago by patrolling beaches, tagging turtles, clearly marking nests and counting hatchlings. More satellite tags are needed to allow the Conservancy team to tag additional turtles. The tags cost $3,200 each. Donors will be able to track the turtle they sponsor online in the near future. For more information, or to make a donation, please call Christine Kruman, at 239-403-4206, or visit our website

Past Intern Still Involved

Another interesting twist of fate making the tracking possible is a donation of a refurbished satellite tag from Kate Mansfield. Kate was an intern on the Conservancy turtle project in 1994 and recently completed her PhD at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where she studied the movements of loggerhead turtles in Chesapeake Bay. She is now conducting post doctoral research at NOAA’s SE Fisheries Center in Miami and will be helping us get the satellite tags deployed over the next couple of weeks. The tag is from one used in her previous studies.

The Conservancy and Mote Marine Lab are joining forces for a special scientific study of sea turtles in Lee County to gather information needed to protect them. While loggerhead sea turtles capture our attention this time of year as they nest along Southwest Florida beaches, they aren’t the only marine turtles that swim through local waters. Kemp’s ridley and green turtles also occur in our waters, but relatively little is known about these species.

“The goal of the study is to learn more about marine turtles so we can more effectively protect them and their habitats,” Dr. Jeff Schmid, Conservancy environmental science research manager

The collaborative effort will involve an inwater survey and tagging study of juvenile turtles, primarily Kemp’s ridley in Pine Island Sound, San Carlos Bay, Estero Bay and adjacent Gulf waters. These near shore waters provide important foraging habitat for juvenile marine turtles. Scientists will survey the turtle populations one week a month by capturing the turtles in special netting. Among other data, scientists will record the numbers, sizes, growth, diet and movement of the marine turtles. Some turtles also will be taken to a Mote Marine field lab where scientists will conduct further studies of their food habits. All turtles will be returned to the same waters where they were captured.

Gators in the Glades

Western Everglades project team out at night.

The thought of taking a canoe trip through the Western Everglades at night in search of alligators can be a little daunting. But what might appear frightening to you was a great opportunity for Conservancy biologists who spent the month of May canoeing more than 60 miles of waterways to survey American alligators in the Picayune Strand State Forest, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. “I’m more frightened of driving across Alligator alley at night than I am canoeing through a pond full of alligators,” joked Ian Bartoszek, a Conservancy biologist coordinating the project with fellow Conservancy biologist Melinda Schuman. “We both have tremendous respect for these apex predators that have been here for millennia.” This project is part of the Conservancy’s continuing effort to provide baseline data on the species that will likely be affected by the anticipated hydrologic changes brought

about by restoration efforts. The new study started with the alligator survey in May. Schuman explains that alligators are the “ecological engineers” of wetland ecosystems, and how they manipulate the land can benefit many other creatures. “You don’t have the Everglades if you don’t have the American alligator,” Bartoszek added. During the dry season, alligators can dig out depressions or “gator holes” that hold water and therefore help countless wetland dependent creatures survive during periods of drought. Conservancy biologists are also collecting information on other species including macro invertebrates like crayfish, terrestrial insects, small freshwater fishes, and amphibians such as treefrogs. The purpose of the Western Everglades restoration is to correct mistakes made in the past and return historic hydrologic function to this ecosystem as much as possible, thereby enhancing the natural habitat and benefitting native wildlife that utilize the area.

“The goal of the study is to learn more about marine turtles so we can more effectively protect them and their habitats,” said Dr. Jeff Schmid, Conservancy environmental science research manager. “The data collected will help educate the public and improve existing strategies to manage and conserve marine turtles.” Dr. Schmid’s partner in the project is Dr. Tony Tucker, manager of Sea Turtle conservation and research at the Mote Marine Laboratory. The research is possible thanks to a grant from the Sea Turtle Grants Program, which is funded from the sale of Florida’s sea turtle license plate and administered by the Caribbean Conservation Corporation. Additionally, the study would not be possible without the generous donations of boats that were sold and proceeds were used to purchase a 24-foot “mullet skiff” boat to use as the research vessel for the study.


