Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Cypress Cove Conservancy

Fundraising to Preserve Southwest Florida’s Natural Heritage

Cypress Cove Conservancy (CCC) has a vision that requires serious fundraising efforts to create a very special community center and natural park on Naithloriendun, the 200-acre preserve that the late Dr. Robert H. Gore III pieced together, parcel by parcel, with his own money. Once used to nurture the relationship between humans and nature, Gore’s Naithloriendun is part of an old growth tropical forest that includes one of Florida’s oldest cypress trees, as well as many other Southwest Florida wonders. For decades, Gore invited elementary through college-age students to his home to learn about good stewardship of SWFL’s natural heritage. CCC wants to continue Gore’s legacy and build upon it.

CCC is a nonprofit with a mission to purchase and preserve wild lands in Southwest Florida and a goal to safeguard natural resources and wildlife, leaving green space behind for future generations.  “After seeing what is happening to our public lands, we at CCC believe that the only way to preserve land for our children’s future is to own it. Preserving Naithloriendun will allow us to not only abide by the wishes of Dr. Gore’s family to continue his legacy, but also to leave green space for future generations that provides critical habitat for many listed and endangered species. The property is a well-known wildlife corridor,” says Bobbie Lee Davenport, CCC board of directors president.

The Benefits of Wildlife Corridors

Wildlife corridors reduce unwanted wildlife-human encounters and act as a buffer between the activities of mankind and nature. Land preservation also provides crucial protection against the impact of natural disasters on the local community. Undeveloped corridors help reduce flooding and facilitate faster drainage of excess water.

CCC Needs to Raise $203,000

CCC is working to form a private-public partnership with Conservation Collier to preserve the Gore properties. Throughout the county, Conservation Collier acquires properties of high natural resource value which must meet specific criteria that include rare habitat, aquifer recharge, flood control, water quality protection and listed species habitat.

“Since Conservation Collier does not manage community centers, CCC proposes to partner in the effort to continue Gore’s service to the community by raising $203,000 by December 30 to purchase the 10-acre parcel that includes the home, and to create and maintain a community and education center upon it,” explains Davenport, who notes that part of the fundraising efforts include donated artwork from Alaska artist, Judy Swircenski. Worth more than $20,000, it hangs on the walls of the Gore home and is for sale.

Community Center

Gore’s home on the property will be transformed into a community center to facilitate education, leisure activities and events. “The center will help us provide service learning hours for local college students and education programs for all ages on topics such as wellness, gardening, wildlife and biodiversity, sustainable practices and others. We will use the gardens, walking trails and outdoor entertainment areas to allow for connection with and observation of native species and the natural environment,” says Davenport.

Maintenance of the property will be facilitated via volunteers, educational programs and activities, as well as special events and continuing contributions.

Gardens

Proposed gardens for education and leisure include an aloe garden with a variety of healing plants, herb gardens for cooking and medicinal application, an orchid garden and gardens of plants and flowers to attract butterflies and dragonflies that delight children of all ages.

Education

Proposed programs for local school children, college students, families and visitors include health and wellness, nurture in nature, landscape art classes, Project NatureConnect, K-12 programs, service learning hours and biology teacher training.

To make a donation or reserve a spot on a public tour conducted on Sun. at 2 p.m., call Bobbie Lee Davenport at 239-777-0186 or email bleegruninger@comcast.net. For more information, visit CypressCoveConservancy.com.

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