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2 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 1
hopeful about our future
Spectacular beaches, seemingly abundant wildlife, sanctuaries
among ancient forests, and calm inlets promising another day of
outstanding fishing…. We all recognize that indeed, we are fortunate
to live in a very special place here in Southwest Florida. Yet, looking
to our friends on the East Coast of Florida, we see that taking this
beauty and richness for granted would be a mistake. When one com-
pares congested cities, sprawling landscapes of strip malls, polluted
waterways and high-rise development that seem to extend right to
the high tide mark, we see that there is another possibility for life in
Florida – a vision that thankfully our founders foresaw and took early
steps 50 years ago to realize.
As residents in Southwest Florida, we enjoy a network of protected
spaces including city, county, state and national protected areas. We
have seen forms of development that blend the integration of impor-
tant ecosystems such as the expansive mangroves within Pelican
Bay. We see the restoration of the Western Everglades taking place
right here in Collier County, moving from concept to reality. We can
enjoy vast wilderness areas such as Rookery Bay National Estuarine
Research Reserve. Clearly, we have gotten much of our balance
between a growing community with high quality of life and
conservation of our natural resources right.
And yet, the story does not end there. Today we face unprecedented
challenges. Renewed pressure on growth and development must be
examined within context of the natural systems that support our qual-
ity of life. We cannot build communities which transect vital panther
and other wildlife corridors, or propose rock and sand mining close to
or in vital water recharge zones. Pollution and the vast quantities of
nutrients being directed to our watersheds and rivers threaten funda-
mental elements of our economy and environment.
We invite you to become informed, inspired and involved in the
conservation of our natural resources and in securing a sustainable
future and high quality of life. Come and visit our recently renovated
Nature Center where you can come face to face with native wildlife,
take an electric boat ride and explore a natural oasis in the middle of
Naples. The future is truly in our hands. It is a hopeful future, and we
invite you join us in shaping it… for the benefit of all.
“We invite you to join us in
our efforts to protect this
extraordinary place - and the
quality of life of generations
1495 Smith Preserve Way
Naples, FL 34102
Conservancy Summer Campers
Robert J. Moher
Conservancy President & CEO
50 years shaping our future | 3
The Town that Put Up the Fight
of its Life for its Wildlife
Conservancy of Southwest Florida through the decades
Together we can save our native animals from the brink of extinction.
Protecting Rookery Bay was the first accomplishment of
the fledgling Conservancy of Southwest Florida in 1964.
SPECIAL THANk YOU
Board of Directors
Pelican Bay & Clam Pass
Water Water Everywhere
Legacy of leadership
Voices of support
A “Magical” 10 years
Share the vision
2 | 50 years celebrating our past
Graphic & Production Manager
Social Media & Marketing Coordinator
Please send feedback to email@example.com
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, FL 34102
This publication was generously underwritten by the
Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Foundation
4 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 5
through the decades
The Town that
Put Up the Fight
of its Life for its
One of those proposed roads was an extension to what is now Bayshore Drive, slated
to run through the heart of Rookery Bay. The proposed 10-mile extension would de-
stroy mangroves and invade barrier islands.
Several concerned citizens rallied on the porch of Lester Norris’s Keewaydin Club and
planned their strategy to stop “the road to nowhere.” The grassroots campaign took
shape to raise money to purchase the lands needed to permanently protect Rookery
Bay - and the Collier County Conservancy was born.
Conservancy member Charles Draper, left,
and Mr. and Mrs. Lester Norris study map
of the proposed Rookery Bay Sanctuary.
Conservancy signing to purchase the first 1,600 acres in the proposed Rookery
Bay Sanctuary. Glenn Parker, Glenn Allen, Addison Wood, Doug Hendry, Archie
Turner and Lester Norris.
This ad appeared in an issue of the Collier
County News (now Naples Daily News) to launch
Rookery Bay fundraiser.
The newly-renovated Conservancy Nature
Center is a showcase for environmental
education in the southeastern United States.
