Conservancy of Southwest Florida announces summer programs

Parents looking for a fun and educational way for kids to spend time over the summer – consider the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is now offering new summer activities, including a Little Explorer pre-k programs, guided kayak tours, Junior Vet Lab, wildlife hospital exhibits and an environmental education lecture series.

Led by Conservancy representatives, guests will have the opportunity to come face-to-face with native reptiles, ocean cr
eatures, and occasionally catch a glimpse of rehabilitating wildlife. Daily Education Programs will begin from May 1 through Oct. 31 at 11 a.m. at the Wildlife Hospital Nursey Viewing Window.

Daily programs include:Photo 3

11 a.m. “Wildlife Hospital Nursery Viewing Window”

11:15 a.m. “Reptile Roundup”

12:15 p.m. “Wildlife Hospital Talk”

1:15 p.m. “Ocean Discoveries”

2 p.m. “Wildlife Hospital Nursery Viewing Window”

On the Water

Electric boat tours are also available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can enjoy a relaxing 45-minute ride on the mangrove lined Gordon River led by a Conservancy boat captain. Rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Boat Tours are included in price of admission to the Conservancy Nature Center, must be 2 years old to board electric boats.

In addition, kayak rentals for up to two hours, are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Take a guided tour of the Gordon River or head out on your own and discover the hidden treasures of this brackish water habitat, which provides a perfect sanctuary for many native Florida species and explore the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. Kayak rentals and guided tours, reservations required.

Visitors can go on a 2-hPhoto 2our kayak adventure with a Conservancy-trained guide where they will learn about the importance of the mangrove forest while spotting Florida wildlife. Tours will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. for $40 for members and $50 for non-members, reservations required.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida will also offer a guided Boat and Lunch tours of the Gordon River on Fridays in May through September. Tours will depart at noon aboard one of its famous electric boats and stop for lunch at Wahoo’s River Bar and Grill. After your meal, guests will cruise back to the Conservancy’s Nature Center where they can explore the Dalton Discovery Center, the Little Explorer Play Zone and wildlife hospital exhibits, reservations required.

Little Explorers

The Little Explorers Pre-K programs will be offered Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m.  Little Explorer Play Zone provides the youngest visitors, the opportunity to explore nature and discover amazing animals through multi-sensory, interactive activities, stories, and crafts. No registration required. Admission is free for members and included in admission for non-members. Little Explorer Play Zone is most enjoyed by children 5 and younger. Summer programs include:

May 12; 14: A Color of His OwnPhoto 1

May 26; 28: Salty the Sea Turtle

June 9; 11: Over in the Forest

June 23; 25: House for Hermit Crabs

July 14; 16: Small Green Snake

July 28; 30: Where Should Turtle Be?

Aug. 11; 13: The Little Lazy Lizard

Aug. 25: Commotion in the Ocean

Adult Speakers Series

Free to Conservancy members, “Evenings at the Conservancy,” the monthly environmental education lecture series will continue on select Tuesday evenings. The series features a wide variety of presenters, eco-programs, panel members from the Conservancy, and local and regional environmental experts. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the program starts at 6:30 p.m. Programs frequently sell out, please pre-register by emailing Sophia Navarra at sophian@conservancy.org or by calling 239-403-4207. Lecture topics include:

May 10: “Legislative Wrap Up” with Jennifer Hecker, Conservancy Director of Natural Resource Policy

June 14: “Invasive Reptiles in SWFL” featuring Ian Bartoszek, Conservancy biologist

July 12: “FWC Florida Manatee Research” with Denise Boyd, FWC Conservation Research Associate

Self-Guided Nature Center Tours

In addition to summer programs, the Conservancy Nature Center offers self-guided exploring. Visitors can explore the interactive Dalton Discovery Center, which features the wondrous ecosystems of Southwest Florida. They can discover live animals, get hands-on in the touch tank, and see Luna, the loggerhead sea turtle, in the 5,000-gallon aquarium.