2 0 0 9 R e d S n o o k C h a r i t y F i s h i n g To u r n a m e n t

RedSnook Tournament Lures Concerned Anglers The 2009 RedSnook event is sponsored by M&I Bank. Tom Wagor, community bank president with M&I Bank, will serve as chairman of the event. Legendary angler Roland Martin cochairs the event. Sign up to compete in the 2009 RedSnook Catch and Release Tournament to help save south Florida fisheries. Other sponsors include Heatherwood Construction, Comcast, Naples Harbour Yacht Club, Amerivest Realty, Calusa Island Marina and LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort.

Conservancy jump starts Ten Thousand Islands fish study.

Everglades National Park, Ten Thousand Islands.


Top: Tom Wagor of M&I Bank is the 2009 RedSnook Chairman. Bottom: 2009 RedSnook Co-Chair, Roland Martin.

ver the last decades, the southwest cials understand how to conserve the existFlorida bays and the waters of the Ten ing estuary habitat and restore lost habitat. Thousand Islands have undergone Conservancy biologist, Dr. Jeff Schmid, will dramatic changes from human encroachment collect data and information on juvenile – including altered water flows. As the habitat game fish and their development within changes, the fish poputhe mangrove tidal creeks “Information on juvenile game lations change as well. and salt marshes of the Ten fish and their developmental What is the status of Thousand Islands. Comparithe snook, redfish and environment is needed to con- sons will be made among tarpon? What will the serve the remaining habitat of various testing sites regardfuture hold for sportthese economically-important ing habitat characteristics, fishing? water quality and seasonal species, and guide habitat occurrence, abundances, A study in 1973 identirestoration efforts.” fied tidal creeks of the size and classes of game and -Dr. Schmid, Conservancy Biologist Ten Thousand Islands as forage fish. a major nursery area for “The mangrove shoreline is juvenile snook, redfish and ladyfish. No one the principal developmental habitat for game has followed up on these findings in the past fish in southern Florida, but large portions 35 years. Losing our fish populations has dire of this vital habitat have been destroyed or consequences to sport fishing – and ultimately altered by coastal development,” Dr. Schmid to the economy of Florida. said. “Information on juvenile game fish and Funded by proceeds from the RedSnook their developmental environment is needed Tournament, scientific data gathered from to conserve the remaining habitat of these a Conservancy-led juvenile game fish study economically-important species to guide habwill help our leaders and government offi- itat restoration efforts.”

se a e l Re & t h n c t e a m C a n r 09 0 u 2 , o 4 T 2 r e 0 b 0 o 2 t 4 . Oc 3 0 ook n 4 s . d e 2 3 conse


E n v i r o n m e n t a l EDUCATION

Award Winning Eco-Camp Underway

Seahorses, barracudas and sharks make splash this summer. Kindergarten, elementary and middle school students are getting along swimmingly at the Conservancy “Swamp to Sea” Summer Eco-Camp. The award-winning day camp is filled with nature-inspired lessons and activities, and the Conservancy Environmental Education team is working hard to develop tomorrow’s nature enthusiasts and environmental advocates. Camps for sea horses (graduates of kindergarten) and barracudas (graduates of first and second grades) have already wrapped up, but camp is continuing for older students like the sharks (graduates of third and fourth grade), Keys Extreme and Extreme Camp (gradu-

ates of fifth through eighth grade). All camps include field trips exploring ecosystems from the swamp to the sea, hands-on discovery and live encounters with native wildlife including birds, reptiles and marine animals. “We really put an emphasis on having fun while interacting with nature,” Troy Frensley, Discovery Center & education manager said. “The kids who have finished camp have really enjoyed themselves and we are looking forward to the upcoming final weeks of the summer. It’s exciting to see the kids grow and develop their love of nature.” Visit

“Seahorse” campers exploring the touch tank in the Discovery Center and sightseeing on the Gordon river.

