Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve August – October 2020

Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters, encompassing 40% of Collier County coastline. The Reserve is committed to preservation through research, education and land protection.

The Rookery Bay Environmental Education Center offers a variety of hands-on experiences for all ages, including aquariums, interactive exhibits, an art gallery, nature trails, picnic areas, lectures and classes, exhibitions and receptions and much more. Visitors can also explore the unique ecosystem of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve via Rookery Bay’s boat and daily kayak tours that offer an up-close and personal experience in nature. When you choose to spend the day at Rookery Bay, know that you are exploring one of the last and largest remaining undisturbed mangrove habitats in North America.

To learn more, visit

Rookery Bay’s Virtual Family & Educational Activities Web Page

The Rookery Bay Family Activities web page is the place to go for all virtual family and education programs continuing to happen at Rookery Bay.

It’s a great way to learn all about nature, wildlife and waters of Southwest Florida. The page is filled with interactive videos, presentations, tours and downloadable activities about everything from sea turtles and sharks to environmental conservation methods and water quality testing. Have some fun with your family and learn about the nature and wildlife with Rookery Bay anytime at

Breakfast with the Birds Lectures Virtually Via Zoom

Birds as Bioindicators: What Studying Birds Tells Us About the Health of Our Planet

August 19 • 9:30 – 10:30 am • $10Registration is required

Participants can learn virtually online (as they sip their coffee at home) about the shorebirds and seabirds of Southwest Florida at Rookery Bay’s Breakfast with the Birds Virtual Lectures. The series is presented by Audubon Florida expert Adam DiNuovo and hosted by Rookery Bay Research Reserve.

Adam has been working with shorebirds and seabirds across the United States and beyond for more than 15 years.

“Virtual” Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop

August 10 September 21 October 5 9:30 am – 12:30 pm • $55Registration is required

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, this camera online workshop is for you. The class covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity.

Sonny Saunders has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction and is renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of students.

Science Solutions Online Webinar Series: Working Together to Protect Rookery Bay

August 6 • Protecting Shorebirds at the Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area

September 8 • Getting the Water Right at Rookery Bay

October 13 • Restoring the Ghost Mangrove Forest of Fruit Farm Creek on Marco Island 1:00 pm • FREE Registration is required

From August to October, anyone interested in learning more about Rookery Bay’s 40+ years of conservation efforts can attend FREE online webinars. In addition, environmental and conservation professionals can then take it to the next level by participating in interactive skill building workshops to follow.

Rookery Bay Kayak & Boat Tours– Going Strong All Summer & Fall

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve for a guided boat tour or kayak adventure into the beautiful waters of Rookery Bay with our exclusive partner: Rising Tide Explorers! All the guides are active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors making them the most qualified guides in the region. With our kayak tours, guests paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphins and manatees! Our boat tours are small 6 passenger boats and offer a comfortable and informative ride. Guests can choose from different tours including a shelling trip to a deserted barrier island, a sunset tour, a backwater plants and wildlife trip, or an excursion to the highest point in Collier Country with a visit to an ancient sand dune.

Contact us at or call 239-530-5972.

Heart to Heart – After “Safer at Home,” What’s Next?

Karen Coney Coplin

by Karen Coney Coplin

Many a truth is said in jest and many a life’s lesson is expressed in a timeless quote.

There are quotes for every season, and, if you dig deep enough (thanks, Google!) for every reason, or problem, or opportunity that might cross your path.

Some of my favorites include:

  1. “Health is the real wealth.” – Gandhi (true then, true now, true always).
  2. “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” – Naomi Williams (alas, that moment may be fleeting).
  3. Calm always follows the storm (paraphrasing Shannon L. Alder, “After every storm, there is a rainbow.”) And yes – we might have to wait it out and wait for it.
  4. “Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden. A reminder that mindset is a large part of everything we experience and do.

The last several months have been hard on everyone’s psyche, whether at home or in the workforce; and, especially as to the latter -so many businesses had to close earlier this year, during the height of season, or scale back dramatically, as in the case of our favorite local restaurants. And some have not re-opened. A slice of someone’s life in Naples, altered forever.