The von Arx Wildlife Hospital treats more than 3,200 injured, sick and orphaned native animals each year. Discover threats facing our animals and injury prevention tips. Guided tours of the Wildlife Hospital Nursery Viewing Window are offered every day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Guests can walk through the hospital exhibits and check out a behind-the-scenes film, patient X-rays, animal artifacts, and the Jr. Vet Lab.Photo 4

The Junior Vet Lab is an interactive play space where children can learn how veterinarians care for animals, and the children can role-play with native animals (of the “stuffed” species). The Junior Vet Lab is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Nature Center’s Sapakie Family Classroom.

Special Celebration Days

May 7 will be Nature Cat Day, guests are encouraged to leave their inner house cat behind and explore the natural world, encounter animals, and enjoy interactive children’s activities based on the newest PBS Kids TV show “Nature Cat.”

On Friday May 19 and Saturday May 20 the Conservancy will celebrate Endangered Species Day to raise awareness about our must vulnerable species. There will be special activities throughout the day and special admission deals for Conservancy and Zoo members. Zoo members receive free admission to the Conservancy and Conservancy members get in free to the Zoo.

Summer at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida will include special celebration days with family-friendly activities to celebrate our water, land and wildlife.

World Turtle Day – May 23: Celebration activities May 23-29

World Oceans Day – June 6: Celebration activities June 6-11

World Snake Day – July 16: Celebration activities July 11-16

World Lizard Day – Aug. 15: Celebration activities Aug. 15-20

 Free Admission Days

Mother’s Day, May 5-7: Free admission for Mom when accompanied by a paying guest.

Memorial Day, May 26-28 and May 30: Free admission for current and retired military with valid ID.

Father’s Day, June 16-18: Free admission for Dad when accompanied by a paying guest.

Independence Day, June 30-July 2: Free admission for current and retired military with valid ID.

Labor Day, Sept. 1-3: Free admission for First Responders with valid ID.

All Conservancy Nature Center programs and events are online at www.Conservancy.org/Nature-Center. Membership is available online at www.Conservancy.org/Join. For information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and to make reservations, call 239-262-0304 or visit www.Conservancy.org. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is located at 1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Earth Day Festival draws 1,200

Approximately 1,200 people came out to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Earth Day Festival on April 16 to enjoy a day of fun and celebration oPhoto 7 - Bobka-Horatiof our water, land, wildlife and future. In addition to the variety of entertainment and activities available throughout the day, the event also featured a special naming announcement, declaring that the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s newest member, its loggerhead sea turtle, will be named Luna.

Presented in partnership with Community Foundation of Collier County, Naples Daily News and D’Latinos, the Conservancy’s largest community event of the year featured a variety of nearly 60 vendors and environmental exhibitors showcasing educational and entertaining family activities and experiences for guests to enjoy. Fun for all ages was featured throughout the event, including guest speakers, live music, live animal programs, unique exhibits, games, crafts,Photo 8 - Evan Vesely face painting and sand art. In addition to activities back by popular demand, the festival also offered many new activities, including Glen Beitman of “Super Science and Amazing Art,” an interactive edu-tainment show entitled Everglades Interactive, hands-on activities with Snapology Legos Presents “Nature’s Super Transformers,” live music from the Bug Tussle Ramblers, and a bounce house.

“This year’s Earth Day Festival was a huge success, and we really enjoyed sharing this fun and educational day with new faces, familiar friends and many Conservancy of Southwest members,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “Our annual festival provides a great opportunity for the Southwest Florida community to come together to celebrate our land, water and wildlife, and we enjoyed showcasing the many exciting features that nature has to offer, while instilling the importance of preserving its unique qualities and protecting its inhabitants to ensure that its natural beauty is upheld for generations to come.”Photo 6 - Gordon B. Eagle and Rob Moher

During this year’s event, the community had the opportunity to meet the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s new loggerhead sea turtle. The juvenile loggerhead joined the Conservancy of Southwest Florida on March 30, and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida reached out to the community to help name the new loggerhead. Visitors were able to submit their ideas in person at the Conservancy Nature Center between March 30 through April 10, and a committee of staff, interns and volunteers reviewed the submissions, selecting a name for the sea turtle, Luna.

