GNL Class XV spent a day with some of Collier County’s most outstanding stewards of the environment on January 5. The venues for discussion were the Conservancy of SW Florida and the City of Naples Utilities Operation Center.   Water issues were of particular concern and were addressed from every possible perspective.

Ed Carlson, director of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, set the tone with a history of disappearing wetlands and consequently disappearing fauna and flora species. Michael Saadeh, president of Vineyards Development Corporation, discussed a developer’s challenges with respect to growth and environmental protection, and Michael Bauer, Natural Resources manager of the City of Naples, highlighted the environment issues facing the city.

Water concerns in SW Florida and the Everglades were featured topics addressed by Jennifer Hecker, director of Natural Resource Policy at CSWF and Charles Dauray, board member of the State of Florida SW Florida Water Management. Conservancy CEO Andrew McElwaine told the class about the missions and the extensive renovation of the Conservancy now in process. Following McElwaine’s introduction, the class toured the new natural filter marsh and met some animal residents at the Conservancy.

Jim Farrell, chief meteorologist at WINK-TV, opened the afternoon with a discussion of hurricanes. Then the group boarded the bus for the Naples Utilities Operation Center where they listened to a discussion of recycling of water, energy, and waste and toured the City of Naples Waste Water Treatment Facility. The panel included Bob Middleton, City of Naples Utilities director, David Bates of Florida Power and Light and Daniel Rodriguez, director of Collier County Solid Waste Management.

The day provided a wealth of information about environmental successes and concerns that both impressed and challenged class members.

Shown in photo with Gordie the Eagle are session leaders Dana Vannoy, Murray Yost, Joe Trachtenberg and Rich Cuneo, Class XIV.

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