Immokalee Foundation students experience CAMP

by Noemi Perez

A change of scenery was in order for 12 students who ventured to the Northeast for camps through The Immokalee Foundation. Mountains were on the horizon, lakes were outside their cabin doors, and forests were beckoning their exploration at Camp Deerwood in New Hampshire and Kingsley Pines camps in Maine.

For most, it was the first trip outside of Immokalee. Each spent three weeks outdoors in places where electronic screens were replaced by campfires. Like other foundation programs, campers were chosen based upon grades, involvement and accountability. Students wrote essays to apply for a chance to go to camp.

In addition to meeting friends from different places and cultures, “Our students were exposed to an array of exciting activities, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, rope swinging, swimming and tubing,” said Amber Barr, The Immokalee Foundation’s program services director. “Students also participated in arts and theater activities, such as dance, drawing and pottery, hiking, canoeing and mountain biking.

Through these camps our students were able to not just experience a new surrounding, but also learn new skills, build character and create lifelong friendships.” A few students were attending summer camp for a second time. Daniela Flores made her second trip to Kingsley Pines. Both times were great, she said, but this trip was even more special because “this year I got to be part of this thing called the ‘older girls circle’ and I made friendships that I think will last a lifetime.”

Since she returned to Immokalee, people can tell she has changed, she said. “At camp I met all these people who told me so much stuff I didn’t know about – I even learned from people who went to my school,” Flores said. “Before I went I was more closed-minded. I wasn’t so open to meeting new people. “Going there changed my experience about meeting people and about being open to those wanting to be friends. I was out of my comfort zone, but now I’m not so closed. Being independent is not as scary anymore. Going alone changed how I saw things too. I feel more confident in my own self now,” she said.

Joel Guerrero was among the 10 students who attended Kingsley Pines Camp. It was Guerrero’s second camping experience and he renewed a friendship with a boy he had met two years ago. “Now he was 6-foot-2,” Guerrero said. “He was taller than me before, but he really, really grew since then.” Oswaldo Santana is 13 and was a little bit nervous about being away from home so long. But it didn’t take him long to settle in, he said, and enjoy field trips, in particular. One two-day hike on a mountain was particularly memorable. “It was very different from Florida.”

Students are able to experience the world in meaningful ways due to the generosity of the nonprofit’s supporters during their major fundraising events –the Charity Classic Celebration gala and auction, scheduled at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, on November 9, and the November 12 Pro-Am golf tournament at Bay Colony Golf Club. The Charity Classic Celebration provides opportunities to support students through Fund A Dream™, a unique live bidding experience that enables donors to contribute to the future of Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways.

The Fund A Dream™ auction supports many important programs such as Immokalee Readers, career
development opportunities, internships, and scholarships for college, vocational programs and professional certifications designed to lead young people to professional careers and financial independence.
Tickets to the Charity Classic Celebration are $550 per person.

The Charity Classic Pro-Am will feature more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including headliners Annika Sorenstam and Bryson DeChambeau – who are paired with Southwest Florida’s most philanthropic players for a day of camaraderie in support of the foundation’s programs. Foursomes of amateur golfers will learn which professionals they will be paired with for the first and second nine holes of play
during an exclusive pairings party on November 11 at The Old Collier Golf Club.

For sponsorship and ticketing information, call 239-430-9122 or email
Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Kelly Tractor, Presenting Sponsor; BCB Homes, Florida Community Bank and Huntington Private Bank, Success Circle Sponsors; BMO Private Bank and IBERIABANK, Pathways Circle Sponsors; and eBella Magazine, Media Sponsor.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit

Noemi Perez, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at:


by Erick Carter

by Erick Carter

Even though we have discussed this before, one of the most common questions I am asked is, “What is the correct way to shampoo my hair?”

