Wildlife Watching on Rookery Bay Eco-Cruise

This is peak nesting season for osprey and bald eagles. Guests aboard the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Good Fortune II eco-cruise in Rookery Bay enjoy glimpses of the nests.

The eagles in Hall Bay fixed up their nest in early November and in late January their eggs hatched.

The shape of the nest makes seeing the chicks difficult, but we do see the parents hard at work feeding them. The eaglets will grow from small furry balls to birds the size of the parents in about two months, which is truly amazing.

For the last few weeks, the weather on Rookery Bay has been good for wildlife watching. As the Everglades have been drying out due to a very low rainfall, the numbers of wading birds have been increasing.

Most of the osprey are nested as well. Osprey prefer to locate their nests on top of the channel markers. This year a few nests had to be rebuilt because of Hurricane Irma’s high winds, but this activity is long since finished.

Osprey lay two to three eggs per season and one of the parents is always on the nest for warmth during the cold nights and to protect the young from the eagles.

Many of the osprey, too, have hatched and we are starting to see the chicks. The osprey have a dark slash through their eyes, which acts to reduce glare – much like a football player who blackens under his eyes. This dark line is evident from the time the chicks hatch into a ball of white fluffy feathers right through adulthood.

Both the eagles and the ospreys feed their chicks by eating fish and then regurgitating the mixture for the babies. Next, they bring a fish to the nest and pull off small pieces which they offer to the hungry chicks and then bigger pieces until finally they will present the chicks with a whole fish and show them how to hold it with their talons and tear off pieces with their curved beak.

There have been belted kingfishers darting from tree to tree, and many wading birds. One occasional visitor to the Rookery Island is the roseate spoonbill.

Other regular visitors to Rookery Island are great egrets, snowy egrets, little blue herons, double crested cormorants, white ibis and brown pelicans. It is truly amazing how some 2,000 assorted birds can settle down on Rookery Island each night, just at sunset, some of which have been unbelievably beautiful.

On one cruise, 15-20 magnificent frigate birds flew overhead. We occasionally get frigate birds landing on the island but not that night. They usually stay on the south end of Marco Island, but patrol much of Rookery Bay from their high altitudes. They are easy to recognize by their unique wing pattern.

Dolphins have also been active and are sighted on most cruises. The best shows are when they have had enough to eat and want to play in the water and show off. This is when they jump and spin as if they were performing at Sea World.

Heading back into our dock we sometimes pass oyster catchers on the oyster bar. They are large birds with a distinctive black and white coloring and orange beaks and feet. They feed at the water line, deftly slipping their beak into the oyster’s shell and clipping the muscle that holds the shells together, then eating the oyster. Our oyster catchers are only here in the winter months and migrate northward when our weather becomes too warm.

Book your lunchtime or sunset cruise aboard the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s eco-cruise on Rookery Bay at www.conservancy.org/goodfortune.

Straight Talk

by Erick Carter

In between your salon visits, you want to wash your hair, especially in hot, sticky weather. You have curly hair, frizzy hair, very wavy hair and are afraidto try to handle it by yourself.

Here is the “straight talk.” You can do this:

An oil treatment such as Deep Shine Oil by Rusk before showering for about 10 minutes allows the oil to soak in. Got fine hair? Just oil the ends.

Shampoo and condition as you would normally. Towel-dry hair until damp. Then use your styling product from roots to hair ends.

Spray hair with a heat protected silicone spray. Using a vented paddle brush, pull hair as straight as possible.

When hair is almost dry, switch to a round brush—I like a mix of nylon and boar bristles to achieve a smoother look.

Smooth, not round, is the look you want.

Flat iron for that finished look.

Remember to adjust the heat based on your hair thickness. Please use a heat resistant glove on your working hand! A flat iron product such as Thermal Flat Iron Spray by Rusk will help protect your hair and create a better result.

Complete with an aerosol shine spray such as Thermal Shine Spray by Rusk.

Practice makes perfect so follow the steps above. If you need any additional information, please call me for more “straight talk.”

I would like to invite all readers to write in your questions. You can do so by email at Erickcre8U@gmail.com or call me at239.777.2380.

KOREAN WAR LESSONS ARE MORAL COMPASS FOR REALTOR

As the sun rose over the Agent Orange-defoliated demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, 2nd Lt. Dave Wallace could just make out the midpoint of the now infamous Bridge of No Return through the thick fog.

