The Session was held on January 7, 2015 and great weather provided an excellent opportunity for Class XIX to learn about the principal environmental issues of SW Florida/Collier County and to better understand the balance of competing objectives of preserving the environment and living in the area.

The 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 the Waters of the Everglades (Mr. Penniman’s book had been distributed to the class prior to the event) and Jennifer Hecker spoke on 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. One boat was from Rookery Bay and another boat from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

After the boat tour, the class enjoyed lunch at the 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 of the individual issue. 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 challenge to this year’s class.

The day concluded with a cocktail reception for Class XIX and their spouses/partners at the Botanical Gardens.

Click here to view the photo gallery.