At the risk of being repetitive, let’s review:

  1. Most people jump into the shower, wet their hair and then shampoo. It’s best to let the water run 3-4 minutes on your hair before beginning to shampoo. It’s also important that when shampooing do not pile your hair on the top of your head to scrub. Furthermore, scrub your scalp only (not your hair)and do so using only your fingertips. This will help prevent tangles.
  2. When rinsing the shampoo out, rinse for 3-4 minutes at a minimum depending on hair length. This will allow the shampoo to clean the ends while insuring removal of all the soap. Don’t forget behind the ears, the last thing you want to do is leave shampoo, which can dry and look like flakes.
  3. Also you don’t have to rinse, lather and repeat. In most cases, one soaping is enough. We did that mostly for those who wash their hair once a week in the salon. If applying conditioner— which I recommend to 95% of my clients — rinse well. If you have coarse wavy/curly hair don’t be afraid to leave a little conditioner in. Most shampoos have a higher pH than your hair. A conditioner brings the pH back to its normal level.
  4. You don’t have to wash your hair every day. The natural oils from your scalp are great for your hair. In between shampoos, you can use dry shampoo if you have fine hair. Rinse your hair with conditioner if you have thick hair.
  5. A great clarifying shampoo once a week or every other week can help prevent product build-up.

I am always open to questions so please feel free to email me yours. Who knows? It may end as a feature in Life in Naples.

I would like to invite all readers to write in your questions. You can do so by email at or call me at 239.777.2380.


by Clay Cox

by Clay Cox
Owner/President • Kitchens by Clay

Ever heard “Knowledge is power”?

As a contractor I know that being an expert in our trade is very powerful and helps to ensure successful results. In other words, we must be knowledgeable.

In everything that we do we want to be sure our clients are comfortable and secure with our processes, decisions and expertise. We are fully aware that our clients are constantly in a decision-making mode. The options and choices are endless.

We are prepared to partner with them and offer our professional knowledge, so they can rest assured that we are the contractor they want to work with. We are strong believers of this. So strong, in fact, that we ask our clients about our knowledge on the surveys that we send out at the end of each job. We want to know if they retained their confidence in us and did they feel that they were in good hands and received the proper guidance until the very end of the project?

But how do you recognize that “knowledgeable” contractor? What are the right questions to ask? How will your expectations be met?

Our advice is to be as up front as possible and spend time to get to know your contractor. Be prepared to have a two-sided conversation that covers the project from start to finish. Tell them if you’ve been through the remodel process before or is it all new to you?

Let the contractor know how knowledgeable you are or aren’t for that matter. This will help them to “fill in the blanks” and better communicate with you.

On the flip side ask them about their experiences in the industry. Especially when it comes to remodels. Since no one has a crystal ball, experience means everything. After all, “what’s behind those walls?” is a very real question. A knowledgeable contractor will have the experience that should make it easy for you to pick him or her for your project.

So, ask yourself as you are shopping around if the person you are talking to is educating you throughout the discovery process. Is the level of experience and knowledge crystal clear? Are they willing to outline their company policies as to the how and tell you when they will finish your work before you sign a contract?

In our world of cabinets, we know that our experience and knowledge of design combined with the implementation of that design is one sure fire way to have a successful outcome.

If none of that seems to be working, then hire the person that your dog likes the best. I’ve heard that they can be a great judge of character.

WINE FESTIVAL lineup unveiled with internationally renowned wine and culinary legends


The Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF) has confirmed its star-studded roster for its 19th annual event, themed “Joyto the World,” this January in Naples, Florida.

The three-day Festival, held annually at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, will take place January 25-27, 2019 and will feature some of the world’s most celebrated chefs, vintners and Master Sommeliers.“

Each year, the Naples Winter Wine Festival not only attracts new talent from around the world, but also welcomes back many of our veteran culinary and wine experts who have been with us year after year,” said 2019 Festival Co-Chair Linda Koehn. “With this year’s theme, ‘Joy to the World’, we are looking forward to commemorating the 19-year legacy of the NWWF and its founding organization, the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), and working together towards rebuilding a brighter and better future.”