Spanish for the word “moon,” the name Luna was suggested at the Conservancy’s Nature Center in light of the sea turtle hatchlings’ trek from land to sea. When sea turtles hatch, their instinct is to crawl towards the brightest light as they make their way from their nest to the ocean, and as sea turtles often hatch at night, many hatchlings find their way to the ocean by using the light reflected off the moon. Luna will serve as an ambassador for the loggerhead species within the Dalton Discovery Center at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, providing visitors a unique opportunity to learn Photo 4 - Geoff Kollender, Shelby Hoover and William Boyajianabout native sea turtle conservation.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida and partners celebrate volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 11-15

Photo 2 - Conservancy Volunteers

In honor of National Volunteer Week, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has partnered with Naples Botanical Garden and Naples Zoo to celebrate the many dedicated volunteers who share their time, talent and abilities to make a difference within the Southwest Florida community. Throughout National Volunteer Week, which takes place Monday, April 11 through Friday, April 15, volunteers at the three organizations will have the opportunity to visit each partnering organization’s facilities free of charge with the presentation of a volunteer name badge or special pass. Volunteers can visit the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the Naples Botanical Gardens and Naples Zoo Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Volunteers are essPhoto 4 - Dalton Discovery Centerential to supporting the day-to-day operations and programs at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Their dedication is vital in helping our organization raise awareness about the importance of protecting Southwest Flori
da’s unique natural environment and quality of life,” said Kelly Rhoades, volunteer and intern services manager for Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “We look forward to showing our appreciation for all of our volunteers’ hard work and to celebrate the impactful individuals who are making a difference in our community.”

Karl Williams, volunteer chair for Conservancy of Southwest Florida, expresses an ever-growing need for volunteers committed to protecting the land, water and wildlife in Southwest Florida.Photo 3 - Critter Couriers

“Many of our volunteers fill essential roles from caring for wildlife in the von Arx Wildlife Hospital to working as docents in the Dalton Discovery Center to serving as captains of our electric boat tours,” Williams said. “Tourist season may be over, but the work at the Conservancy must continue. We welcome new people with a passion for protecting this wonderful place we call home.”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, visit www.Conservancy.org/get-involved/volunteer. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education Photo 1 - Rob Moher with Kelly Rhoadesand wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida to host Earth Day Festival April 16

Earth Day 2015 Photo 1

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida invites Southwest Florida to join in celebrating our water, land, wildlife and future by hosting its annual Earth Day Festival on April 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Conservancy, located at 1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples.

“Our annual Earth Day Festival provides a fun for all ages and family-friendly atmosphere for our community to celebrate the Earth, while learning about the unique qualities of nature that make the world we live in so special,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “As our biggest community celebration of the year, we are pleased to have the opportunity to share our love for the Earth with people of all ages, and hope to instill our commitment to preserving its natural beauty within the minds of our guests as well.”

New ThEarth Day 2015 Photo 3is Year

The festival has many great new activities this year including Glen Beitman of “Super Science and Amazing Art” will also present an interactive edu-tainment show entitled Everglades Interactive at noon. Children will have the opportunity to participate in science experiments throughout the day in the Kids’ Zone.  Also new this year is h
ands-on activities with Snapology Legos Presents “Nature’s Super Transformers,” live music from the Bug Tussle Ramblers, and a bounce house. A special treat is meeting the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s newest member, its loggerhead sea turtle. The naming announcement will take place 11:30 a.m.