It was 1970 and Lt. Wallace is one of 13 officers and 200 enlisted men who oversaw onsite operations, communications and security of the ongoing peace talks within the United Nations Joint Security Area, overlooking the South Korean international coalition compound at Pan Mun Jom.

Hostilities had theoretically ceased in 1953, when the Korean War Armistice was signed. The reality of face-to-face contact every day with an enemy indoctrinated from birth by propaganda to hate the “US Imperialist Aggressors,” was all too common.

Wallace remembers becoming hardened to dealing with the threat of these daily occurrences. Wallace received orders to report to active duty in the Vietnam War as a forward observer. As it turned out, his younger brother had just been pre-assigned to combat in Vietnam.

Sole Survivor Policy provides an exception for two brothers fighting front-line combat concurrently. For those who know Wallace, the fact he volunteered to be assigned to the Korean DMZ hostile fire zone is not at all surprising.

Wallace served alongside Korean, Swiss and Swedish officers on the South Korean side; Czechs and Polish officers supported the North Koreans.

Forty-eight years later, Wallace is very active in the Naples community, his church and job as a top-producing commercial real estate broker. He spent 25 years as the go-to broker in Rochester, NY, serving Kodak, among many others.

Today, he is relied upon by those seeking an informed broker who holds integrity above profit and as one who carries the lessons learned serving in one of the world’s most unusual military assignments.

His style of providing clients the unvarnished truth has won him loyal customers. It’s a style that he sees as a primary tenet and underpinning of how he approaches life.

“If I could impress one singular thought on the American people, from a man who was in prolonged direct contact with “the enemy” and watched the tribulations/posturing of so many play out right before my eyes, it would be that with all of the sabre rattling, unnerving rhetoric and rumors of war, we must never forget that the real victims here are the North Korean people. Most of them will never have a chance at the freedom we take for granted everyday as we go to work, play and serve our fellow man, in the safe environment of these great United Sates of America.” Wallace stated, struggling to hold back strong emotion.

Wallace is an office/industrial and investment specialist with CRE Consultants (formerly a CBRE affiliate) with the highest professional designations available to commercial/industrial real estate brokers and 30 years of commercial real-estate experience. He was named Top CRE Consultants ‘Broker in Collier County in 2014 and 2017, Top CRE Broker for the company in 2015 and 2016 and feels blessed to work alongside his son, David.

Feel free to email Wallace at dave.wallace@creconsultants.com.

Human Touch

by Allen Weiss, MD, MBA, FACP, FACR
President and CEO, NCH Healthcare System

The human need for touch, attachment, belonging and social proximity has long been known.

Touch is the “mother of all senses” and develops in utero. Our skin is the largest of the human sense organs. The skin is the only organ related to the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch) and is essential for human survival.

Evolutionary survival, reproductive success, mental health and general well-being for everyone depend on being interconnected. Touch makes these important connections and is paramount among all the senses.

Touch is one of the most essential elements of human development and a profound method of communication. Holding hands is more than a romantic ideal for young lovers. Platonic touch on meeting a friend – shaking hands, an appropriate embrace or an “air” kiss – all connect us quickly while establishing trust.

Critical for early development in humans, and most other species, is touch. Newborns immediately attached to their moms start a bonding practice that increases the propensity to breastfeed. Newborn brain development and recognition of self are both dependent on touch.

Inversely, lack of touch occurring in orphanages on other continents in the past has been associated with higher risk for social, behavioral, and emotional problems in later life. Skin-to-skin contact seems to calm babies, helping them sleep better and cry less.

Parents also rest more, thus continuing a therapeutic cycle of less stress and greater development. Babies and parents mimic each other’s actions, creating more positive feedback. Objective assays of cortisol and oxytocin levels – marker hormones confirm lower stress levels and higher levels of connection.

Oxytocin, known as the “bonding hormone,” is associated with relaxation, generosity and nurturing. Oxytocin is noted to be the “tend and befriend” substance, as moms care for children and develop relationships that aid in survival.

Adrenalin, on the other hand, is a hormone with the opposite effect causing the “fight or flight” response. Soothing human touch increases oxytocin blood levels, while lowering adrenalin levels. Slow platonic touch in a comforting environment aids development, education and wellbeing. Healthy touch helps everyone feel good.