Julius Fleischmann’s 15-room beachfront estate
was cut into five sections and eventually
became the Big Cypress Nature Center.
The Diversification Years
Growing Into the Future
In the 1960s, Naples waterfronts were undergoing big
changes. Developers were dredging canals and filling
wetlands to carve out new communities and build new
roads from Marco Island to North Naples.
The Expansion Years The Challenging Years
The Conservancy, under the leader-
ship of Willard Merrihue, kicked off the
decade with an ambitious campaign
to raise $600,000 for land acquisition
to permanently protect the perimeter
of Rookery Bay. The goal was reached
within three months. The Conservancy
expanded its work from primarily a
land acquisition organization to include
environmental research, setting the
stage for science-based conservation
decisions. The Conservancy conducted
and released its landmark three-year
Naples Bay water quality study, the
baseline for all future water quality
studies. The Conservancy merged with
the Big Cypress Nature Preserve, which
also operated a small clinic for native
Conservancy of Southwest Florida contin-
ues to promote preservation and protection
for the region’s waterways and lands. The
organization helped rally voter support
for land acquisition – programs such as
Conservation Collier, Lee County’s 20/20
program and Conservation Charlotte. Nutri-
ent pollution and the water quality of our
estuaries pose a particular focus to Con-
servancy work. Thanks to contributions,
the Conservancy completed a $38.8 million
campaign, supporting additional conserva-
tion work and the opening of a renovated
21-acre Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital.
While the past 50 years are behind us, this
is only the beginning, and we will continue
to count on your support for the future.
1981 launched the sea turtle monitoring
and protection program on Keeway-
din Island, one of the longest-running
sea turtle projects in the country. The
Conservancy also opened the 17-acre
Naples Nature Center, officially launch-
ing its foray into environmental educa-
tion. The organization helped prevent
the wholesale destruction of wetlands
via the “dredge and fill” method on the
coastlines. One such fight was with the
Deltona Corporation, which was mak-
ing plans to develop waterfront home
sites on the southeast boundary of the
Rookery Bay Sanctuary. Along with
support from other environmental al-
lies, the case made it all the way to the
Southwest Florida’s exploding population
growth was the second highest in the
United States, and Naples boasted one of
the hottest housing markets in the coun-
try. Gated communities were wiping out
thousands of acres of farms, wetlands
and forests. Conservancy of Southwest
Florida partnered with other organiza-
tions to accelerate advocacy, science and
conservation efforts to curb the destruc-
tion. The organization helped secure the
State land purchase of 37,000 acres in
Southern Golden Gate Estates, curbed
dredging that would have destroyed
more shoreline and mangroves in Ham-
ilton Harbor, and preserved over 17,000
acres for Western Everglades restoration.
The Conservancy, Inc. became Conser-
vancy of Southwest Florida, reflecting its
expanding regional focus.
1970s 1980s 1990s
50 years shaping our future | 7
Living waters. A respite
to over 150 species of
birds, marine life and other
Located at the northern tip of the Ten Thousand Islands,
Rookery Bay is one of the few remaining undisturbed man-
grove estuaries in the country, with over 110,000 acres of open
water, interconnected bays, mangrove wetlands, lagoons and
streams. Rookery Bay almost wasn’t - had it not been for the
quick action of a group of concerned citizens.
Protecting Rookery Bay was the first accomplishment of the
fledgling Conservancy of Southwest Florida in 1964. A new
road was planned as an extension of what is now Bayshore
Drive, slated to run through the heart of Rookery Bay. The 10-
mile extension would invade mangroves and barrier islands.
Despite opposition from developers, a few concerned citizens
put together a plan on the porch of Lester Norris’ home on
Keewaydin Island, formed the Collier County Conservancy and
purchased land to save the estuary.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida worked with other
partner organizations on the Deltona Settlement that literally
changed the landscape of Collier County. Finalized in 1982,
Manatees, dolphins, a variety of wading birds and mangrove forests are just a small part of the Rookery Bay experience.
photograph by Dennis Goodman “If we invest in
will invest in us.””