This year’s Chef de Cuisine, Richard Reddington of REDD and Redd Wood, and Honored Vintners, Daphne and Bart Araujo of Accendo Cellars, both hail from Napa, California and will team up alongside 50 other iconic chefs and vintners flying in from cities around the world to kick off the weekend Festival with 18 intimate Vintner Dinners hosted by Festival Trustees in private homes and settings throughout Naples.

Both longtime supporters of the NCEF and NWWF, James Beard nominee Richard Reddington and Daphne and Bart Araujo will headline the highly anticipated Wine Festival, which will bring needed resources to the Collier County community.

“The Naples Winter Wine Festival is an iconic culinary and wine event and it’s a great honor to be chosen as the Chef deCuisine this year,” said Richard Reddington of REDD and Redd Wood. “This event holds a very special place in my heart and I’m thrilled to be back for my eighth festival.”“

As supporters of the Naples Winter Wine Festival since 2002, we are thrilled to be returning with Accendo Cellars, our family wine, for the 2019 NWWF as Honored Vintners,” said Daphne and Bart Araujo. “It is a privilege to represent Napa Valley alongside the many dedicated food and wine professionals that participate in this star-studded event and give back to Collier County each year, and to see the lovely friends we have made over the years.”“

Both Richard Reddington and Daphne and Bart Araujo have been longstanding supporters of the Naples Winter Wine Festival and Naples Children & Education Foundation,” said 2019 Festival Co-Chair Brian Brady. “Their continued involvement has been crucial in our efforts to better the lives of the underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County, by providing access to important resources and support they need to excel.”

To kick off the weekend’s festivities, the Naples Children& Education Foundation will be hosting their annual Meet the Kids Day on Friday morning. Guests will have a chance to meet children who have received resources and support from NCEF funds and see how their involvement has positively impacted the community.

The morning culminates in a heartfelt presentation showcasing remarkable success stories that NCEF has made possible. Following the presentation, attendees will enjoy a lunch and meet the four renowned vintners. Friday evening, guests will have a chance to enjoy intimate dinners with award-winning chefs and renowned vintners hosted by Festival Trustees in private homes and settings throughout Naples.


Daphne & Bart Araujo of Accendo Cellars in Napa, California Tim Mondavi of Continuum in St. Helena,
Carlo Mondavi of RAEN Winery in Sonoma, California Cinzia Merli of Le Macchiole in Bolgheri, Italy
Beth Novak Milliken of Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery
in St. Helena, California
Rotem & Mounir Saouma of Lucien Le Moine in Beaune, France David Duncan of OVID in St. Helena,
Cliff Lede of Cliff Lede Vineyards in Napa, California
Shari & Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, California Jim Bailey of Knights
Bridge Winery in Calistoga, California
Barbara Banke of Gran Moraine Vineyard in Yamhill, Oregon and
Zena Crown Vineyard in Salem, Oregon
The Miller Family of Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Estates in Santa Maria, California
PierFilippo Abbruzzese of Valdicava in Montalcino, Italy Shahpar & Darioush Khaledi of Darioush in
Napa, California
Giovanni Manetti of Fontodi in Greve in Chianti, Italy
Valerie Boyd & Jeff Gargiulo of Gargiulo Vineyards in Oakville, California Jean-Charles Cazes of
Château Lynch-Bages in Pauillac, France
Elisabetta Gnudi of Borgo Scopeto & Caparzo in Montalcino, Italy Naoko and Maya Dalla Valle of
DallaValle Vineyards in Oakville, California
Lucas Löwi of Bodega Numanthia in Valdefinjas, Spain
Matt Hobbs of Paul Hobbs Wines in Sebastopol, California
Nicholas Allen of Carte Blanche Wine in Napa, California Roberta Ceretto of Ceretto in Alba, Italy
Grace & Ken Evenstad of Domaine Serene in Dayton, Oregon and
Château de la Crée in Burgundy, France
Véronique Drouhin-Boss of Maison Joseph Drouhin in Beaune, France and
Domaine Drouhin Oregon in Dundee, Oregon
Olivier Krug of Krug Champagne in Reims, France
David Pearson of Opus One Winery in Oakville, California
Dimitri Augenblick of Cos d’Estournel in Saint- Estèphe, France Salvatore Ferragamo of Il Borro in
San Giustino, Italy