Touch is the first sense to develop that helps babies connect. Thereafter, in sync babies develop other methods of communication and connection. Just think how a parent smiles at a baby and the baby smiles back. When we laugh, a connected baby also laughs.

Eye contact operates similarly when a baby is old enough to see well. Exaggerated gestures connect to the point that an attached baby knows how to get the parent to smile by cooing and smiling. Similarly, crying and carrying on signal hunger or an uncomfortable diaper, resulting in a response from an attentive parent.

The vast scientific data and knowledge on the importance of touch for human development, communication, and healing are well known. Our nation’s current modern culture has specific social limitations and taboos that have been abused and violated, creating cautions and causing disconnection and physical distancing.

Getting back to normal with responsible, sensitive, appropriate and constructive interaction physically, emotionally, mentally and culturally will be good for all.

Vetting the subject of healthy physical touch should help us heal the current concerns. America is generally a low-touch culture compared to many Latin American and southern European cultures. Americans generally stand further apart when conversing compared to others.

Similarly, Americans touch and kiss less in public, probably due to our northern European origins. Persons of a higher “class” can touch persons of a lower class, but vice versa is not politically correct.

Other anachronistic prohibitions persist among different ethnic and gender groups. Male-male bonding is sometimes confused with homophobic responses. In other eras, male-male bonding and friendships were common and beneficial for all concerned.

We are improving and have an opportunity to progress. Unfortunately, according to the former chairman of the psychology department of Seattle Pacific University, “social-cultural trends in America have focused for decades on reducing touch.

“On the negative side, psychologists report on affection deprivation, a condition of wanting more tactile, affectionate communication than one receives. Men typically are more isolated than women. Affection deprivation, associated with loneliness, depression, stress, anxiety and mood disorders, can spill over to physical ailments. Interestingly, research showed that the degree of physical affection between mother and child –touching, holding, carrying– can predict the propensity toward violence in a culture.

The less affection between mothers and infants in a culture, the more violence is seen in adulthood, according to James Prescott’s 1976 study from the National Institute of Health.

Touch-deprived children demonstrate cognitive skill deficits that often persist into early adolescence compared to age-matched peers. Also noted, was that lack of touch, especially touch of a supportive, nurturing, affectionate nature, is associated not only with cognitive delays, but also body image dissatisfaction, depression and eating disorders.

A recent article in the New York Times entitled “The Power of Touch, Especially for Men” relates a son’s visit to his dying father in a nursing home. Even though many middle-aged American men share the discomfort of reaching for another man’s hand, nonsexual touching contributes to greater well-being. Touch has a more immediate impact than words because it is physical and leads to a chain of bioelectrical and chemical changes that basically relax the nervous system.

Stress, a major challenge in today’s society, can be reduced by platonic touch. Women employ a tend-and-befriend approach that invites confidence and cooperation with others, whereas men grow stoic and withdrawn.

A stereotyping view is that females bond and males isolate. A nascent professional cuddling industry has emerged where lonely, depressed, folks lacking in social support experience “skin hunger.”

This desire is not sexual, but rather, reflects a need to beheld or touched. Massage therapy maybe one socially acceptable activity satisfying these cravings.

Professionals called Cuddlists from a group called “The Cuddle Party” now provide a blend of talk therapy, yoga and improvised bodywork, as well as massage.

Finally, couples report gender differences in relationships over time, meaning that cuddling and caressing are important ingredients for long-term relationship satisfaction. Kinsey reported a study of more than 1,000 couples in five nations showing unsurprisingly that kissing and cuddling predicted happiness.

Middle age couples had different expectations, desiring to be more couple-centered than individual-centered.

Socializing together, kissing platonically, hugging children, creating trust, and getting along are all good goals as we live in an increasingly stressful world.

So, go out and hug a friend. You will both be better off for the contact.

WHY KITCHENS BY CLAY?

Advertorial

by Clay Cox

The highly skilled, professional team at Kitchens by Clay has been connecting with our clients, one project at a time, for almost two decades.

As a family owned and operated company, be assured that the highest commitment, value and respect will be placed on your project. Our design knowledge is sharply focused on realistic solutions to design challenges. Building a relationship with each client, providing unmatched quality and incredible service are the steps to a successful and relaxed experience.

Getting started is the hardest step and we realize how important it is to get this first phase right. This is when the team at Kitchens by Clay rolls up their sleeves and gets to work.