– Fabien Cousteau, Ocean Explorer
Conservancy of SWFL President Charles Draper (left) participates in handing
over the deed to Rookery Bay lands to Herbert Mills, vice president of the
National Audubon Society (right) from Huey Johnson, executive director of The
Nature Conservancy in D.C.
Private charters are also available for Good Fortune II cruises through
the settlement prevented the unchecked development by the
Deltona Corporation of thousands of acres of environmentally
sensitive areas, south of Naples and surrounding Marco Island.
Had it not been for this agreement, this coastal land, which
includes part of the current Rookery Bay National Estuarine
Research Reserve, may have been dredged, filled, and covered
with residences and high-rises.
The Conservancy was granted oversight to monitor plans within
the development areas to ensure that the standards agreed upon
in the Deltona Settlement were enforced. The organization also
conducts various research projects in and around Rookery Bay,
including sea turtle research on Keewaydin Island. Guided Good
Fortune II pontoon boat tours, run by the Conservancy, provide
some of the most spectacular viewing of the area’s mangrove
forests, eagles, roosting birds and even dolphins.
Your support can help the Conservancy protect this
natural, unspoiled corner of Collier County so residents
and visitors can continue to enjoy it into the future.
6 | 50 years celebrating our past
8 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 9
and Clam Pass
Concerned residents and experts work
together to provide solutions.
Mangroves live life on the edge and provide a variety of natural
“services” to wildlife and people. In addition to sheltering us
from storms, mangroves provide valuable nutrients to support
local food webs and provide habitat and shelter for a variety of
life. In Florida, almost 200 species of birds, along with numer-
ous species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and insects rely
on mangrove habitat. Approximately 75 percent of commer-
cially caught local fish and prawns, at some point in their lives,
utilize mangrove systems.
In 1982, following negotiations between WCI and Conservancy
of Southwest Florida, Pelican Bay gave Collier County 570
acres of beaches, mangroves and open water. That area now
includes the Clam Bay Natural Resources Protection Area and
Clam Pass Park, which the public now enjoys. Conservancy vol-
unteers conduct free nature walks for thousands of residents
and visitors each year at Clam Pass Park – exploring some of
the most diverse flora and fauna in Southwest Florida!
While care was taken to protect the mangrove-rich area, by 1991,
approximately 14 acres of black mangroves died. By 1995, a
massive die-off of black mangroves (49 acres adjacent to the
original 1991 dieback), had extended along the western shore of
Upper Clam Bay. Pelican Bay residents, Conservancy of South-
west Florida, Collier County and WCI Communities banded
together to find a solution and ultimately helped restore the
To this day, Conservancy of Southwest Florida continues to
work with Pelican Bay residents and Collier County to advise
on mangrove protection and restoration, as well as providing
guidance on dredging in Clam Pass. While natural changes
to Clam Pass from shifting currents, wind, waves and storms
contribute to the Pass filling in, the Conservancy advises utiliz-
ing the “Three L’s:” dredge the least amount of sand, the least
number of times, for the least cost, and only when the water ex-
change between the Gulf and the Clam Bay system is reduced
to the point where the health of Clam Bay waterways and the
mangrove forest are at risk.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida volunteers offer complimentary
nature walks at Clam Pass – the boardwalk and beach.
Research at work
Conservancy Science Director Kathy Worley has been involved in mangrove
protection throughout Southwest Florida.
In 2013, local residents and visitors banded together to try to restore healthy
water flows into Clam Pass.
photograph by Dennis goodman
“At the intersection of land and sea,
mangrove forests support a wealth of life
and may be more important to the health
of the planet than we ever realized.”
– Kennedy Warne, National Geographic Magazine
The changing sands, and the ebb and flow of water
into the mangroves forests, will require monitoring
well into the future. You can trust that Conservancy of
Southwest Florida is equipped to do the job - with your
10 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 11
Everglades protection and Restoration
A wild world unlike any other.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida has had a deep com-
mitment to the Western Everglades and its protection and
Beginning in 1974, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, part-
nering with many other organizations, supported the federal
government purchase of the 570,000-acre Big Cypress
National Preserve on the western fringes of the Everglades.