Back by Popular Demand

Along with new events, programs and shows, many special presentations will be featured throughout the day, including the Naples Zoo’s popular Earth Day 2015 Photo 2animal show with live animals, a reptile show, the “Wings of Wonder” live bird program, a special “Pythons in Paradise” presentation led by a Conservancy biologist and a children’s book reading of “Salty the Sea Turtle.” Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Gordon B. Eagle, the Conservancy mascot.

PreK Fun

For the youngest guests, the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’mon) will be hosting special family-friendly day-long activities. The Little Explorer Play Zone and Jr. Vet Lab will be open for play for children under six, and the Kids’ Zone will feature a variety of activities for children, including games, crafts, face painting and sand art.

Free Gifts

As a part of Earth Day festivities, the first 50 guests will receive a free Conservancy of Southwest Florida t-shirt. Guests who renew or become a Conservancy of Southwest Florida Member at the Earth Day Festival will receive a free gift.

Admission Prices and Sponsors

Offering a fun day of celebration for the whole family, admission to the eco-friendly event is $10 for adults, $5 for Earth Day 2015 Photo 5children and free for children under 2 years old. Admission is free for Conservancy of Southwest Florida members. For more information about the Earth Day Festival, call 239-430-2466 or visit www.Conservancy.org/EarthDay.

Presented in partnership with Community Foundation of Collier County, Naples Daily News and D’Latinos, the Conservancy’s largest community event of the year will feature a variety of vendors and environmental exhibitors showcasing educational and entertaining family activities and experiences for guests to enjoy. Guests are invited to play and learn while experiencing the many interactive exhibits, features and amenities offered at the Conservancy Nature Center, and can take electric boat rides from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with advanced registration, rent a kayak from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or take a stroll along a nature trail.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues Earth Day 2015 Photo 4impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida says farewell to resident loggerhead sea turtle, Betsy

Photo 8_1The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has said a final farewell to Betsy, the organization’s beloved female loggerhead, releasing the sea turtle near the Ten Thousand Islands on March 29. Betsy has served as an ambassador for the loggerhead species within the Dalton Discovery Center for two years, providing visitors a unique opportunity to learn about native sea turtle conservation.

Following Betsy’s release, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida will welcome a new juvenile loggerhead to its facilities on March 30. Conservancy of Southwest Florida visitors can help name the new loggerhead by submitting their ideas in person at the Conservancy Nature Center from March 30 through April 10. A committee of staff, interns and volunteers will review the submissions and select a name, which will be announced during the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Earth Day Festival on April 16.

Betsy hatched on July 31, 2013; her nest was originally found in Boca Raton, Florida. She was part of a gender study with Florida Atlantic University where which linked nest temperature to the gender of hatchlings. Her gender was determined while she was still in her egg, and was monitored in her egg before hatching. She was transferred tPhoto 6_2o the Conservancy of Southwest Florida until she was large enough to be released into the wild.

Betsy came to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in March 2014, weighing 1.07 pounds (486 grams) and measuring 14.1 centimeters in length. To be eligible for release into the wild, captive loggerhead sea turtles must have a carapace length of at least 45 centimeters. Recent measurements confirmed Betsy’s carapace length to be 45 centimeters, and she weighed 29.5 pounds. Conservancy biologists placed a flipper tag and a PIT tag on Betsy prior to her release. With these devices in place, biologists will be able to determine her origin and release location, should Betsy be found following release.

Betsy the loggerhead was named after the late Betsy Sandstrom, a long-time sea turtle advocate and volunteer for the Bonita Springs/Fort Myers Beach organization Turtle Time. Betsy passed away from cancer two years ago. Following the sea turtle’s arrival in 2014, the Conservancy launched a social media cont est to help give the loggerhead a name. Upon learning of the contest, one of Sandstrom’s friends suggested naming the turtle inPhoto 4_3 her honor. Before she passed away in 2014, Sandstrom had the opportunity to meet her namesake during an emotional introduction, surrounded by friends and family. Members of Sandstrom’s family returned to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for Betsy’s release to say a final farewell to the sea turtle.