Meeting with a design professional at Kitchens by Clay is where the collaboration begins. From the design to the completed product you will be expertly guided through the cabinet and hardware selections while keeping in mind the financial parameters that you are comfortable with. Ask us how you can achieve the elegant look that you want without sacrificing quality or style.

Scheduling your project commands our attention as well. Keeping a prompt schedule is a commitment we make to you. Our overall method from start to finish is an established, proven process that will encompass all the factors of a high quality and timely project that will give you piece of mind.

Our family run company has stood the test of time as a premier cabinetry design firm in Southwest Florida. We guarantee that you will go on to refer your friends and family to our family.

Enjoy your home!

Please E-mail Clay with your questions or comments at sales@kitchensbyclay.com.

Enjoy your remodel,

Clay Cox

Fish Better

Ask anyone what it means to fish better, and they’ll simply tell you it means to catch more fish. But that is not the case for this Florida-based company.

Fish better is about creating a culture of responsible, conservation-minded anglers that are interested not only in catching fish, but protecting them and the habitats they frequent for future generations to enjoy.

Florida Fishing Products (FFP)is a small company started by passionate anglers to help develop better fishing products, educate the public about conservation, and raise awareness for issues affecting fisheries all over Florida.

“We’re anglers. Plain and simple,” stated FFP co-founder, Ty Nelson. “We were blessed to be raised on the water, and feel committed to fight to ensure the future of our sport for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. We’ve seen first-hand the impact of the increasing number of boats and anglers on the water, as well as the impact of development of coastal communities.

We believe there is one solution to the many problems our fisheries face: create a culture of responsible, conservation-minded anglers.

“Florida Fishing Products has partnered with numerous 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organizations, such as Captains for Clean Water, Calusa Waterkeeper, and CCA Florida in an effort to help continue the push to educate the public about the importance of conserving Florida’s estuaries.

For every online sale that is made through their website, www.floridafishingproducts.com, FFP donates percent to a conservation organization of the consumer’s choice. In addition, FFP provides valuable content to educate anglers on how to be more conservation-minded on and off the water.

Finally, FFP has begun to partner with fishing clubs around the state to plan community clean-ups to help keep plastic and other harmful waste from entering our bays and rivers.

While helping ensure the future of Florida’s fisheries is the end goal, Florida Fishing Products’ vehicle is their commitment to providing excellent fishing products to anglers. Their osprey spinning reel is known for its light-weight yet durable body, an extremely powerful drag system, and its sleek, blacked out, anodized exterior. A match made in heaven for FFP’s new distance premium braided line, which is known for its ability to cast further, feel the bite better, and avoid wind knots.

In 2018, FFP will also be launching a new pair of fishing pliers that will likely be the last an angler will ever need.

Fish Better. Fish Florida.

CURTAIN RISES ON KIDS’ THEATRE SUMMER PROGRAMS

A summer filled with vibrant art, singing, acting and dancing awaits Southwest Florida’s brightest young artists ready to take the stage.

This summer, Gulfshore Playhouse Education will engage students ages 6-18 with fun and imaginative productions and one-week programs in musical theatre, acting and Shakespeare.

Led by Gulfshore Playhouse’s brilliant Director of Education, Hester Kamin, the summer programs include the production of “The Little Mermaid Jr” for ages 6-14.

From June 11-29, students will dive into the magic of musical theatre as they tell the tale of a young mermaid who is trying to find the place where she belongs. The program will conclude with performances on Thursday, June 28 at 7 p.m. and Friday, June 29 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Program fee is $350f or students 6-8, and $500 for ages 9-14.

Gulfshore Playhouse’s summer education programs also include the by-audition only Teen Conservatory, for students ages 13-18. This intensive musical theatre conservatory was created specifically for students looking to learn or hone their acting, dancing and singing skills.

Gulfshore Playhouse associate artistic director and Broadway star Jeffrey Binder will direct the program. After living in New York City for 20 years and starring in four Broadway productions, including as Zazu in “The Lion King” and Mr. Banks in “Mary Poppins,” Binder found himself wanting to dig deeper into the inner workings of theater.

Since 2015, he’s been doing just that at Gulfshore Playhouse by becoming more involved in fostering the growth of the arts in our community.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming students this summer in the Teen Conservatory program, which provides the opportunity to not only learn about acting, singing and dancing, but also how to engage with other performers, produce ideas and learn to take risks,” said Binder.