A little further to the west, in the Big Cypress Swamp, two
former hair tonic salesman, Julius and Leonard Rosen,
were caught up in the Florida land speculation fever and
carved out roads and canals in the area known as Golden
Gate Estates. Their company, Gulf American Corporation,
also developed a project along U.S. 41 known as Southern
Golden Gate Estates – an area 80-percent underwater! Af-
ter their fraudulent land schemes failed, the State of Florida
ultimately added Southern Golden Gate Estates to its land
acquisition list in 1985.
That land acquisition process involved the identification of
17,000 landowners – a process that was originally expected
to last 10 years. In 1991, the Conservancy of Southwest
Florida started the initial round of offers and finished just
two-and-a-half years later. The area purchased from those
landowners is now part of the Picayune State Forest..
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
continues its important work in Picayune
Strand and the Western Everglades.
The environmental policy team continues to advocate for
funds to assist in Everglades restoration and continually en-
courages the purchase of additional land parcels for water
storage to provide drinking water supplies for all southern
Dalton Discovery Center Everglades Gallery
The Everglades Gallery features some of the creatures found in the swamp,
along with the work conducted by the Conservancy.
photograph by Dennis Goodman
“There are no other
Everglades in the world.”
– Marjory Stoneman Douglas, “Mother of the Everglades”
Conservancy scientists remain actively involved in conduct-
ing baseline studies and research of various Everglades
“residents” – including fish, alligators, the elusive Everglades
mink and even ants! This work will help assess if the resto-
ration, when completed, is a success.
The Everglades is a major focus for our environmental edu-
cation programs delivered to local residents and students.
The Dalton Discovery Center includes an Everglades exhibit
with live baby alligators.
The von Arx Wildlife Hospital team treats hundred of ani-
mals from the Everglades each year.
The outlook for the Everglades is hopeful, but it will
require ongoing attention. Your support will help
ensure that our work continues so future generations
of people and wildlife can experience this remarkable
Picayune Strand, formerly home of the Southern Golden Gate Estates land
fraud schemes, was one of the first areas slated for restoration in the Western
12 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 13
WATER WATER Everywhere
Water is the lifeblood of Florida – for people, nature and the economy.
Southwest Florida is blessed with many
natural freshwater areas – beautiful rivers,
purifying wetlands, meandering streams
and sparkling lakes. Our very existence
depends on freshwater - for everyday
consumption, commerce, recreation, nature
and the overall economic vitality of the
Yet, since the 1900s, swamps and low-lying
areas have been drained to increase the
amount of land available to development.
Wetlands bordering bays, lakes and rivers
were filled in to create more land. These
combined actions changed the natural
flow of water in the environment and was
disastrous to the natural balance.
The Caloosahatchee River is sacrificed as
a conduit for the polluted waters held in
Lake Okeechobee. That nutrient pollution
is responsible for the toxic green algae
slime that has closed beaches and water
treatment plants, put human health at risk,
devastated native fish and wildlife and
severely impacted our tourist industry.
Members and donors concerned about
the state of our water continue to provide
resources so the Conservancy of South-
west Florida teams can tackle the issues
surrounding this most precious resource.
From the landmark water quality study of
Naples Bay in 1974, to the creation of the
Shotwell Wavering Family filter marsh at
the Conservancy Nature Center in 2012,
the Conservancy, working with partner
organizations, remains committed to our
water. Developing fertilizer controls with lo-
cal communities, creating “Estuaries Report
Card” evaluations, traveling to Washington
to visit with lawmakers and continuing wa-
ter quality monitoring are all tools available
to the Conservancy.
Floridians deserve clean and abundant water. The chal-
lenges are many. The threats to Southwest Florida’s water
resources are ever-changing and becoming more complex.