One newsworthy moment that really packed a wallop during the COVID-19 crisis was the news that the area’s Nordstrom store was closing – for good.

My thoughts first went to the hundreds of employees. Prior to this news, some had posted hopeful messages on social media, because Nordstrom continued to pay salaries, insurance, and the like for the first two, then three weeks of the shut-down. Then the news came that this store would not re-open.

Then, I remembered the dazzling efforts of the creative team which opened this store to great fanfare over a decade ago. Their grand opening welcome party was on everyone’s list! Its closure, an end to an era, is unfortunate news on many levels. We all wait to see what phoenix might arise in its place at Waterside Shops. Hopefully sooner than later for the good of life in Naples.

If we rise by lifting others, there are many ways to make a difference with local businesses. It is too late for this national retailer, but we can take many different, and often easy action steps to support our favorite Naples businesses.

  • Do you receive their newsletter or email alerts? Sign up, share, and shop when you can. Be a cheerleader. Tell your friends and family.
  • Are you following them on social media? Share a post, tag a friend, make a comment, like or love what they have to say.
  • Positive experiences can lead, naturally, to positive reviews. Take a moment to post a thank you for great service or assistance. Or, take the old fashioned (and still very much appreciated route) and send a handwritten note of thanks or a commendation to the owner/manager. A little appreciation goes a long way. Or, if you’re so inclined, a small gift, or gift card, is always welcome.

Another favorite quote of mine: “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel” (paraphrasing Maya Angelou).

Here’s to all the feels – as well as a shout out for a locally founded “KindCarded” movement, busy blazing trails of joy, kindness and positivity. No need for any of these to be in short supply in life in Naples. Be inspired. Take note!

If there ever was a time, the time is NOW! Do you want to encourage acts of kindness, large and small? Be a part of the KindCarded movement?

Local photographer and mom Heather Donlan has created beautiful cardstock messages, which offer words of affirmation, encouragement and inspiration. These cards can be passed out as a simple, small act of kindness to brighten someone’s spirits or even make someone’s day. As she declares on the movement’s website, “Pretty much every human can use kind words and a little encouragement from time to time.”

Be kindhearted. Be KindCarded! “You make me laugh” is one such card out of the set of 48 offering caring and expressive sayings. Share these with loved ones; or an acquaintance or a passing stranger. Let the ripple effect begin with you!

A shout-out to #shopsmall #shoplocal:The KindCarded gift box sets are available locally at Haven- The Collective, located at 950 3rd Ave. N., Suite B, Naples, FL 34102, or online:

See the article postscript for a chance to win a KindCarded set.

Email Karen with article ideas concerning Life in Naples (especially as to local charitable organizations and their activities in the age of Covid-19): Follow her on Instagram for more vignettes about Life in Naples: @naplesbythenumbers. Readers, send along your favorite, if lesser known, quote or inspiration concerning kindness or gratitude. One will be selected to receive the KindCarded gift set and announced here in the November issue.

What Has the Pandemic Taught Naples?

by Jeff Lytle

W hat has our community learned from the pandemic? I put that question to a cross-section of community leaders who made time in their busy schedules to respond.

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk

Although we have not dealt with a pandemic in our lifetimes, we have learned that being prepared, as well as having a great plan and emergency response trained professionals, has been as successful as it is in other emergencies such as hurricanes and wildfires. Since January we have been working to prepare for, prevent and address COVID-19.

Our many community partnerships and the dedication of our deputies have been key to that effort.

Kamela Patton, Collier County Public Schools Superintendent

CCPS learned our students, staff and parents are resilient and adept at adjusting to a new education model in an extremely short time. Collier was one of four Florida counties, out of 67, to lead the way in virtual learning following campus closures. More than 45,000 CCPS students engaged in a flexible, online learning format for the last nine weeks of the school year.

The pandemic reinforced our firm belief in the value of community partnerships. Whether working with food banks to complement our massive meal distribution or hearing valuable guidance from the Department of Health-Collier, our families benefited from CCPS nurturing deep community roots long before the pandemic.

Paul Hiltz, CEO of NCH Healthcare System

This pandemic has been a shining example of the human spirit. The way the compassionate Naples community has come together to support each other has been nothing short of amazing. I was proud to witness first-hand how this community rallied behind our frontline workers and our staff by donating meals, masks and other resources, and even generous monetary contributions.