Cassidee Dabney of The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland,Tennessee
Richard Reddington of REDD and Redd Wood in Yountville, California

Tom Colicchio of Crafted Hospitality in New York, New York Angelo Auriana of Officine Brera in Los
Angeles, California Jennifer Jasinski of Rioja in Denver, Colorado
Thierry Rautureau of Luc/Loulay in Seattle,Washington
Nancy Oakes of Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco, California

Rogan Lechthaler of The Downtown Grocery in Ludlow,Vermont

Dustin Valette of Valette in Healdsburg, California
Charlie Palmer of Aureole in New York, New York

Donald Link of Herbsaint in New Orleans, Louisiana
Markus Glocker of Bâtard in New York, New York

Bill Telepan of Oceana Restaurant in New York, New York

John Tesar of Knife at The Highland in Dallas,Texas

Vitaly Paley of Paley Hospitality Group in Portland, Oregon

Mike Lata and Jason Stanhope of FIG in Charleston, South Carolina Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde
Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois Joseph Lenn of JC Holdway in Knoxville,Tennessee

SISTERS’ MEAL FESTIVAL The Oldest Valentine Party

by Ron McGinty

The first frameworks of civilizations started with the Persians, Greeks and Chinese. Traveling back four thousand years ago the Miao people lived in the lower regions of China’s Yellow River.

Following centuries of battles, people started to migrate. The final departure was to Laos and Thailand with the Miao/Hmong bloodlines settling in the Hunan and Guizhou areas of China.

This brings us to today’s customs and festivals. The Zhangvillage in Shidong is a small Miao village about two hours east of Kaili in the Guizhou providence. The population is over fifteen hundred people. Ready for this? Everyone is related with the same last name, “Zhang”.

Fortunately, decades ago they decided to stop intermarrying their cousins. To enable relationships, festivals with neighboring villages were created for boys and girls to meet.

After marriage, the bride moved into the in-law’s home to raise their family. This clarifies why everyone shares the same last name. Multiple generations live under the same roof; this is very influential in building strong family principles.

The Sisters’ Meal Festival celebrates love and spring. The custom in the Zhang hamlet is for all young women to wear a solid silver ensemble and dance around the boys.

My guide and I were kindheartedly invited to stay the day with the family of six sisters for lunch. They welcomed me to photograph their elaborate process of donning their silver regalia.

This process starts with a few tears of pain while their hair is tied into a very tight bun to hold the headdress. The method of getting dressed took five hours for all to be finalized.

I was fascinated to learn the cost of each dress is about $15,000 dollars. The family’s wealth is in their silver. The festival is held annually by the girls on the 15th day of the third lunar month.

It is the most active festival of the Miao people, their Valentine party.

In the town square emotions are bursting with dancing, singing, and entertainment. Girls dance in a circle while the boys do the same in the opposite direction.

Silver is everywhere and is considered to ward off evil spirits. Every single girl wears large headdresses, dresses, bracelets and neck rings. Their nails are dotted with silver leaving nothing overlooked.

Traditionally, the girls make sticky rice bowls with a secret item buried in the bottom. The rice is dyed many bright colors to make it festive. After a young man introduces himself to his potential soul mate, he would receive a bowl from a basket.

The young women bury an item in each gift which explains her intentions. There are several possible shocks from a piece of garlic to a small green leaf. You probably guessed it; you don’t want the garlic because it means… please don’t call me.