Your ongoing support will keep us at the forefront to en-
sure our waters remain for future generations.
Future Environmental Leaders
Conservancy summer campers collect
water samples from the Shotwell
Wavering Filter Marsh that they will use for
Caloosahatchee in Crisis The polluted water released from Lake
Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River plagues our beaches and
threatens our greatest economic engine – tourism.
Mangrove Restoration Conservancy biologists working to assess the
progress of restoring dying mangroves near Goodland.
Capitol Hill Rally Floridians rally outside the U.S. Capitol Building after a
Congressional hearing about the economic and environmental ripple effects of
polluted Lake Okeechobee water releases.
photograph by Dennis Goodman
“Water is the soul of
– W.H. Auden, Twentieth Century Poet
14 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 15
Wildlife research, protection and rehabilitation
Wild Thingsphotograph by Dennis Goodman
Southwest Florida hosts an amazing array of habitats, and
along with it, an incredible population of diverse animal
species. Unfortunately, more than 50 species of Florida’s
wildlife are teetering on the brink of extinction.
Our wildlife is losing habitat and becoming more vulner-
able to Southwest Florida’s human population. In recent
decades, Florida’s massive population growth and boom-
ing tourism industry have disturbed and fragmented many
natural areas across the state – and with it, valuable wildlife
habitat. However, we can be part of the solution as well.
From saving the “inhabitants” of Rookery Bay in 1964, to
providing a temporary home for loggerhead sea turtles in
the Dalton Discovery Center, the combined forces of the
Conservancy of Southwest Florida policy, science and edu-
cation teams – as well as the work of our wildlife rehabilita-
tion specialists – help to make Southwest Florida a better
place for wildlife.
Thousands of animals show up at the doorsteps of the von
Arx Wildlife hospital each year. Conservancy biologists
conduct important research on sea turtles, Florida panthers,
gopher tortoises, native and visiting birds, frogs – even the
endangered Everglades mink. The policy team works with
decision makers to protect valuable wildlife habitat and
direct development into less environmentally-sensitive
areas. The education team works tirelessly to teach the
future generation of environmental leaders the importance
of protecting our wildlife.
With thousands of acres still potentially slated for de-
velopment in Southwest Florida, the fight to save our
wildlife has really just begun. Working together with
your support, we can help save our wildlife and still
support responsible development - just as we have
Sea Turtle Monitoring Program Conservancy Science Senior Biologist
Dave Addison inspecting sea turtle nests on Keewaydin Island.
Wildlife education Conservancy Naturalist and Aquarist Whitney Swain handling
a Burmese python to teach the public about invasive species in Southwest
Florida and the impacts they can have on a delicate ecosystem.
Together we can save our native
animals from the brink of extinction.
“For if one link in nature’s chain might
be lost, another might be lost, until the
whole of things will vanish by piecemeal”
– U.S. President Thomas Jefferson
Rehabilitated and Released A majestic bald eagle returns to the wild, thanks
to the important work done at von Arx Wildlife Hospital.
16 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 17
Board of Directors
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida thanks the community and business leaders that
serve on our Board of Directors and who are passionate about protecting our quality of life
... now and forever.
C O M E C E L E B R A T E
CONSERVANCY OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA
EARTH DAY FESTIVAL
Guest SpeakerS, Live Music, Festival Food, Exhibitors, Crafts,
Interactive Programs, Boat Rides, and More
Free off-site parking will be available with shuttle service.
More information will be available at www.conservancy.org/50thfestival in early 2014
Or call 239.430.2466
1495 SMITH PRESERVE WAY, SOUTH OF NAPLES ZOO OFF GOODLETTE-FRANK RD.
Robert J. Moher
Ed Eaton Thomas R.
Phil Gresh John R.
Gerri Moll Jim Murray Mayela
18 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 19
People of Influence
A Legacy of
Since it was founded, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida mission to preserve the area’s water, land
and wildlife has attracted many passionate leaders. Their combined efforts have yielded important
achievements in legislation and public support over the decades. One such leader is Nicholas G. Penni-
man IV, former Conservancy Board Chair. He gives voice to all with his new book “Nature’s Stewards, A
History of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.”