ask the

naturalist by Conservancy Naturalist Cecile Colarusso

Q: Are Coyotes native to Florida? The coyote (Canis latrans) of today looks somewhat like a dog, small wolf or large fox. A member of the dog family, its name means “barking dog.” Fossil evidence of a coyote ancestor in Florida dates back more than 2 million years. The range of coyotes has extended into the southeastern states but occurrences of coyotes have been reported countrywide. Coyotes should not be blamed for popping up where we do not expect them. Humans are directly responsible for the coyote’s proliferation. A combination of events including reintroduction of coyotes by humans for purposes of hunting, the systematic elimination of wolves and continued human encroachment have all led to frequent coyote sightings. Coyotes can be beneficial to Florida as a predator species. They control species of unwelcomed animals, such as feral hogs and cats that prey upon many species of native birds and reptiles. As with other predators, it is recommended that people store garbage away from access and keep pets indoors. When walking dogs, carrying pepper spray, waving arms, and yelling are all effective ways to scare coyotes away. Never intentionally feed a coyote. If you see a coyote you can call Florida Fish and Wildlife at: 561.625.5122 and click on “FAQs” at the View more questions and answers at top of the page.

William Mastandrea and Jared Wolff

Giving Back

Former campers join on as summer camp counselors. A select group of high school students have joined the camp staff as Counselors In Training (CITs). Each year high school students submit applications to join the Conservancy camp and learn what it takes to become a camp counselor. Many CITs are former campers who want to give back to the younger campers while gaining great experience that will help them with their future careers. “It has been wonderful to see the excitement of our CIT’s. We had many applications and eight high school students were selected to join our camp staff this year,” says Troy Frensley, Discovery Center and education manager.

Support a Deserving Child Camp scholarships needed.

Access to quality environmental education and Summer Eco-Camps remain a distant dream for many children in this region. You can play a leading role in removing the financial barriers that prevent kids from attending Summer Eco-Camp. Please help send a kid to camp by making a donation to the Summer Eco-Camp scholarship fund. For as little as $275 per scholarship, your generosity will help fund the next generation of naturalists. Contact Cheryl Latif at 239.262.0304, ext. 266 or email her at


W i l d l i f e R e h a b i l i tat i o n C e n t e r

Baby Bird A “Wild” Season for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Bonanza

Over 1102 animals treated through May.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida Fitzgerald-Vaught once again encourages Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic (WRC) has cat owners to keep their pets indoors. “Free been bustling with activroaming house cats and ity so far this year – espe- “While most injuries we see feral cats take a significant cially during the baby bird here are a result of some toll on native wildlife popseason. ulations. Fledgling songtype of human interaction birds and ground nesting “While most of the injuwith wildlife..., I’ve been mammals are particularly ries we see here are a very dismayed by the result of some type of vulnerable to domestic human interaction with number of baby birds we pet attacks. Free roaming wildlife, such as habihave received due to cat pets are subject to danger tat loss or injuries from from car strikes, various attacks.” cars, I’ve been very disdiseases and predator Joanna Fitzgerald Vaught mayed by the number attacks as well.” continued of baby birds we have Fitzgerald-Vaught. received due to cat attacks,” commented Joanna Fitzgerald-Vaught is also the Joanna Fitzgerald-Vaught, Conservancy author of a regular weekly WRC column in WRC Director. the Naples Daily News.

A nestling heron has to be hand fed every 30 minutes. The nest is inaccessible for staff to be able to return it to the parents

Improving the Odds of Survival In most cases people mean well when they find and attempt to rescue an injured or orphaned wild animal. One’s nurturing instincts kick in to try to save a small, helpless animal. But knowing the proper course of action to take by making a quick call to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic (WRC) will increase that animal’s chances for survival. The Conservancy WRC is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., 365 days a year. Our clinic wildlife team is licensed and trained to provide professional care to sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. If more people knew this, we could save more lives. For example, a woman who found a least tern in a parking lot in Golden Gate thought the Clinic was not open on Saturdays, so she kept the bird until Monday. Meaning well, she offered the baby bird seed and water, but that diet was inadequate --- the fledgling tern needed a diet of small fish and aquatic invertebrates. By the time the bird arrived at the clinic two days later, it was extremely weak and dehydrated and died during the night. This death was avoidable. If the baby was admitted to the clinic immediately, we could have helped it by making a quick phone call to the business where the nest was located – and returned the bird to the colony on the rooftop. In another instance, a woman found a baby bird being harassed by a blue jay. Since her kids wanted to care for the baby, the woman let two days pass before calling the clinic. The family did not know the baby needed a specific diet and required 26-30 feedings a day to stay healthy. When the bird was finally admitted, it was weak, unresponsive and unfortunately died later that afternoon.