Prior to joining this incredible healthcare organization, I had heard about the powerful Naples community, but this has inspired me. Now more than ever, NCH Healthcare System is honored to serve our community with quality patient care.

Dr. Paul Jones, Immediate Past President of NCH Medical Staff

I think the medical community has learned how under-prepared we were for a pandemic. Initially, the guidance from the CDC and the federal government was lacking and, at times, misleading. Much of the responsibility fell to county health departments and these were terribly underfunded and didn ot have the capacity to offer significant advice, testing, contact tracing or suggestions for treatment.

On the bright side, I was very impressed with the rapidity of the response from our community health systems and the willingness of our providers to help.

We need to be better prepared at all levels for the next time, as there will be a next time.

Eileen Connolly-Keesler, CEO, Community Foundation of Collier County

When COVID-19 started, as our area’s philanthropic first responder we immediately opened a fund. But this pandemic is different from a hurricane that affects one area. We worried our donors might not be able to respond, as the crisis is worldwide. They responded to the tune of $1.5 million, proving their commitment to our community — no matter what.

As always, our nonprofits jumped into action providing boots-on-the-ground services to those in need despite health concerns of operating.

We also learned that not only can we operate remotely, but our team is persevering enough todo it well!

Michael Dalby, President/CEO, Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce

While we have shown we are resilient and can carry forward, we’ve also observed, once again, how important it is to strive to diversify our economy. We need jobs beyond tourism and hospitality. We need more high-wage, high-skill jobs in emerging technologies supporting financial, legal, aerospace, health care and transportation industries. We need to offer a welcoming home to remote workers and remoted headquarters. We need to continue to support our legacy industries, and we need to take steps
to welcome sectors of our evolving 21st century economy.


Tony Ridgway, Longtime Restaurateur

If your community accepts the pandemic as real, you’ve learned to live with masks, self-quarantining, social distancing and standards of sanitization never before witnessed. If your community is one that has been ravaged by Covid-19, your fear levels have increased and hopefully the response to the pandemic has equally increased to help mitigate the issues. In each of those communities you’ve found new friends and caregivers who truly do have your backs.

Hopefully the entire community has learned to more fully appreciate the commitment to excellence and care of our healthcare workers and we have attained new levels of appreciation for our health and welfare.

Mike Reagen, retired CEO, Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, and wife, Susan

While masked and walking around our neighborhood, we saw children and other people, and landscaping, that we had not previously noticed; We learned the pleasure of doing crossword puzzles from newspapers … and almost finishing them (and only cheating a little);

We used online genealogy searches of our ancestors for ideas for digital books we hope to publish for family; And we learned the whereabouts of dozens of high school classmates — after 57 years!

Brent Batten, Naples Daily News Columnist

What have we learned? Not much, I sometimes think, as I see people in stores not wearing masks.

It’s not a political statement. It’s just a preventative step. What I think we’ve learned that should pay off for our region in the long-term is the degree to which the components of our healthcare system can collaborate and cooperate. Surely, once this has passed, those new networks and relationships simply won’t go away.

How Zoo Horticulture Works

by Danielle L. Green, Naples Zoo Director of Gardens and Grounds

Zoo horticulture is a unique blend of specialties that work with plants but often include skills in arboriculture.

A “zoo arborist” shares many skills and tree care goals with a municipal arborist but perform under a unique set of circumstances not often encountered in a municipal setting.

The life of a tree in the zoo environment can be tough. Thankfully, many tools and techniques exist that can improve soil and maintain proper tree health. At Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida, we have a unique combination of historical and tropical specimens that tell a story about the property as well as create a lush and beautiful backdrop for the animals and exhibits.

Many of our specimen trees date back to the early 1900s, planted by Dr. Henry Nehrling, and require specialized care regimens. Our climate allows for many tropical and subtropical species that serve many functions: beauty, shade for animals and guests, food for the animals to browse, perching sites for birds, scratching posts for tigers, and “furniture” that encourages animals to explore and be active in their exhibit habitat.