This newly released book chronicles the history of the Conservancy and how it grew from a small land
acquisition into one of the largest, and most effective, environmental organizations in Florida. In the book,
you’ll “meet” the men and women who committed themselves to protecting and preserving some of the
world’s most sensitive ecosystems here in Southwest Florida. Here are a few highlights:
The first leader of the Conservancy,
Draper was a retired U.S. Air Force
Colonel. This great organizer was at
helm three years, laying the foundation
for generations of leaders to come. He
passed away in 1967.
With her no-nonsense style, and proven
community leadership credentials, El-
lin brought her passion for conservation
as board chair and helped advance the
Conservancy agenda. She went on to chair
Conservation Collier, a highly successful
land acquisition referendum and program
that exists to this day.
A long time Conservancy supporter,
Dick assumed leadership of the
board at a critical time, helping to
shape the policies of the organiza-
tion while Naples was ranked second
in the country for growth.
Krier served two terms as interim CEO
and continues to support community-
based initiatives and conservation, in
part through her active involvement in
the Southwest Florida Land Preserva-
tion Trust, which has championed the
Gordon River Greenway.
Prosser came to the Conservancy after
helping to establish the first Department of
Environment as environmental secretary for
the State of Indiana. A former chief of staff
for Senator John Glenn, Prosser’s tenure was
marked by a period of institutional strength-
ening and helped to lay the foundation for the
“Saving Southwest Florida” capital campaign.
The longest serving CEO of the
Conservancy, McElwaine is known
as a great historian and was a strong
on policy matters at the Conservancy,
both locally and at state and national
levels as well. He led the Conservancy
on efforts relating to the preservation
of panther habitats and shaping the
nature of Collier County’s rural lands.
The first Conservancy CEO to come up
through the ranks, Moher headed the
Conservancy development and market-
ing divisions and served in an operational
executive role prior to becoming presi-
dent. He is a strong collaborator and has
over 25 years of hands-on conservation
Sanford’s charming personality and
walking cane is still remembered. A
natural at fundraising and lobbying, he
had an aristocratic style and touched
A triathlete, Guggenheim was an energetic
leader who cultivated a strong public im-
age for the Conservancy. He led efforts
to stem poorly planned growth in the late
1990s and expanded the Conservancy to
officially become Conservancy of South-
west Florida, reflecting expansion from
Collier to include Lee, Charlotte,
Hendry and Glades counties.
Tyler served as chairman of the board for
four years following Dick Grant, helping the
Conservancy grow during the early twenty-
first century. His consistent leadership for
the “Saving Southwest Florida” Campaign
helped generate a record amount of sup-
port for the organization.
At a critical phase in the capital campaign,
Dolph assumed the role of chair of the
board. He led the organization through
the sprint to the finish line and also helped
guide the Conservancy through difficult
negotiations regarding the fate of the Flor-
ida panther and our rural lands. The von
Arx Wildlife Hospital was opened during
his tenure reflecting the passion shared by
his wife Sharon for our native wildlife.
With a distinguished career in executive
search management, Bob led the Con-
servancy as chairman through the post-
campaign period, injecting his principled
and effective management for the board
of directors while also directly shaping the
Conservancy new five year strategic plan.
The Conservancy was very saddened when
Bob passed away suddenly in the late
winter of 2013.
His quiet philanthropy and vision for
land conservation in the region made
him a key player in the founding and
financing of the very early years of
the Conservancy, including efforts to
purchase the original lands in Rookery
Bay and on Key Island (today known
as Keewaydin Island)
A lawyer by profession, Putzell pro-
vided a valuable legal perspective.
As the mayor of Naples from 1986 to
1990, this Conservancy advocate was
a natural politician and a civic-minded
individual. Putzell hired the first paid
executive director of the Conservancy,
A former GE executive, Merrihue
devoted 14 years to the Conservancy.
