Conservancy Receives Government Proclamations

City, county and state officials recognize Conservancy and supporters for raising $38.8 million to benefit land, water, wildlife.
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* Naples - Florida - US

May 18, 2011 - PRLog -- NAPLES, Fla. (May 12, 2011)
Representatives from the State of Florida, Collier County and the City of Naples have officially recognized the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and donors to the “Saving Southwest Florida” Campaign for raising $38.8 million to benefit Southwest Florida’s environment. During a May 10 event at the Conservancy, Kristi Bartlett, representing the Board of County Commissioners of Collier County, proclaimed May 10, 2011 as "Saving Southwest Florida Day” in Collier County. In addition, City of Naples Councilmember Doug Finlay read a proclamation on behalf of City of Naples Mayor Bill Barnett declaring May 10 as “Saving Southwest Florida Day” in the City of Naples. Representing the State of Florida, Sandra Mummert, a legislative assistant for Senator Garrett Richter’s office, shared a state proclamation recognizing the Conservancy for successfully completing its fundraising endeavor to enhance the environment for decades to come.  

“We are grateful to our partners with the City of Naples, the Board of County Commissioners of Collier County and at the state level for their ongoing support for the Conservancy and our mission,” says Andrew McElwaine, Conservancy president and CEO. “Even before the campaign was announced and renovations began, a strong partnership was formed. We have worked closely with Collier County, its Board of County Commissioners and other local and state officials throughout the renovation process. We are grateful for their continued support.”  

The largest environmental campaign in Collier County and one of the largest in the state of Florida, the “Saving Southwest Florida” Campaign proceeds will support core Conservancy programs and endowment for ongoing and future policy, advocacy, environmental science, research and education. This includes the renovation and construction of new sustainable buildings at the Conservancy to transform the 21-acre campus into the premier Nature Center in the southeastern United States.

Built in 1984, the original Conservancy buildings have become outdated, cramped and energy inefficient. The “Saving Southwest Florida” Campaign will fund the renovation and construction of sustainable buildings at the Conservancy Nature Center. These projects, which meet stringent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, include the new von Arx Wildlife Clinic, Dalton Discovery Center, Ferguson Learning Labs, Eaton Conservation Hall and the Sugden Gomez Environmental Planning Center. A major portion of the campaign funds provided the resources to purchase additional land and build a new entrance to open access to the Conservancy Nature Center from Goodlette-Frank Road:  Smith Preserve Way.  Ultimately, this new entrance may also provide access to the future Gordon River Greenway Park. Part of achieving this goal was funding for the eight acres of property the Conservancy purchased from the Fleischmann family. This valuable natural upland and scrub habitat, located between the Conservancy Nature Center and Goodlette-Frank Road, is now safe from major development and is known as the Christopher B. Smith preserve. The Conservancy Nature Center campus renovations are expected to be completed by late 2012.

In addition to campus renovations, support to the endowment includes funding for the following:
·        A new strategic partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University to focus on enhanced environmental education.
·        Support for sea turtle research, monitoring and protection.
·        Resources for wildlife rehabilitation training and veterinary services.
·         Funds for policy and advocacy efforts for ongoing and future work.
·        Support for research projects such as Everglades restoration and water quality research.

About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Sustainable Campus Initiative:
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida began its sustainable campus initiative in April 2009 as part of its “Saving Southwest Florida” Capital Campaign. The 21-acre Conservancy Nature Center is being transformed into a model for sustainable design and environmental responsibility, with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards incorporated into the new and renovated buildings. Once completed, the new Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center will include two new buildings and three major rehabilitation projects.

The von Arx Wildlife Clinic with more space, improved treatment areas and modern equipment.
Totally remodeled Dalton Discovery Center with new and exciting immersive environmental exhibits featuring the habitats of southwest Florida.
The new Sugden Gomez Environmental Planning Center with updated research laboratories, staff offices and meeting rooms to allow for even greater environmental collaboration.
Eaton Conservation Hall will be re-built on the foundation of the current Delnor Auditorium  and used for a theater and increased environmental education programming, meetings and events.
Ferguson Interactive Learning Lab for hands-on learning about environmental topics relevant to southwest Florida and sustainability.
Christopher B. Smith Preserve to protect natural upland and scrub habitat and native wildlife.
Two constructed wetlands areas serving as natural filter marshes to cleanse storm water runoff before it’s released into the Gordon River and Naples Bay.
New trails, gardens and walkways featuring native landscaping.
New environmental education and programming, trails and new Nature Center experiences.

The project also includes a new entrance to the Conservancy Nature Center, Smith Preserve Way, from Goodlette-Frank Road that will bring the vision of a “Naples Central Park” closer to reality. The new entrance will potentially provide access to the Gordon River Greenway Park and the Naples Zoo.

Green building practices, sustainability features and best management practices are being incorporated into all aspects of the construction and building designs. Key features include:

All new buildings will be built to rigorous LEED standards.
LEED standards will be applied across the overall for Nature Center.
Water conservation will be emphasized and best management practices for storm water management applied. Storm water will be captured for re-use or filtered before naturally flowing into the Gordon River.
Energy efficiency will be incorporated at every opportunity with a multi-year goal to achieve “net zero” energy cost.

Campus construction has been phased over several years to minimize the impact on Conservancy guests and staff. Completion is expected sometime in late 2012.

The construction project team members bring a variety of backgrounds and specialization in sustainable design, advanced building construction and applied technology to the project. All contractors working on the project have achieved or are pursuing personal LEED accreditation. The construction partners all have adapted their own business philosophies and practices to meet the demands of the project. They also have committed to using their experience with sustainability practices on the Conservancy campus to extend that concept into future projects for other Southwest Florida clients. Team members include:
Curtis Cafiso, Conservancy of Southwest Florida (Project Executive)
Keith Predmore, Keith Predmore & Associates (Owner’s Representative)
Casey Neurock, Neugreen LLC (LEED Consultant)
Larry Warner Architects (Initial Master Planning and Building Design)
Fernando Zabala and Brian Leaders, L-Architecture (Master Planning and Building Design)
Alex Lopez, JALRW Engineering Group (MEP Engineers)
Derry Berrigan, DBLD Sustainable Lighting Design (LED Lighting)
Peter Kuttner, Cambridge 7 Associates (Discovery Center Exhibit Design and Campus Interpretive Design)
Walter Crawford, Heatherwood Construction (Construction Managers)
Frank Feeney, Hole Montes (Civil Engineer)

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Since 1964, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has focused on protecting water, land and wildlife through environmental education, policy, science and wildlife rehabilitation. 1450 Merrihue Dr., Naples, FL , (239) 262.0304,
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