“We are experiencing many emotions with Betsy’s release because this sea turtle’s story is one of great legacy. Named after such an inspiring individual, Betsy has gone on to accomplish great things at the Conservancy, helping us share her story and spread awareness about the loggerhead species,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “While sad to see her leave us, we are ecstatic to release her into the wild where she will continue to flourish. It has been a joy to watch Betsy progress over the past two years, and we look forward to welcoming a new baby loggerhead to our facilities.”

Loggerheads have a very low survival rate in the wild.  Only 1 in 1,000 sea turtles survives to adulthood. True to its mission of protecting Southwest Florida’s water, land and wildlife, the Conservancy began the Florida Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Program in 1982 on Keewaydin Island. Now, in its 34th year, the program has saved more than 265,000 loggerheads. For more information, visit www.conservancy.org/our-work/science/wildlife/loggerheads.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of SouthwePhoto 2_2st Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Fla., 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida earns three ADDY Awards at 2016 American Advertising Awards ceremonies for AdFed Suncoast

Magic Under the Mangroves - InvitationThe Conservancy of Southwest Florida was recognized with three ADDY Awards at the 2016 American Advertising Awards ceremonies for AdFed Suncoast. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s marketing team earned two gold ADDY Awards under the Sales & Marketing category for Special Event Material with the Magic Under the Mangroves™ invitation and campaign. The Conservancy’s marketing team also received a silver ADDY Award under the Online Interactive category with the Magic Under the Mangroves™ web banner, featured on the Conservancy of Southwest Florida website. The team includes Director of Communications and Marketing, Catherine Bergerson, Graphic Design and Production manager Kate Kintz and Marketing Coordinator Greg Willette.

Since 2008, Kintz has won 28 ADDY Awards for her exceptional design work for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Presented by the American Advertising Federation, the ADDY Awards are the industry’s largest and most representative competition, attracting more than 40,000 entries each year in local AFF Club competitions. The local Ad Club competitions are the first phase of a three-tier national competition.

About tMagic Under the Mangroves - Save the Datehe Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Fla., 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida reports on python research efforts, including removal of pythons totaling more than one ton

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In the last 90 days, Conservancy of Southwest Florida biologists and research partners have removed more than one ton of pythons from Collier County. Among the 43 snakes removed, was the largest male python on record in South Florida, weighing more than 140 pounds and measuring more than 16 feet in length, which was discovered in a rural area of Rookery Bay.

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Burmese pythons are cracking the code on the Southwest Florida habitat, learning how to survive and breed locally. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has partnered with scientists and land managers from Denison University, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), U.S. Geological Survey and Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area to study and address the ecological problem of pythons in Southwest Florida by locating pythons in the wild, working with public and private land owners where the pythons have been discovered, and removing the invasive species.

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The good work of Captain Kirkland, a captured male python, is credited for the recent discovery and removal of pythons in Collier County, made possible through the use of radio tagging. Captain Kirkland, a relatively small, nine-foot python, was radio tagged and released to rural parts of Collier County, where he was soon tracked to a large batch of both male and female pythons. Tracking efforts are led in partnership with Dr. Jeffrey Noble of Saint Francis Animal Hospital, responsible for surgically implanting radio tags within captured pythons that are then released into the wild. A total of 15 adult pythons are currently under surveillance by radio tag, leading researchers to more pythons, and enabling the team gain a better understanding of their movement patterns.

“The ecological impact of removing so many adult pythons from a relatively small area of Collier County can only be positive for our native wildlife,” said Ian Bartoszek, biologist for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “We need to utilize all tools available and develop additional techniques to capture and remove Burmese pythons in Florida.”