Like his predecessor, he loved people
and was an adept fundraiser. He is also
remembered as a great communica-
tor and as the visionary for the original
Naples Nature Center.
Toivo stepped in during a period of
growth for the Conservancy to become
the organization’s first paid CEO. The
position was made possible through
the generosity of Mr. Sydney Swensrud,
who established a significant fund to
cover the cost of a professional CEO
and president to guide the organization
into the future.
Ellin Goetz Richard “Dick”
Dolph von arx
20 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 21
Voices of our Support
Nick & Linda Penniman
Conservancy Supporters and Former Board Chair (Nick)
Lal Gaynor Conservancy supporter
Sid & Linda Sapakie Conservancy Supporters
Art & Susan Calkins-Ritas
Conservancy Volunteers and Supporters
Bob & Connie Eaton
Susan Snyder conservancy volunteer
GERI MArtin Conservancy Supporter
Former Conservancy Board Member Ed Selby Conservancy Volunteer
“We support organizations capable of broadly improving
the quality of life for all. The Conservancy is at the top of
the list. “
“My parents believed that protecting the natural environment
is our duty, and acting otherwise risks squabbling away our
“Our family loves animals as pets and in the wild .We also deeply
care about and worry about the environment. The Conservancy,
through its hospital, education and lobbying, plays an important
role in preserving our natural environment today and for future
generations. To support this organization was an easy decision
“The broad-based, multi-faceted approach of the Conservancy
makes us hopeful about our environmental future.
Environmental protection is a priority, and in our experience no
organization does that more effectively than Conservancy of
“I’ve seen firsthand how the Conservancy works to improve the five-
county region by caring for injured wildlife, influencing policy to protect
our environment and educating visitors and the community.”
“We are all very fortunate to live in Southwest Florida and it is our
responsibility to support the Conservancy in its effort to preserve
the gifts of nature - clean and abundant water being one of the
“It’s not just the mission, it’s the people. We’ve met people from all
over the world. The volunteers are amazing. It’s the most proactive
group I’ve seen – people who make a difference.”
“I am deeply committed to the idea that we can find means to live
sustainably and the use of geothermal power at the Conservancy
is a significant step towards that ideal.”
When the environmental community speaks with one voice, their
collective input is extremely helpful. During the eight years that I was
privileged to serve in the state legislature, the Conservancy made a
difference on many environmental issues.
“The more people learn about the environment, the more
they’ll care about it.”
22 | 50 years celebrating our past
OUR FUTURE MAGIC UNDER THE MANGROVES
Conservancy Staff at the closing of the
“Saving Southwest Florida” Campaign
The First 50:
Only the Beginning
The future of our water, land and wildlife is in our hands.
Thank you for the past 50 years. The syner-
gies of your support, our talented staff, scores
of volunteers and combined partnerships with
other great, like-minded organizations have
accomplished great things since 1964 to protect
our quality of life. Our wildlife is better protected.
Our waters are cleaner. Wild, open spaces are
replenishing our drinking waters and providing
areas for families to enjoy.
Managing the past 50 years has not been an
easy task. Moving forward, the challenges to
protect our natural treasures will escalate. The
environmental issues are becoming more nu-
merous, more complex. So many needs are still
unmet; so many challenges to our quality of life
are on the horizon.
However, we know the future can be bright. The
Conservancy of Southwest Florida team is up to
the task. Our 50 years of experience help us un-
derstand the root causes of these challenges so
we can help develop solutions. We can provide
an intelligent approach to a prosperous future –
balancing economic growth with conservation.
All it will take is your continued generous sup-
port and unrelenting trust in the Conservancy
of Southwest Florida for the next 50 years and
beyond. Southwest Florida is in our hands,
each and every one of us, to ensure we leave the
next generation with clean and abundant water,
wild spaces and healthy, diverse wildlife – all the
things we treasure about our quality of life.
Imagine a small group of women, including then
Conservancy of Southwest Florida CEO Kathy
Prosser, enjoying a boat trip on the Conservancy
Good Fortune II, marveling at the beauty of Rookery Bay.