“The intense conservatory program is a wonderful way for students to make lifelong friends, develop confidence and learn what it is to be part of a true theatre ensemble.”

The Teen Conservatory runs from July 9 to August 3. This pre-professional program, which students enter by audition, offers training in musical theatre and concludes with performances of the Tony Award-winning musical, “The Secret Garden.”

From June 4 through July 13, Gulfshore Playhouse will also offer one-week programs for ages 6 through 18, including the following:

  • June 4-8, ages 6-8: “The Velveteen Rabbit” Students will perform scenes from the Margery Williams’ beloved story about a boy, his rabbit and the meaning of friendship. Concludes with a recital on Friday, June 8 at 7 p.m.. $200 per student.
  • July 9-13, ages 6-8: “Broadway Bootcamp Jr” Students will learn to sing and dance as they rehearse and perform pieces from the musical theatre canon that will be chosen specifically for their group. Concludes with a recital on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. $225 per student.
  • June 4-8, ages 9-12: “The Lorax” Young performers become an ensemble as they act out scenes from Dr. Seuss’ classic tale about caring for the world around us. Concludes with a recital Friday, June 8 at 7 p.m. $200 per student
  •  July 9-13, ages 9-12: “Broadway Bootcamp” Performers will learn songs and dances that are chosen specifically for their group during this one-week musical theatre intensive. Concludes with a recital Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m. $225 per student.
  • June 4-8, ages 13-18: “Acting Shakespeare” All the world’s a stage as teens learn classical acting and perform an evening of Shakespeare scenes. Concludes with a recital Friday, June 8 at 7p.m. $300 per student.
  • June 11-15, ages 13-18: “Musical Theatre Intensive.” Teens will learn singing, dancing, acting and audition technique in this week-long intensive. Program concludes with a recital on Friday, June 30 at 7 p.m. $325 per student.

Need-based scholarship forms will be available March 1. For more information about Gulfshore Playhouse Education or to register, contact Hester Kamin at 239.261.7529, ext. 207 or visit www.gulfshoreplayhouse.org.

FREEDOM MEMORIAL

Over the next few years students will be graduating from high school who weren’t even born when the 9-11 attacks occurred. It’s a sobering realization of how important the Freedom Memorial of Collier County is to Southwest Florida and the generations to come.

Years ago, local leaders proposed the idea of forming a task force to explore the idea of creating a lasting memorial in honor of those who were lost on September 11, 2001. The intent of the memorial would be to pay tribute to the firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel and civilians who died as a result of the terrorist attacks in New York City, The Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The memorial would dually serve as reminder of the sacrifices, past and present, which are made everyday by our military on the front lines, around the world. Chosen from dozens of applicants was the design and vision of Naples-based artist, Jerry LaDue.

Driving past the memorial on Golden Gate Parkway the enormous granite flag is visible, but the finer, more poignant, details must be experienced with a stroll around the memorial.

The waving flag is placed upon a silhouette of the United States of America and has been outlined with a brick walkway in the shape of a pentagon. Homage is paid to the three hijacked commercial flights, each recognized with a granite bench imprinted with the flight number.

Placed behind the memorial are two pieces of steel artifacts recovered from the World Trade Center site. They have become a geographically convenient remembrance location for local families to visit, in lieu of traveling to NYC. It is not uncommon for family members of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 to pay their respects at Freedom Park leaving behind flowers, wreaths or memorabilia. Many say that the steel has been rusted from the tears that have been shed in front of them.

Over the years, many supporters have ordered commemorative bricks to honor loved ones, a pet or to commemorate an anniversary or event in their own lives. Bricks can still be ordered and installed in the walkway at the memorial.

The memorial itself and the vision of the artist have yet to reach completion. The design calls for fifty state stones to be placed along the perimeter of the pentagon shaped walkway. Currently, the seals of New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania are in place.

The remaining state stones are now available for the general public and local businesses to sponsor. The cost per stone is $1,500. A small metal plaque will be installed on the stone with the sponsor’s name or business name.

The Freedom Memorial is located in the Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park at 1515 Golden Gate Parkway. To learn more about purchasing a brick or a state stone visit: www.freedommemorialfoundationofnaples.org. Tax deductible donations can be made directly to the Freedom Memorial Foundation of Collier County by contacting Jerry Sanford at 239. 596.7959.