I cherished visiting the minority villages (non-Han) which are left alone by the Chinese government. They are allowed to follow their own customs and lifestyles. This is evidenced by a large number of children a family can have.

I traveled by myself with a local guide and appreciated being the only American I saw.

More China stories to follow.

When the breeze is light and Gulf waters calm . . . .

by Chris Burkard – President of Burkard Yacht Sales, Vice President of the Marine Industries Association of Collier County and Owner of Naples Waterway and Wildlife Tours

Naples, Florida is an amazing place. The locals call it our “little slice of heaven” or “our paradise.”

Much of the architecture is of Italian inspiration, as our namesake city across the pond would certainly imply. Our weather is subtropical with only the rare cold front able to drop the temperatures into the “cold zone” and even then, the cold temperatures rarely survive past midday.

Our shopping and dining are world class, yet quaint. We have managed to keep the heavy commercialization out of Naples that has overtaken many of our larger coastal neighbors.

We are also home to one of the nicest beaches in the entire world due to our white powdery sand, warm waters, amazing coastal wildlife and spectacular Gulf sunsets.

Most people that live and visit already know this and our best-kept little secrets are not so best kept. What you may not know, and is truly a kept secret, is that Naples is home to one of the largest Mangrove Forests in the world, “The Ten Thousand Islands.” This mangrove forest is home to some of the most spectacular coastal birds, marine mammals and fish found anywhere on our planet.

The mangrove forest acts as a nursery, attracting breeding adults, and is home to millions of juveniles. We are a mecca for boaters, anglers, bird watchers, nature enthusiasts, shelling enthusiasts, adventure seekers, sun worshipers and beach goers.

Our waters and coastal areas teem with life. It is not unusual to spot bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the surf while a bald eagle or osprey circles overhead searching for a meal of fresh fish.

I have encountered deer swimming across from the mainland to Keewaydin Island, our coastal barrier island that runs from Gordon Pass almost to Marco Island.

Our waterfront is truly a beautiful and spectacular thing to behold. The best way to experience our amazing coastal waters is by boat. Many enjoy cruising our beautiful waterfront communities to take in the beautiful architecture. Others enjoy visiting our local waterfront restaurants.

Keewaydin Island is unique in that its southern end has a beach that faces the Gulf of Mexico and a beach that faces towards the mainland. When the breeze is light and Gulf waters calm, anchoring on the Gulf side is a great way to spend a day swimming, shelling and relaxing. If the conditions area bit too choppy on the Gulf side, you have the option of anchoring or beaching on the inland side. Others just want to enjoy the wildlife.

There is no shortage of eagles, hawks, bottlenose dolphins and manatees to observe. The Ten Thousand Islands are also home to whitetail deer, panthers, bobcats and raccoons. Although these animals are more reclusive than the birds and dolphins, sightings are rather frequent.

There are several areas inshore and near shore where water skiing and knee-boarding can be fun and a great source of exercise.

Offshore, deep blue holes offer scuba diving and spearfishing opportunities. Fishing in our area is world class and anglers from around the world come here to ply their skills against snook, tarpon, red fish, grouper, snapper and many other species.

Naples is home to a robust assortment of marine related businesses. There are numerous tour boat operations that offer sightseeing, fishing and wildlife tours. If you are a bit more adventurous, and you have boating experience, there are also many boats available for rent. Naples is also home to a booming boat and yacht sales industry if you are so inclined to enjoy our waters on a much more frequent basis.

I highly suggest taking advantage of our resources and getting out on our waters. You’ll see Naples in a whole new way while creating enjoyable memories that will last a lifetime.

What do Blue Angels, Flight Simulators and Aircraft Carriers have in Common?

by Mily Perez-Distel

As I arrived at the National Flight Academy (NFA) inPensacola, Florida, for my 16-year-old son’s graduation ceremony, the sight of aircrafts from different periods of our nation’s aviation history greeted me.