????????????????????????????????????Activities encompassed through the research team’s project includes foot and road surveys to better understand the range of pythons in Southwest Florida; outreach efforts to educate land owners and land managers about pythons; mailings and billboard postings to raise awareness and gain information; removal of pythons across Southwest Florida; necropsies of collected pythons to obtain information about diet and reproductive activity; tracking pythons through radio telemetry to learn ecological habits; using radio-tagged pythons to find untagged pythons; and construction and testing of trapping methods.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and partners hope that ongoing research will help the team create a management strategy based on the extensive data being collected, including density of python population within certain areas, the distance they move and the changes within their range of movement.

To report an invasive species sighting, the public is asked to call 1-888-IVE-GOT1 or report via the “IveGot1” mobile app. For more information, visit www.conservancy.org.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

See the sea turtles: Conservancy of Southwest Florida offers last chance to see Turtles on the Town loggerhead sculptures and the real resident loggerhead, Betsy

Photo 5 - daisy chain by christi vadnais

Photo 1 - Off like a heard of turtles by marjorie pesekFor two weeks, 15 of the Turtles on the Town sculptures are on display at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center, now through March 23. In addition to the final opportunity to view the sculptures, now is the final chance to give the turtles permanent homes in the community. The community is urged to support this project by bidding in the online auction, open now through 7:30 p.m. on March 23, 2016. Click here to access the auction catalog, register and start bidding.

No place for a turtle at your home? Please consider bidding on a turtle to be donated to a local nonprofit or public space. The Conservancy will work with interested bidders to find a suitable home.

PicMonkey Collage

Learn more about Turtles on the Town, a community arts and education project benefitting the Community Foundation of Collier County, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the United Arts Council at www.turtlesonthetown.com.

Say Goodbye to Betsy 

While visiting the Turtles on the Town exhibit, guests can say goodbye to Betsy, the Conservancy’s beloved loggerhead turtle. Betsy has grown up, and is now large enough to be released into the wild. As soon as conditions are right, she will be released into the Ten Thousand Islands.

Photo 6 - Betsy, the Conservancy's resident loggerhead

See her one last time in the Dalton Discovery Center at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center before she is off to start her new life. Learn more about Betsy the loggerhead and the amazing story about how she got her name at www.conservancy.org/nature-center/dalton-discovery-center/betsy-sandstrom.

 

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Fla., 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Magic Under the Mangroves™ raises $1.2 million to benefit the Conservancy of Southwest Florida

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The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s 12th annual Magic Under the Mangroves™ gala dinner and auction fundraiser raised $1.2 million to benefit the organization. Presented by Northern Trust, Magic Under the Mangroves™ recognizes the continuing importance of protecting the natural environment and quality of life in Southwest Florida, and the event is a key source of revenue for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. All proceeds from the fundraiser support the Conservancy’s mission to protect our water, land, wildlife and future.

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“As one of the top charitable events in Southwest Florida, and our largest annual fundraiser at the Conservancy, Magic Under the Mangroves™ is an important part of funding the work we do daily to protect Southwest Florida’s natural resources,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “The funds raised from this event will allow us to continue the influential work of our biologists, policy advocates, education team and wildlife rehabilitation staff, allowing us to make a difference in Southwest Florida for years to come. We extend our sincerest thanks to all who joined us in making this year’s event such a success.”

One of the highlights of the evening was an exceptional video experience. Calling attention to the majesty of the environment, the video emphasized that the natural beauty of our beaches, estuaries and the Everglades are not to be taken for granted. The video also portrayed the unique qualities of the Conservancy, noting how the organization’s initiatives impact the local environment and benefit its inhabitants.

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The visionary of this immersive journey through Southwest Florida’s natural treasures was Conservancy supporter and board member, William Boyajian of Port Royal Jewelers, who served as chairman for the 2016 Magic Under the Mangroves™ event.