American Red Cross

March is American Red Cross Month, a special time to recognize and thank Red Cross volunteers and donors who give of their time, talent and treasure to help members of the community. Florida’s Southern Gulf Chapter has a special reason this year to honor its dedicated group of volunteers who stepped up in their community’s hour of need.

All over the country and around the world, the Red Cross is powered by volunteer heroes who respond to disasters ranging from home fires to natural disasters, delivering help and hope to those affected.

Volunteers comprise 91 percent of the Red Cross workforce. In 2017, Red Cross heroes provided more food, relief items and overnight shelter stays to people in need than in the last four years combined.

During Hurricane Irma, the Southern Gulf Chapter opened six evacuation centers in the counties it serves: Collier, Lee, Hendry and Glades. Red Cross volunteers worked with local disaster partners to shelter people who were forced from their homes; provide evacuees with snacks, relief supplies and basic health services; and give comfort to individuals and families coping with heartbreaking losses and an uncertain future.

Over the seven weeks that followed Hurricane Irma, the Red Cross provided over 37,000 shelter night stays; served more than 407,000 meals and snacks and distributed nearly 250,000 disaster emergency supplies such as diapers, bug spray, cleaning supplies, coolers and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other hygiene items.

Trained Red Cross volunteers also provided health services such as replacing lost medications and eyeglasses, emotional support and spiritual care to people whose lives have been turned upside down. More than 16,000 mental health and health services were provided to support and care for those affected. To date, the Southern Gulf Chapter provided direct financial assistance to more than 4,600 residents with majorly damaged or destroyed homes.

As one of the hardest hit areas, the Southern Gulf Chapter continues to provide services to its constituents, as they move into the long-term recovery phase. Undertaking disaster relief efforts such as home fires, flooding and Hurricane Irma would not be possible without the support of trained Red Cross volunteers – generous and selfless individuals who leave their own homes and families to help – many of them responding to multiple relief operations or deploying multiple times. Volunteers are vital to the mission delivery.

This March, become a hero in your local community by joining with the Red Cross to give back to those in need. Become a Red Cross volunteer and find out how you can help! Visit redcross.org/volunteer. You can also join us in supporting families impacted by disaster and #help1family on Giving Day – Wednesday, March 28, a 24-hourfundraising campaign supporting the work of the Red Cross. Donate now by visiting redcross.org/givingday, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

New Buildings Welcome Club Pelican Bay Members

Club Pelican Bay members made a bold decision. They chose to tear down all existing buildings and create an elegant, warm and timeless setting for themselves and their guests to enjoy.

“Our buildings were all structurally sound, but we wanted to refresh and enhance our ambiance and offerings,” says General Manager Dave Mangan, who has been with Club Pelican Bay for 12 years. “By starting from the ground up, we were able to implement a new vision and add amenities we hadn’t considered when the club initially opened.”

A BIT OF HISTORY

Club Pelican Bay sits among the 2,104-acre Pelican Bay community. A championship golf course was part of the original plans as centerpiece to help define the lifestyle envisioned for residents.

Construction of the community began in 1978. Shortly thereafter, famed golf course architect Arthur Hills was hired. He utilized the natural landscape, including the lakes and ponds, and enhanced the setting with sculptured and contoured fairways, elevated tees and other visually appealing elements for the 27 holes.

Arthur Hills was among the first group to play a “test run” round on December 28, 1979. The course officially opened on January 2, 1980. The only building at the time was the cart barn, which also housed a small pro shop and snack bar.

The clubhouse was built in three phases from 1980 to 1983. So, it has been almost 35 years since the buildings opened.

THE NEED FOR CHANGE

Club Pelican Bay members in 2015 participated in focus groups and a survey to assess their interests in making updates to the buildings and enhancing the programs offered. Consultant Bill McMahon, chairman of McMahon Group, led the process and helped craft the vision for the club’s future.

While member satisfaction was extremely high, the results indicated the desire to have a new design in the clubhouse interior, additional outdoor seating and dining areas, and casual dining options. Based on member interests, a spa and fitness center was also perceived as a need.

“Three-quarters of our members live in Pelican Bay or other communities within close proximity six or more months of the year, and we utilize Club Pelican Bay often,” says Fred Luconi, Construction Committee Chairman. “So, it was important for us to have the right atmosphere and amenities.”