My son, along with other Collier County high school students, had been selected by the NAACP as a scholarship recipient for the “CVT-11 Summer Deployment” aboard Ambition, the aircraft carrier designed to teach aspiring aviators to plan and execute flights through state-of the-art simulators and cutting edge technology.

Upon entering the National Naval Air Museum, I attempted to take in the impressive display of countless aircrafts suspended from the ceiling as well as the Blue Angel Atrium, where the ceremony would be held.

I was fortunate to join the tour led by a decorated retired colonel, who discussed in great detail the engineering developments and unique attributes of the historical planes in the museum.

The second tour was conducted by my son, a Lely High School student, who described with great excitement and awe the high-tech simulators, models and the various instructional cabins in Ambition, which had empowered him and his team to plan, fly and simulate successful landings on the 200-foot airstrip of a moving aircraft carrier.

The students had a rigorous schedule beginning the instructional day at 6:30 am and retiring to their cabin at 10:30 pm.The learning was exponential throughout the day with countless, challenging STEM activities executed in collaborative groups.

“Mom, this week has been amazing, just incredible! My team and I felt like we were carrying out missions on an aircraft carrier while executing REAL flight missions!”

This sentiment was echoed by each and every student who I met as I toured the National Naval Air Museum, Ambition and the Blue Angel Atrium.

The students were as diverse and colorful as the planes suspended from the ceiling of the museum, each from different ethnic, cultural and geographical areas throughout the world. Yet, they were united by their aeronautical quest, hard-working spirit and their undeniable enthusiasm for the magic of aviation.

They delighted in demonstrating how the flight simulators, air traffic control towers and flight planning computers in the various rooms of Ambition worked.

When each received their “Aviator Wings” and diploma on stage, their smiles portrayed an undeniable pride and exuberance, which comes after being part of a life-changing experience.

Upon arriving at the NFA, the students were grouped into squadrons. In a sense, the creation of such squadrons inspired all students to work in collaborative teams in achieving the goals of the mission to the best of their abilities. Each of the flight planning missions included the objective of the flight, altitude and speed of the aircraft, calculating heading, radar communications, and many other mission related tasks. In this way, all squadrons were prepared for every scenario of the upcoming flight mission, authentically integrating the STEM disciplines.

The NFA’s summer deployment program allows students to use a combination of high tech systems such as the flight simulators, radar and mission planning projections to simulate real-life flight missions. Through Ambition’s design and technology, the NFA provides students with real world experiences of what a career in the aeronautical world would look like, as an aviator, an aeronautical engineer, an air traffic controller, a radar specialist or countless of other 21st century careers.

As a former DoDEA (Department of Defense Education Activity) STEAM Instructional Specialist, I was thrilled to seethe authentic hands-on integration of science, math, technology and mathematics within the context of aeronautical engineering.

The experiences from this remarkable week at the NFA sparked in students a desire to not only learn about aviation, but also gave them the confidence to engage in the STEM disciplines and explore related career pathways upon returning to their respective schools.

According to Airbus, there will be a shortage of 450,000 pilots by 2035. The NFA program is actively intervening to address this global crisis in aviation.

I applaud the NAACP’s commitment for their dedicated efforts in paving a brighter future for our nation’s children. It was through their noble efforts that Collier County students had an opportunity to engage in a once in a lifetime STEM opportunity unmatched by any other Collier County non-profit organization.

If you would like to donate to the NAACP to fund scholarships for next summer’s deployment of high school scholarship recipients, please contact:

Community Foundation of Collier County1110 Pine Ridge Road, Suite 200Naples, FL 34108 ATTN: NAACP Collier County Scholarship Fund National Flight Academy Deployment 2019  (Milagros (Mily) Perez-Distel, M.Ed. is a DoDEA and Florida Certified Educator who is an

Testing an Innovative Solution to Protect Panthers and Calves – The Return of the Panther?

