Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Protecting Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of life...now and forever.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida was founded in 1964 and is dedicated to protecting the water, land and wildlife in the region. This is accomplished through the synergies of environmental education, science, policy and wildlife rehabilitation, supported by gifts from generous individuals and organizations who care about our future and quality of life.
As part of its educational mission, the 21-acre Conservancy Nature Center has recently completed a $20 million renovations which offer abundant learning opportunities, special activities such as camps for children, and other unique programming and events and is designated as Site #69 on the “Great Florida Birding Trail.” In addition to the new entrance, Smith Preserve Way, just south of the Naples Zoo off Goodlette-Frank Rd., new features include the Dalton Discovery Center, von Arx Wildlife Hospital nursery viewing area, Windfeldt Shorebird Pool, Shotwell Wavering Filter Marsh, Christopher B. Smith Preserve, Eaton Conservation Hall with Jeannie Meg Smith Theater, electric boat rides up the Gordon River from the Allyn Family Dock and Lagoon, and Ferguson Learning Lab.
Kayak rentals and excursions are available for a fee. No visit is complete without a visit to the Bradley Nature Store to select from nature-inspired gifts, toys, jewelry, t-shirts, hats, art and cards. Other Conservancy Nature Center features include a live sea turtle display and touch tank. Electric boat ride schedule changes seasonally and are subject to weather and tide conditions.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida - Offsite Adventures
During season (generally Dec. - April,) the Conservancy of Southwest Florida offers various nature tours:
- Good Fortune II Pontoon Boat Cruise through Rookery Bay estuary
- Free Nature Walks at Brigg’s Boardwalk, Clam Pass and Tigertail beach
Conservancy of Southwest Florida - History
The work of saving our environment started in 1964 when plans were revealed to build a road through Rookery Bay, crossing Gordon Pass and into the Ten Thousand Islands. A small group of citizens became concerned, involved, and politically active mobilizing grassroots efforts to prevent the project. As a result, the road was never built. Rookery Bay and its inhabitants were saved and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida was founded.
Since then, the Conservancy has expanded its scope across the five counties in southwest Florida: Collier, Charlotte, Lee, Hendry and Glades. We have concerns about our water. Will it be clean? Will we have enough? Over one million acres of rural lands are proposed for development. Will it be done in a way that protects lands vital to our survival --- and to the 60 listed, endangered and threatened species in Florida? We are constantly working to find a sensible balance between the demands of a growing population, a healthy economy and the preservation of our natural resources.
Von Arx Wildlife Hospital and Wildlife Research
Conservancy of Southwest Florida has also been providing care to injured, orphaned and sick native since 1973 and treats over 3,000 animals each year, releasing about half back into their natural habitats. Since 1981, the Conservancy has operated a Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Program, which enjoys the distinction of being one of the country's most established and respected such programs. Other wildlife studies include Florida panther monitoring, Everglades habitat restoration and gopher tortoise protection.