Managing the tree canopy in a zoo environment requires organization and consistent monitoring. Safety of the animal collection and the zoo guests is always a priority.

Frequent inspections and documentation serve to ensure specimens are healthy and concerns are addressed promptly. Access to many specimens can be difficult because of adjacent structures such as restrooms, playgrounds, food areas, or animal exhibits…or animals decide they do not want to shift inside holding areas!

Coconut removal over the alligator exhibit is always an adventure! Tree work such as pruning or root therapy requires specific planning and good communication amongst all departments. Most tree care activities impact the guest experience and sometimes require moving of animals to facilitate work.

Protecting trees from animals browsing, climbing, or scratching within an exhibit is a challenge for the zoo arborist different from that of a municipal or residential arborist. Many creative solutions exist such as using boulders or other objects to distance animals for the trees, flashing materials installed along the trunk, or managing the tree size inside the exhibit to contain animals if they do interact with the trees.

Signage and interpretation of the tree work being performed can serve to educate zoo guests and even staff on proper pruning, plant healthcare techniques, and pest and disease control

.Signage also educates zoo guests about how some trees species provide browse for the animals. In many cases, pruning debris is offered to animals like giraffe as part of their daily enrichment or a limb removal becomes a perch for a bird in the collection. Each species offered to animals must be approved by the veterinarian staff.

Soil compaction is a common issue in the zoo environment. Many tree specimens are located between exhibits, adjacent to public pathways and facilities, and within event spaces. This means they are subject to constant foot traffic from guests, staff, zoo animals, and construction activities that compact the soil.

Employing technology and systems developed for the arbor industry such as air-powered excavators and pressurized injection systems are used at the zoo to reverse soil compaction issues and get fertilization to the root system. This is extremely important in exhibits with large animals such as elephant and rhino as they compact soil easily.

Maintaining a healthy urban forest in a zoo is an essential part of caring for wildlife, educating guests, and offering a beautiful garden to visit.

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Naples Welcomes Cornea Specialist Dr. Jamie D. Martinez

Dr. Jamie D. Martinez

The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Naples welcomed Dr. Jamie D. Martinez in May 2020. He and his wife made the move to Naples right amid COVID-19 with their four-year old twin girls, and baby boy set to arrive July 2020.

Dr. Martinez completed his ophthalmology residency at one of the best eye centers in Latin America Asociación para Evitarla Ceguera, Mexico City in March of 2017.

After his residency, he became part of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute family and completed his one year research fellowship and continued for two years of training on Cornea, Cataract and External disease with Bascom Palmer.

In 2018 Dr. Martinez received the Gillingham Pan-American fellowship award for his research efforts. The funding propelled his research fellowship and allowed him to explore his interests of of corneal infections, ocular corneal surface disease, and high-risk corneal transplants.

Dr. Martinez has great interest in infectious keratitis and seeks to develop novel therapies for this challenging disease. Currently, he is conducting research on the use of Rose Bengal Photodynamic Antimicrobial therapy (PDAT). He reports the progress has been successful in understanding the new treatment along with its application, and there remain many aspects to continue to study and develop.

His latest work has explored the safety of this technique in a rabbit model which has successfully treated several clinical cases of severe unresponsive corneal infections resistant to standard medical therapy. The treatment of PDAT resolved the keratitis, preventing the need for emergent therapeutic penetrating keratoplasty.

Dr. Martinez looks forward to continued innovations in the field of corneal infections and exploring new methods and techniques to combat this challenging disease. He has always envisioned himself as a clinician scientist and to be a part of a team where he can provide excellent clinical care, participate in research endeavors, and be actively involved in teaching residents and medical students. Cataracts are a leading cause of blindness across the world.

Throughout the past three years, Dr. Martinez has been doing international cataract surgery missions trying to help the fight against blindness.

Etiquette Expert Peggy Post Teaches Students to Put Their Best Foot Forward

Michele Brown, The Immokalee Foundation’s Randall Kenneth Jones, and Peggy Post on a February 2020 tour of the foundation.

How should you greet someone now that handshakes aren’t a wise move? What’s okay to say when texting – and what’s not? What are some strategies for making a good first impression?