Following decades of recovery efforts, Florida panther numbers are steadily increasing.

Along with federal lands like Big Cypress National Preserve, private lands also provide homes for panthers including ranchlands.Unfortunately, panthers eat calves.

Compensation programs do not fully cover the loss and require ranchers to prove a panther killed their calf. This can be difficult since panthers hide their kills.

Preventing calves from being taken is far better.

Naples Zoo is involved in a collaboration to explore how that might be done. In early 2017,David Shindle, Florida Panther Coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, reviewed research conducted by the conservation group Panthera about a cattle breed that defend their calves from jaguars in Colombia. Having about 10% of the herd comprised of this breed provides protection for the whole herd.

Shindle reviewed the idea of a pilot study with Naples Zoo’s Director of Conservation Tim Tetzlaff for the benefit of ranchers in Florida. Tetzlaff coordinated a discussion with Panthera’s Chief Conservation Officer, Dr. Luke Hunter, who then brought in the Colombian study’s lead researcher and other key scientists in the field.

The team identified a closely related cattle breed to the Colombian variety – a descendant of Spanish fighting bulls.

With expertise and connections made, JB Ranch was identified as the perfect test site as it has suffered consistent calf losses to panthers. Operated by Russell and Aliese “Liesa” Priddy, the ranch is just north of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.

Naples Zoo purchased the cattle from an Arizona breeder and JB Ranch coordinated and paid for transporting eleven bred cows and one bull to their Immokalee ranch.

Following delays from hurricanes in Texas and Florida, the cattle arrived in December 2017. As of this writing, half a dozen calves have been born. The true test will come over time to see if these cows defend their calves against coyotes, bears, vultures – and especially panthers.

If this pilot program shows promise, these cattle could be incorporated to protect more herds throughout the state. If sufficient numbers of ranches become protected in this way, panthers may someday teach their offspring to avoid cattle altogether.

Keeping ranchlands working and profitable instead of being converted to developments puts food on our table and provides jobs for thousands of Floridians while also maintaining natural systems that keep our beaches, waters, and lands healthy. It also means a future for panthers, other native wildlife, and for Florida’s rich ranching heritage.

See the 8-minute documentary created through a partnership between Naples Zoo and Big Cypress National Preserve and understand more at

Look what has washed ashore at the Naples ZOO

by Kelsey Burr, Naples Zoo Marketing Associate

It’s an issue that most people know about: plastic pollution in our oceans. But sometimes the message doesn’t quite hit home until people see just how much plastic is washing ashore. “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea” aims to do just that. By creating art sculptures made entirely of debris that’s washed ashore, the organization’s goal is to educate a global audience about plastic pollution in oceans and waterways and spark positive changes in consumer habitats.

Since the project began in 2010, thousands of pounds of trash have been removed from beaches. That trash was then processed into more than 70 works of art, which travel the country to raise awareness about the
plight of the world’s oceans and marine life. Washed Ashore will be featured at Naples Zoo from November 17, 2018 to April 21, 2019 and will showcase 11 large sculptures. At Naples Zoo, our mission is to inspire people of all ages to respect, value, and help conserve wildlife and our natural world, and this exhibit fits that mission perfectly.

All of the sculptures are of animals that are affected by plastic pollution. The 11 pieces coming to Naples
Zoo are a sea star, shark, jelly, polar bear, penguin, humpback whale tail, seal, salmon, octopus, a parrot fish,
and a trigger fish. Each piece is carefully created, with a specific message. For example, the seal piece is made of a variety of lids, buoys, netting, and wheels to represent that seals can become entangled in nets, ropes, and
rubber rings or directly ingest bits of plastic.

Washed Ashore was founded by Angela Haseltine Pozzi, an artist and teacher from Oregon. She grew up visiting Oregon’s ocean shore every summer, and wished to educate others about the importance of the arts and the beauty of nature. Recycling and repurposing materials were part of her life from the beginning and was the basis for her first body of exhibited work entitled, “Undetermined Species”, a collection of coral reefs and invented invertebrates made from recycled clothes and thrift store items.