As the birds came in to roost for the
evening, someone remarked, “And
to think, if not for the Conservancy,
this could have been a road to
nowhere”. With the 40th anniversary
approaching, the ladies decided to
create a special event to celebrate
the accomplishments of the
Conservancy. And so, in 2005, Magic
Under the Mangroves™ was born.
A committee was formed to plan
an event that would both celebrate
and support the protection of
Southwest Florida’s unique natural
environment and quality of life…an
event that would be sophisticated,
yet sustainable. On March 2, 2005
500 guests gathered to celebrate
“40 years of protecting the nature
of our community”. The evening, in a
tent “under the mangroves,” included
cocktails, auctions, a sustainable
dinner and speaker, bestselling
author, Carl Hiaasen.
The event was an outstanding
success. On March 6, 2014, Magic will
celebrate its 10th year, as well as the
50th anniversary of the Conservancy.
Under the leadership of past
chairpersons Sue Dalton, Maureen
Lerner, Nancy White, Jeannie Smith,
current chair Lynne Shotwell and the
Magic Committee, Magic Under the
Mangroves™ has become one of the
top charitable events in Southwest
Florida. Over the years, Magic has
been named the gala with the “most
loyal followers,” the “best fundraiser
that is not the wine festival,” the
“greenest” and “most breathtaking
event,” and the patron party was
named the “best fete for patrons.”
The 2013 Magic Under the
Mangroves™ event raised over
$950,000 net income. Since
inception, Magic has raised
over $4,300,000 to support the
Conservancy mission. The money
funds programs that protect our
water, our land, our wildlife and our
future. Now that’s Magic!
Written by cynthia fiber
50 years shaping our future | 23
24 | 50 years celebrating our past 50 years shaping our future | 25
share a vision
For more information contact Christine Kruman
239.403.4206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
E a g l e S o c i e t y
Be part of the next 50 years.
Plan your legacy today.
“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his
willingness to sacrifice something today for future
generations whose words of thanks will not be
B e q u e s t s
R e t i r e m e n t P l a n s
I R A s
L i f e I n s u r a n c e
L i f e I n c o m e G i f t s
C h a r i ta b l e Tr u s t s
C h a r i ta b l e G i f t
A n n u i t i e s
- Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day
Southwest Florida’s future is in our hands.
The story of Conservancy of Southwest Florida very much reflects the fa-
mous quote by Margaret Mead above. It is a story of the efforts of those who,
through their actions, made the future better for generations yet to come. This,
in meaningful terms, is the impact of legacy. When people take thoughtful
actions to conserve our water, land and wildlife and understand that their con-
tributions are not just for their own benefit, but rather for the benefits of others
yet to come, this is the foundation of leaving a natural legacy.
The Conservancy has been richly blessed with those who have chosen to
strengthen their own legacy of a commitment to our natural world by leav-
ing a planned gift to benefit the organization well into the future. Gifts can be
planned in a thoughtful way to direct support to an area of great concern for
any individual – sustaining our region’s water quality, enhancing the care of
injured native wildlife or supporting highly impactful environmental education
programs for years to come.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens
can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
Here are some reasons for considering the Conservancy when determining your
philanthropic priorities and long term planning:
• Fifty-year history of protecting our region’s environment, guided by thoughtful
leadership from a committed 24 member board of directors
• Four-star Charity Navigator rating which
reflects the Conservancy’s ongoing
commitment to efficient use of donor funds
and maximizing impact of these gifts
• Twenty five years of maintaining a robust planned giving program, guided by
a committee of volunteer advisors who are among the most respected in our
• Demonstrated impact, knowing your gift will be utilized to advance our mission
for years to come.
To learn more about planning your legacy in support of our water, land and wildlife,
please contact Christine Kruman 239.403.4206 or ChristineK@conservancy.org
Future Environmental Leaders
239.262.0304 • www.conservancy.org 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples
Next to Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Road