“When you love something, it is your responsibility to protect it, and I am passionate about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Magic Under the Mangroves™ because I believe that it is up to us to care for the world we live in,” Boyajian said. “Magic Under the Mangroves™ is all about protecting what we love about Southwest Florida, and this video demonstrates all that is at stake, and why we should be investing in the future of our community.”

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“We have all been touched in some way by the power of nature, and we recognize the deeper value in preserving the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. Our home is truly like no other, and Magic Under the Mangroves™ does so much to protect our water, land, wildlife and future,” said Ken Krier, board chair of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s board of directors. “We believe that there is no better way to ensure the success of our mission, than to get people excited about what we do, and we are honored to receive such passionate support from our Southwest Florida community.”

In addition to Northern Trust as the presenting sponsor, supporting sponsors of the Magic Under the Mangroves™ event include AVMedia, Gulfshore Life, Florida Weekly, NBC-2 and the Naples Daily News.

For more information on Magic Under the Mangroves™, call 239-403-4218 or visit www.conservancy.org/events/magic-under-the-mangroves.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Fla., 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida welcomes Karl Williams as Chairman of volunteers

Karl Williams

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has appointed long-time volunteer and retired business executive Karl Williams to lead its volunteer services division, leading the more than 600 volunteers that support the mission and operations of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

A retired General Electric executive, Williams relocated to Naples, Florida in 2008.  During his 35-year career at GE, he was involved in all aspects of product development in their aerospace, telecommunications and electrical distribution businesses. Before retiring, he was the Technology General Manager for Industrial Systems leading a global product development organization with design centers in the U.S., Europe, India and China. His education includes a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from Syracuse University. He is also a graduate of the Edison Engineering program and several management courses at GE.

Williams is currently a Managing Member for O3 Hygienics, a start-up company that develops and sells ozone generators used for water/ice purification, food processing and laundry cleaning applications.

“I tried retirement, but just playing golf just wasn’t fulfilling for me,” said Williams. “At the Conservancy, they’ve really allowed me to use my for-profit business experience and to work collaboratively with staff and management to provide operational review and recommendations.”

For example, Williams was integral in the creation of a business plan for facility rentals and brings organizational structure to the volunteer program.

“Most importantly, working at the Conservancy allows me to play an integral role in educating members and guests about Florida’s environment and encouraging others to get involved,” said Williams. “I worry about the next generation and want to see my children and grandchildren enjoy and appreciate the natural environment that we enjoy today in Southwest Florida.”

Since 2009, Williams has donated more than 1,300 hours as a volunteer for the Conservancy. In addition to serving as Chairman of volunteers, he is vice-chair of the Conservancy’s Marketing Committee and is an active volunteer for outreach presentations.

“With his vast experience in the business world, Karl brings a wealth of knowledge and leadership to the Conservancy,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO, Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “In addition to providing hands-on operational leadership and consultation, he is an exceptional volunteer that goes above and beyond for the organization. He is passionate about supporting the mission of the Conservancy and we are fortunate to have him on our leadership team.”

In addition to his role at the Conservancy, his volunteer activities included positions on the Institute of Electrical Engineers Syracuse Chapter Executive Committee, GE Elfun Society volunteer activities, Virginia Region 2000 Strategic Planning Committee, Junior Achievement, and the GE Women’s Network, where he served as a mentor. Since retiring, Williams has become a volunteer with SCORE Naples, mentoring entrepreneurs to help local small business grow and succeed. He led the local SCORE Chapter from 2013-2015. He is also the Board President for the Naples Players and on the Board of Directors for the International Men’s Club of America.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida invites new volunteers to join the organization and help protect our region’s water, land, wildlife and future. Learn more about becoming a Conservancy Volunteer at www.conservancy.org/get-involved/volunteer.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit environmental protection organization with a 50 year history focused on the issues impacting the water, land wildlife and future of Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, world-class Nature Center and von Arx Wildlife Hospital are headquartered in Naples, Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road. Learn more about the Conservancy’s work and how to support the quality of life in Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org.