The members approved the $33 million project in order to maintain Club Pelican Bay’s status as the premier Naples community known worldwide for its location, golf and dining amenities, and attention to member services.

“We are proud to be longtime members and excited about the complete renovation,” says George Phillips, Chairman of the Board and a member, with his wife Juliana, since 1993. “Club Pelican Bay is where we socialize with neighbors, entertain friends and family, and celebrate birthdays and other special occasions. The new clubhouse with its varied dining options will make each visit memorable and unique for us, our guests and business associates.”

WHAT’S NEW

The cart barn and clubhouse were torn down in May and July 2016, respectively, and work began immediately. William Ward and Janice McBride Ward, principals of McWard Architects, emphasized the use of natural light and warmth throughout the clubhouse.

D. Garrett Construction, which has worked on more than two dozen local clubhouses, is the general contractor responsible for the new buildings, which are being completed on time and on budget.

“Club Pelican Bay members and management knew what they wanted, communicated well and helped us execute their vision,” says Don Garrett, owner. “The new clubhouse and spa/fitness facility are impressive buildings that blend into their surroundings. We are honored that they chose us for this project.”

Peacock + Lewis Architects and Planners designed the interiors. Wide plank European walnut flooring, textured wallcoverings, soft pallets of blues, grays, browns and greens, and vibrant artwork create an environment that is a nod to the beauty of Florida’s natural habitat and coastal waters.

Highlights include an 8 x 15 custom chandelier in the open air cupola, a merlot-inspired Cambria bar top in the Oaks Room and Wine Bar, and a 116-inch chamcha wood table in the private Oaks dining room.

Listening to member feedback, Club Pelican Bay added four outdoor fire pits, doors across the entire clubhouse back that open to exterior seating, and will allow denim to be worn in the Tavern and outside gathering areas.

There are two kitchens – one upstairs near the ballroom and private dining rooms, and one downstairs near the Tavern, The Oaks Room and private wine/dining room that features a custom chamcha table that seats 12. A sommelier was hired, and the menu now focuses on farm-to-table, local fresh ingredients.

“Members have even more options for dining, including approachable new American cuisine,” says Joe Gross, Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage for the past 11 years. “We look forward to making each meal a special occasion for them.”

Heidi Clay, a 34-year employee who is Director of Catering, is already planning events in the new ballroom with built-in dance floor and booking the private dining rooms for members who want to showcase the new clubhouse to their friends.

“As someone who has been here almost since we opened, I can say that what we now offer is unparalleled in our history,” Clay says.

Part of that is due to the new Spa & Fitness Center, an amenity added during the rebuild. There are spaces with gym equipment, for classes such as pilates and yoga, and treatment rooms for facials and massages.

“I look forward to helping Club Pelican Bay members develop programs that meet their health needs and interests,” says Melody Miller, the newly hired Director of Spa & Fitness.

A building housing the Golf Shop and new locker rooms will open next spring as planned. Gene Fieger, only the third Director of Golf in Club Pelican Bay’s history, was most impressed and thankful that the course remained open during construction.

“We attract golfers of all skill levels thanks to our seven sets of tees,” says Fieger “After a round, golfers can now relax in the comfortable outdoor seating areas and recap their game over a beverage and meal. We have the perfect setting for a day in paradise.”

Frank and Sandy Navin joined Club Pelican Bay in 2007 for socializing and soon discovered, as Frank Navin says, “it’s not your father’s club. Rather, it’s the golf club you always dreamed about joining.”

He says club members enjoy the exceptional quality of the course, as maintained by Robert Bittner, Director of Golf Course Operations since 1980 and a Certified Golf Course Superintendent.

“The golf course has matured and flourished since 1980, and Bob Bittner has been the fastidious custodian watching over his proud acreages,” Navin states.

Membership

Club Pelican Bay currently has 425 golf and 310 social memberships, comprising almost 1,400 individuals when spouses and significant others are included. The average age of recent new members when joining is 60 and the average age of all members is 66, so it’s an active community. New members younger than 60 are invited to pay the $100,000 nonrefundable dues over the number of years remaining until age 60 with total amortized years not to exceed 10.

While membership is nearing a maximum, prospective members are invited to contact Donna Marie Amy, Director of Membership & Marketing, at 239.514.2494 or dma@clubpelicanbay.com.