The great weather on January 7 provided an excellent opportunity for Class XIX to learn about the principal environmental issues of SW Florida/Collier County and to better understand balancing preservation and living in this area.
Our day started at the Rookery Bay Education Center with an initial welcome by Gary Lytton and Brooke Carney. Nick Penniman from the Everglades Foundation spoke of Everglades challenges and Jennifer Hecker discussed Water Politics and Policy. After this background material, the class took a boat tour of Rookery Bay where they had an “experiential learning opportunity” including commentary by naturalists from Rookery Bay and the Conservancy.
After the boat tour, the class enjoyed lunch at Rookery Bay and were joined by volunteers from the Conservancy of SW Florida, Master Gardener Extension, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Rookery Bay Reserve to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
The class then moved to the Naples Botanical Gardens where the format changed to a “Challenges and Solutions” discussion of “Land Use” and “Fresh Water Wetlands.” The Class was introduced to the two issues with a speaker from each side. Each topic was complete with Q & A session. The afternoon session finished with a discussion on Solid Waste Management and Recycling in Collier County by Daniel Rodriguez.
In all, nine speakers – seven returning from last year – provided both perspective and challenges to this year’s class.
The day concluded with a cocktail reception for Class XIX and their spouses/partners at the Botanical Gardens.
[Environment Day Session Team]