Spread the Word hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. We do not take off weekends and holidays. As with all living creatures, the wildlife patients need to be fed and cared for every day. Call 262-CARE immediately when you find an injured, sick or orphaned animal. To learn more about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Wildlife Clinic, or to make a donation to this worthwhile


Volunteer Tim Thompson replaces two young osprey in an artificial nest situated 40’ up in a Norfolk Island Pine. Homeowners will monitor the nest to ensure the parents resume caring for the young birds.

Baby Bird Care:

Conservancy WRC operating

cause, please visit

Healthy songbird babies getting ready to be fed. Well meaning individuals thought they were orphaned and brought them to the Clinic. Baby songbirds should be rescued only if they have been injured, if they are on the ground and have almost no feathers, or if they are on the ground and are too weak to hop around.

WRC volunteer Tim Thompson prepares to re-nest an Eastern screech owl. Photos by Lisa Ostberg.

Fitzgerald Vaught outlines the proper steps to take if you find a healthy baby bird. “Most likely, the baby is fledging, the process in which a young bird leaves the nest, learns to fly, and builds strength by taking short, hopping flights,” said Fitzgerald Vaught. “The best thing to do is observe the baby from a distance. As long as the parents are tending to their young it is best to leave the baby alone. You can help the bird’s parents by keeping any pets that may harm the young birds indoors. The babies need to be fed constantly throughout the day and the parents are bestequipped to do that.”

Conservancy of Southwest Florida


Manager’s Note:

Excitement continues at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida! Our $33 Million Capital Campaign is well underway and construction has already begun with the filter marsh located in the back field. For information on how you can help please contact Rob Moher at 239403-4205 or via And please don’t forget to renew your membership as that supports our day-to-day operation. Over 225 volunteers and guests celebrated at the Volunteer Appreciate event at the Hilton on April 22. Volunteers were recognized Volunteer Manager for their years of service and lifetime hours served. Mary Witzke received a beautiful book by Clyde Butcher and framed Certificate of Appreciation for her lifetime commitment of 9,580 hours to the Conservancy. Some volunteer accomplishments over the past year included trip narrating on the Sweet Liberty, reactivating the Policy Corp, reopening Briggs Boardwalk tours, offering volunteer field trips, volunteers running the Dining for Wildlife project that raised $22,000, and to top it all off, volunteers served a total of 50,886 hours! With summer upon us, seasonal volunteers have migrated north and we are once again challenged with maintaining our programs at the Nature Center. Some areas, particularly the Nature Discovery Center, are currently in need of dedicated volunteers. I encourage you to continue sharing your time and talent with us and spread the word about volunteering to your family and friends. Volunteer applications are available on our website, I also encourage you to sign up to receive Action Alerts – it’s an easy way for you to support our Policy Department as they work to protect the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. See how easy it is by reviewing page 6. As always, thank you for all you do for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida!

Volunteer Connection At the April ground “planting” ceremony, I was honored to present a check to the Conservancy on behalf of the Volunteer Connection. The $5,000 initial donation to the Capital Campaign was funded through volunteer efforts at the voting polls throughout various years. As the Capital Campaign continues its momentum, the volunteers will become increasingly more involved. As the construction of the new Nature Center is taking place, we’ll each have a larger role to play to deliver excellent guest service. The Conservancy will be entering its final phase of the Campaign Connection President when volunteers are back in the fall. You’ll be brought up to date on the latest Campaign news and activities. The Conservancy is relying on us for additional support and with help spreading the word. I want to thank all the volunteers for their help over the past season and wish everybody a safe and happy summer.

New Connection Officers Ian Wright

has been selected as the new Volunteer Connection Vice-President.