These are a few of the many questions etiquette expert Peggy Post answered during an interactive online seminar held exclusively in June for The Immokalee Foundation’s high school students.

“Putting Your Best Foot Forward” explained the basics of etiquette, while providing tips and advice to help students make positive impressions on others and treat everyone they encounter with respect.

The great-granddaughter-in-law of etiquette authority Emily Post and the director emeritus of the Emily Post Institute, Post has been discussing etiquette for decades, penning popular magazine columns, appearing on a number of television programs, and conducting lectures and seminars around the country.

She is the author or co-author of more than a dozen etiquette books, including the 18th edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette, Manners for a New World.”

Post also conducted lectures and seminars on business and wedding etiquette throughout the United States and has been interviewed by hundreds of media outlets.

Guests tour The Immokalee Foundation, including Peggy Post (back row, third from left)

During The Immokalee Foundation’s online seminar, Post instilled in students why etiquette matters.

“I hope that each student gained an appreciation of – and a passion for – the importance of etiquette,” Post said. “My wish was for each attendee to understand that being kind goes a long way toward self-respect and respect for others. Learning basic considerate behaviors and tried and-true manners for every occasion can boost your confidence. I hope, too, that everyone had fun along the way as we discussed many everyday issues.”

Post, now retired and living in Southwest Florida, was inspired to share her expertise with The Immokalee Foundation after a tour she attended in February. Her seminar was just one of the virtual experiences available for students during the summer, when the Covid-19 pandemic required changes in operations.

Using a variety of online tools and virtual experiences, these high school students continued their summer work in the foundation’s groundbreaking program, “Career Pathways: Empowering Students to Succeed.”

An Immokalee Foundation student attends a summer professional development seminar.

Career Pathways helps prepare students for career opportunities in Southwest Florida in four primary employment sectors: Health Care, Education & Human Services, Engineering & Construction Management, and Business Management & Entrepreneurship.

These pathways include in demand jobs with average annual salaries ranging from $40,000 to $99,000, the majority of which can be attained with professional certifications and credentials.

“Peggy Post’s thought-provoking workshop provided training for our students that will give them an edge in the workplace and beyond,” said Amber Barr, program services director for The Immokalee Foundation. “Her expertise and passion are a huge asset to the foundation and we are thankful that our students will continue to benefit.”

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, 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

Lessons From Your Youth That Could Save Your Life

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

Look both ways before crossing the street. Wear light colors at night so people can see you. Walk against vehicle traffic. Ride your bike in the same direction as other vehicles.

We probably all learned these and other important safety tips from our parents or at school when we were kids, but it seems like a lot of people have forgotten some of the most basic principles of bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Please read these important reminders and pass them along to your neighbors and friends. You just may save a life!

  • Pedestrians must walk AGAINST traffic (this includes the shoulder, travel lane, and bike lane.)
  • Pedestrians should use sidewalks wherever present. If you must leave the sidewalk, move to the grass, and only enter the road if you are facing against traffic.
  • Never step out in front of someone approaching on a bike or in a car. If you must exit the sidewalk for the shoulder, travel lane, or bike lane, look both ways before entering.
  • Cross at a crosswalk or controlled intersection, never mid-block. Drivers do not expect people in the middle of the road and landscaping may prevent them from seeing you until it is too late.
  • Look both ways, keep your head up, and avoid distractions. Keep your phone in your pocket.
  • Pedestrians may use the travel or bike lane(against traffic), if there are no sidewalks.
  • Be considerate. When walking/running in the shoulder/bike lane, stay single-file or step onto the grass to allow bikes to pass and avoid forcing them into the travel lane. Cyclists are traveling with traffic and cannot see vehicles behind them; pedestrians can see overtaking cars if facing the correct way.
  • Cyclists should always wear a properly fitting helmet. It is mandatory for you thunder the age of 16, and smart for EVERYONE.
  • Cyclists must ride WITH traffic and obey all road rules. This includes making complete stops at all stop signs/signaled red lights and using hand signals when turning in traffic.
  • Cyclists should use bike lanes if they are present unless there is a safety hazard.
  • Always bike with your head up, alert to hazard son or approaching the road.
  • Cyclists must NEVER wear earbuds or headphones to listen to music. Its unsafe and illegal.
  • Cyclists may use sidewalks when there are not bike lanes present except when posted as restricted (for example, downtown on 5th Avenue South).
  • Use extreme caution if riding on a sidewalk. Driveways and parking lot entrances and exits are frequent collision points.
  • Use extreme caution when entering the shoulder, travel lane, or bike lane if obstructions or hazards make the bike lane or sidewalk unsafe, use extreme caution.
  • Motorists are legally required to give at least three feet clearance when passing a person on a bike. Slowing down until it is safe to legally to pass a cyclist will not change your travel time, but it could save a life.
  • ALWAYS LOOK for people biking and walking before turning into or out of a parking lot, driveway, or turn lane.

