Pure Florida presents Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island Saturday, May 14

Edison ExplorerPure Florida’s Fort Myers location will present an Eco-Cruise tour to Picnic Island on Saturday, May 14 from 8 – 11 a.m. The three-hour eco-adventure includes a narrated cruise along the Caloosahatchee River and a guided tour of Picnic Island, a natural, uninhabited island located between Sanibel and Pine Island.

During the Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island excursion, guests will have the opportunity to bask in the sunshine and experience the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. While discovering the island, explorers can enjoy leisurely walking amidst black and white mangroves, playing in sand, shelling and fishing. Visitors will also have the opportunity to observe wildlife native to the Caloosahatchee River and Picnic Island. While Pure Florida cannot guarantee animal sightings in the wild, potential wildlife sightings include dolphins, eagles, manatee, native birds and more.

Eco-Cruise tours are guided by Coast Guard-certified captains and master naturalists and highlight the history of the Caloosahatchee River and the accomplishments of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford during their time spent at the nearby Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. Registration for the tour is $44 per person, and the M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

The Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island is a popular attraction for voyagers of all ages. Guests are encouraged to bring bottled water and snacks aboard, soft drinks and alcohol are prohibited. Reservations are required. For more information or to book your ticket, call 239-919-2965, email FortMyers@PureFL.com or visit the website at www.PureFL.com. 

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Naples and Fort Myers, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters, group events and educational field trips for schools and students. In addition to Pure Florida, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Naples location at 239-263-4949 or its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965.

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.

Magic Under the Mangroves™ gala fundraiser set for March 3 at Conservancy of Southwest Florida

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida will host the 12th annual Magic Under the Mangroves™ gala dinner and auction fundraiser on Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center. Presented by Northern Trust, the Magic Under the Mangroves™ fundraiser is a recognition of the continuing importance of protecting the natural environment and quality of life in Southwest Florida, and 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.

“Magic Under the Mangroves™ has become one of the top charitable events in Southwest Florida, and is our largest fundraising event here at the Conservancy,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “This annual fundraising event does so much to support our proMagic Under the Mangrovesgrams that protect our water, land, wildlife and future for generations to come, and we are honored to receive the support from the Southwest Florida community.”

One of the largest fundraisers in Southwest Florida, Magic Under the Mangroves™ attracts hundreds of guests each year. The event will begin with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction and fund a need. Windows Catering, an award-winning green caterer, will provide a three-course dinner, which will be followed by a live auction.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s commitment to sustainable and green practices is incorporated into the event. For the third year, the eco-chic gala will utilize renewable resources and sustainable practices through the use of fabrics and materials, such as bamboo, sisal and potato starch. Additionally, energy-efficient lighting will be used, all possible materials recycled and use of paper promotional materials will be limited. The paper that is used is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified, a designation indicating that the forest products used are from responsibly harvested and verified sources, that the paper is at least 30 percent recycled content and that non-toxic soy inks are used.

William Boyajian of Port Royal Jewelers will serve as chairman for the upcoming event. “Magic Under the Mangroves™ is about protecting the things we love about Southwest Florida. When you love something it is your responsibility to protect it,” said William Boyajian, 2016 Magic Under the Mangroves™ Chairman. “Growing up in Naples, I truly appreciate this incredible home we all share. This is why I am so deeply committed to the Conservancy and Magic’s mission.”

In addition to the Presenting Sponsor, Northern Trust, the Magic Under the Mangroves™ Supporting Sponsors include AVMedia, Gulfshore Life, Florida Weekly, NBC-2 and the Naples Daily News. Patron-level supporters are invited to the Patron Party from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Keewaydin Club on Keewaydin Island.

For more information on Magic Under the Mangroves™ or to become a patron sponsor, 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, 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.

Pure Florida offers Eco-Cruise tour to Picnic Island July 18

Edison ExplorerPure Florida’s Fort Myers location is offering an Eco-Cruise tour to Picnic Island on Saturday, July 18, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. The narrated cruise will navigate the Caloosahatchee River and includes a walking tour of Picnic Island, a natural, uninhabited island located between Sanibel and Pine Island.

The Eco-Cruise to Picnic Island allows explorers to experience Southwest’s Florida natural environment while walking amongst black and white mangroves, playing in sand, shelling, fishing and enjoying the sun and water. During the 3.5 hour excursion, visitors will have the opportunity to view wildlife including dolphins, manatee, birds and other native animals and plants along the Caloosahatchee River and on Picnic Island.

Directed by Coast Guard-certified captains and master naturalists, the excursion includes the history of the Caloosahatchee River and the exploits of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, who spent many winters at the nearby Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. Registration for the tour is $39 per person, and the M/V Edison Explorer departs from The Marina at Edison Ford, located at 2360 W. First St. in Fort Myers.

The Eco-Cruise tour is suitable for explorers of all ages. Bottled water and light snacks will be provided and additional refreshments are available for purchase. Reservations are required. For more information or to book your ticket, call 239-919-2965, email info@PureFortMyers.com or visit the website at www.PureFortMyers.com. 

About Pure Florida

In 2009, father-and-son duo Captains Lance and Harry Julian acquired the Naples-based Double Sunshine cruises and Lady Brett fishing vessel, and have grown the company to include 19 vessels and two locations providing a variety of unique eco-excursions for its visitors that incorporate maritime history, tourism, sightseeing and entertainment. With locations in Fort Myers and Naples, the water attraction company offers sunset and specialty cruises as well as boat and Jet Ski rentals, fishing charters and group events. In addition to Pure Fort Myers and Pure Naples, the founders are also partners in Marine Team International and Pure Image Productions, providing professional marine consulting, television and video production and photography services. With a long history in maritime productions, Lance and Harry Julian have helped to create some of the most memorable water scenes in film production, with credits including “Titanic” and “Waterworld,” and television credits such as the reality show, “Survivor.” As the fifth and sixth generation working within the maritime industry, Lance and Harry Julian enjoy sharing their passion and expertise with fellow adventurers in the Southwest Florida area. For more information, visit www.PureFL.com or call its Fort Myers location at 239-919-2965 or its Naples location at 239-494-5595.