Sue Smith

has been selected as the new Volunteer Connection Treasurer.

Sue Smith and Ian Wright

Volunteer Forum: Beginning in October, the Volunteer FORUM will be held the first Wednesday of the month (unless otherwise announced). It will be a morning of educational opportunities starting at 9:00AM with presentations by our education, policy and science departments, new business and initiatives and the Volunteer of the Month presentation. Please plan to join us on: Wednesday, October 7th Wednesday, November 4th


is a graduate of Brown, Harvard and George Washington Universities and worked as a consultant to industry and governments as a toxicological and environmental consultant. Judy joined the Conservancy and the volunteer team in December 2002. Her previous policy work is beneficial to the Conservancy, especially the Policy Corps. Additionally, she volunteers as a naturalist on the Good Fortune, assists with special events, and is an active Magic Under the Mangroves committee member. Judy Hushon has donated over 1,300 hours volunteering for the Conservancy.

APRIL 2009 Dr. Paul Rosofsky

is a graduate of Brooklyn College where he received his BS degree, and the University of Pittsburgh with a DMD in dentistry. Paul joined the Conservancy and the volunteer team in November 1999, where he can be found every Thursday morning captaining one of our electric boats and entertaining his audience. “I always wanted to be a docent and I had a love for conservation. Being involved in the Boat Program allowed me to do both.” Paul Rosofsky has donated 1,173 hours volunteering for the Conservancy.

MAY 2009 Michael Seef was

born in Israel and at the age of 10 moved with his family to Chicago. With dual degrees in engineering and economics from the University of Illinois, Michael earned his MS in Systems Engineering while working on the space program at McDonnell Douglas. During his career, Michael travelled internationally before founding his own logistics and distribution consulting firm. An assignment with a tomato grower brought him to Naples. Michael joined the Conservancy of Southwest Florida as a volunteer in 2003 “because I believed in contributing to the core mission of the Conservancy for preserving important ecological areas.” He is a guide at Clam Pass, works with the Horticulture Team, serves on the Policy Corps, is a substitute Dockmaster and has received two Master Naturalist certificates Michael Seef has donated over 1,220 hours volunteering for the Conservancy.


Protecting Southwest Florida’s unique natural environment and quality of life ... now and forever.

1450 Merrihue Drive Naples, Florida 34102

Help this little fellow beat the odds. Donate online today!

Conservancy Staff News Saving NEW Conservation Associates:

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Ignacio Flores, S. Illinois University, Carbondale Martina Suazo, Adams State College, Alamosa, CO

Environmental Education/ Summer Day Camp Chelsea Amaio, U. of New England, Bedford, ME

Steven Brown

A member of the policy team working on environmental issues in Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties, has accepted a position as a planning manager for Carbon County, Wyoming.

Geva Salerno has been promoted to Chief Program Officer and will be responsible for coordinating Conservancy education, policy, science and wildlife rehabilitation programs.

Kaycee Dortch, Maryville College, TN Natalie Keene-Krops, U. of Central Florida, Orlando

Environmental Policy

Eliza Davis, The Colorado College, CO

Environmental Science/ Sea Turtle Research Katie Hartwig, U. of Maine at Machias Erin Keene, U. of Miami, Coral Gables, FL Katrina Phillips, U. of Miami, FL Bethany Pierce, Suny Maritime College, Bronx, NY

Campus Update: Exciting things are happening! On August 1 the public access area to the Wildlife Pavilion and viewing areas will be closed to the public indefinitely as we create a new Wildlife Rehabilitation area and Clinic. From September 6 through 20, 2009 the entire Nature Center will be closed to the public since the primary entrance area to the Nature Store will be under construction.

Our Water

Schedule yours today. We offer a free 30 minute program for any group interested in protecting our water quality. Home owners associations, civic groups, community groups and others can invite the Conservancy of Southwest Florida to present the free program at your location by contacting the Outreach Hotline via phone 239.403.4204, or email

Interested in volunteering to help the Stormwater Management team? We could use you!

Summer 2009 UPDATE Newsletter  
Summer 2009 UPDATE Newsletter