Naples Pathways Coalition, Naples Velo, Blue Zones Project SWFL and many local bicycle/pedestrian education and advocacy organizations have been working together to educate all road and pathway users – whether driver, cyclist, or pedestrian – how to move safely and correctly along shared corridors. We are working to teach not only the rules of the road, but also proper etiquette in communicating predictable movement to ensure safe streets for all.

With proper caution and adherence to these reminders, we can all do our part to improve the safety of vulnerable road users.

Please visit to learn how YOU can join the movement to create a safe, bikeable, and walkable Naples!

Are We Really Communicating About Your Color?

by Erick Carter

Like other professions, hairstylists have their own language.

Understanding it means you will be happier with the tone and depth of your hair coloring.

Depth is based on a measurement of 1-10, the darkest to the lightest, essentially black to very light blonde.

Tone is slightly more complicated. There are two basic tones-warm and cool. Warm tones are gold, red and a mixture of those two which is orange or copper. Cool tones are ash tones and include blue, beige and green, a combination of blue and yellow.

When a warm tone is mixed with a cool tone, usually the cool tone will dominate.

Beige is a tricky tone to use as it leans towards violet (red and blue) and could turn hair a pinkish color.

Communicating with your stylist, you are now able to discuss more knowledgeably about the depth and tone you are trying to achieve.

There is another factor that your stylist understands—underlying contributing pigment. That will be a future article!

If you have any questions feel free to email me.

Erick Carter

Salon Zenergy239-777-2380

How to Choose Your Contractor

by Clay Cox
Owner/President • Kitchens by Clay

I hear that congratulations are in order. You have wisely taken the first steps towards that kitchen remodel that you have always wanted. That means by getting referrals from friends and neighbors, clipping pictures from magazines and compiling that ever so important “wish list”.

Most likely your referral sources recommended more than one cabinet company and you are about to meet with them. This of course is the most important step and doing your homework upfront will save you time, energy, frustration and money.

Finding the cabinet company that you want to work with is much more involved than just choosing the wood species and color choice of your cabinets. What most people are not aware of, nor are they expected to be, is the actual scope of the work and all it entails.

In other words, “what’s behind those walls?” A true kitchen remodel professional will provide you with an accurate assessment.

To get started with your interviews ask the following general key questions:

  • How long have they been doing kitchen remodels in your area? Importance: The actual construction and code process varies significantly in different parts of the United States. This could affect the outcome of your remodel.
  • How many kitchen remodels are they averaging per year? Importance: Experience
  • Do you have permission to call any of their past kitchen remodel clients at your discretion? Importance: Find out if they are doing their job!

Lastly, was trust established and do you feel they are a comfortable fit for you? After all, you will be working closely with them for several months to come.

Enjoy your home,


7935 Airport Road, Suites 5 and 6, Naples, FL 34109

T: 239.431.5474 F: 239.431.5472

Chicago Influence Deeply Rooted in Naples

Many great institutions make up Naples.

Artis-Naples, The Conservancy, Naples Botanical Garden and even the Naples Pier come to mind.

Now add the Naples Winter Wine Festival, Children’s Museum, Cambier Park’s Norris Center, Port Royal and Park Shore.

The impact covers our economy, arts, environment, recreation, children’s health and well-being, and education at all levels. Hard to believe all those institutions, all that good work, can be traced to visionaries from a single place.