Her artwork was thriving and her work fulfilling when tragedy hit in 2002 with the sudden death of her husband of 25 years. Looking for meaning in life, she went to the ocean to heal, but what she found was an ocean that needed healing. Pozzi found her life’s calling: to make art to save the sea. Today more than 10,000 volunteers have helped clean beaches and worked with Washed Ashore to fulfill its mission. Pozzi vows, “Until we run out of plastic on the beach, we will keep doing our work.” Pozzi will be visiting Naples Zoo on November 15, 2018 to speak as part of our Conservation Lecture Series. The event will be from 6 pm – 8 pm. Naples Zoo members get in free and general admission is $10 at the door. RSVP at


by Teresa M. Araque

Leticia Pizarro Padilla, manager, veterans services at Hodges University, assists a Hodges student veteran in the Dr. Peter Thomas veterans services
center. The Naples and Fort Myers campuses each have a center designed specifically to assist military veterans make that transition from military to civilian to academic life. Hodges University, a Yellow Ribbon Program participant and military friendly school, also offers veteran students tuition discounts. Photo courtesy Hodges University.

Making the transition from military life, to civilian life, and then academic life, poses its own challenges for veteran students.

At Hodges University, there is the Dr. Peter Thomas Veterans Services Center (VSC) on the Naples and Fort Myers campuses. It’s a place for them to relax, to socialize with fellowstudent veterans, and a one-stop place to learn about additional resources for them and their families.

The center was named for Peter Thomas, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II and fought in five European campaigns. His awards include five battle stars, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He and his wife, Stella, settled in Naples in 1966 and he continued his passion for supporting veterans, and an illustrious career as an award-winning narrator.

“The Veteran Services has been paramount to me, as I was able to discuss questions relating to the GI Bill benefits that I am using to attend Hodges,” said Phuc “Sean” Tran, US Army, Operation Enduring Freedom.

“They were very helpful in providing me guidance and advice as a new student and even now as an about to be graduate in the making.”

Tran will graduate with his Bachelor’s in cyber security and computer forensics in 2019. Hodges University has been named among the Military Times’ BEST colleges for 2018, and is designated as a military friendly school.

“There truly are a lot of adjustments that you make once you leave military service and return to civilian life,” said Leticia Pizarro Padilla, manager, Veterans Services at Hodges University, and who was a staff sergeant in the New York State Army Guard.

“We work with our veteran students to answer their education questions, and we can refer them to community resources. Throughout the year we also have events on campus and in the community, and now we have designated parking on both campuses to thank and honor our veteran students for their service.”

In fact, Hodges University is hosting a Veterans Resource Fair and Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 17 on the Naples campus. The event, sponsored by Wounded Warriors of Collier County, is free and open to the public. Local Collier County employers and organizations will be available to provide information.

Additionally, families can enjoy a variety of fun activities, including bounce houses, therapy horses, armored vehicle displays and food vendors.

Hodges University also offers veteran students tuition discounts and participates in The Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows qualifying veteran students who reached the top of the Veteran Administration’s cap of tuition and fees, to receive up to $6,000 in additional tuition and fees assistance for the academic year.

“Our mission is to provide a place where we support our military veterans, service members and their families so they can reach their academic and career goals,” said Pizarro Padilla.

“The VSC is a taste of that military camaraderie that all of us veterans came to know and love without realizing how definitively special this culture was, and how much it could be missed in the hustle and bustle of the civilian world,” said Jessica Dang, US Army, studying to earn her MBA.

“Supporting veterans shows the community that Hodges cares about those who serve and protect our great nation, and that Hodges is now doing its part to serve veterans and the community by having a military-friendly environment in which military personnel, veterans, their children and spouses can be supported in their transition to their new roles in civilian society.”