Let’s start our story with Raymond Lutgert. He bought the 740 acres for the gulf-front Park Shore subdivision for $3.5 million in the mid-1960s; the taxable value now is $5 billion. He and son Scott would go on to develop shopping centers, Mercato, The Estuary at Grey Oaks, The Northern Trust Building and more, and add corporate subsidiaries, with a third generation joining in.

The legacy of philanthropy includes NCH Healthcare System, Boys & Girls Club, Florida South Western College, Children’s Museum, Shelter for Abused Women & Children, Florida Gulf Coast University (Lutgert School of Business) and the wine festival, which has raised $212 million for youth hunger, dental, mental and eye health in 20 years.

Fellow Chicagoans have served on the wine fest board: Pauland Barbie Hills, Joe and Nancy Masterson, Peter and Shirley Welsh, Bob and Joan Clifford, Rick and Katrina Kash and David and Jerri Hoffman.

David Hoffman himself has earned headlines as a dominant investor in downtown Naples real estate, a variety of businesses and Hertz Arena/Florida Everblades in Estero.

The Hoffmans’ civic causes include the Naples Botanical Garden, Naples Zoo, Boys & Girls Club, Children’s Museum, Neighborhood Health Clinic and Naples Players.

Myra Daniels

Myra Daniels, a pioneering Chicago advertising executive, introduced world-class visual and performing arts as the founding CEO of the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts. She taught us the arts must b erun like a business. She added an emphasis on children, bringing them in by the school busload for memorable encounters with all the center has to offer.

Children are the pulse of Daniels’ followup project, the Fran Cohen Youth Center in East Naples, where hundreds of mostly underprivileged youngsters go after school and summers for tutelage in music, painting, science, technology, math and more.

John Glen Sample, another Chicago ad executive, would come to Naples in the 1940s and start buying up two square miles of mangrove swamp and dredge-and-fill it into today’s magnificent Port Royal.

In the early 1950s, when sales began, he said it would become the greatest place in America to live. Today’s residents, including a United States House and United States Senate member, would agree.

Jack Nortman, from Chicago, single-handedly engineered the search for and restoration of a Holocaust era boxcar that has served as a fixed and traveling education icon since 2008. He also serves on the board of the Gulfshore Playhouse, where he is a financial supporter alongside fellow Chicagoans John and Carol Walter, Susan Regenstein and Barry Frank, Rick and Katrina Kash, George and Barbara Franks and Mary and Stephen Byron Smith.

Community investing is a family affair for the Smiths. In a single year, 2013, David and Vicky Smith, Jeannie and Christopher Smith, and Mary and Stephen Smith, were named Philanthropists of the Year by an organization of fundraising professionals.

A Florida Weekly story said the Smiths’ contributions included the purchase of an historic house on Broad Avenue South for the Naples Historical Society; building the Christopher B. Smith Preserve at the Conservancy; and sponsoring named features at the Naples Botanical Garden including the Children’s Garden, River of Grass and a labyrinth.

Chicagoans Linda White and the late Harvey Kapnick listen to a garden planning presentation.

The garden gifts followed the lead of another Chicagoan, Harvey Kapnick, whose bold $5 million infusion in 2000 secured today’s site in East Naples. Other early supportive Chicagoans included Nicholas and Eleanor Chabraja, Jim LaGrippe, Bates Lea, Linda White and Pat Buehler. Kapnick’s botanic vision carries on with his son and daughter in law, Scott and Kathleen Kapnick –both Chicago natives — who remain involved and generous.

Lavern Gaynor

Our story concludes with another example of multi-generational impact. Lester and Dellora Norris, Chicagoans with leadership stakes in Texaco, started coming to Naples in the 1940s and helped build NCH, The Conservancy, Norris Center, Lowdermilk Park pavilion and Delnor-Wiggins State Park.

They rebuilt the Naples Pier after two storms. A daughter, also a Chicago native, Lavern Gaynor, carries on the legacy with support for the YMCA, libraries, Artis-Naples, Alliance for Children, Champions for Learning, Naples Historical Society, Youth Haven and Naples Backyard History.

Her gifts, as well as the gifts from all the others from Chicago, keep on giving.

Editor’s note: Who or what have we missed?

Email the writer with information for follow-up coverage.