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Thanks for Helping Us Preserve Periwinkle Wetlands

May 24, 2021
The signs on Periwinkle Way promoting SCCF’s latest land preservation effort now bear bright red emblems declaring: “THANK YOU! YOU DID IT!” Pictured here, l to r, are SCCF CEO Ryan Orgera, Ph.D., and Board of Trustees President Don Rice smiling with gratitude.
That message of appreciation is directed at the approximately 150 families that contributed to SCCF’s Periwinkle Wetlands land acquisition campaign. With gifts ranging from $25 to $1 million, these donors have assured that 12-plus acres of wildlife habitat running from Periwinkle Way to the Sanibel River will be protected in perpetuity. Prior plans were to develop 13 or more homes on the property.
“This is a great day for conservation,” said Orgera. “Saving this habitat that connects to other already preserved interior wetlands provides the last piece to a significant wildlife corridor along the Sanibel River. We are also very excited to take an unattractive stretch of land along Periwinkle Way and convert it into a beautiful community gathering place where people can contemplate the beauty of nature that surrounds us.”
Photo above by Shane Antalick
Lead Gift Made by Puschels
As previously announced, the lead gift was made by Philip and Roberta Puschel, longtime SCCF supporters and volunteers, who have been granted naming rights to the new preserve and are pictured here.
Other naming opportunities granted to major donors for features within the preserve will also be announced after significant work is done on the property.
Before then, intensive restoration will be undertaken to remove Class I invasive exotics including java plum (Syzygium cumini) and Australian pines (Casuarina equisetifolia). Surveys are being conducted to see which Class II exotic trees are being used by birds of prey and care will be taken to leave those in place. Because the property was once used as a non-native nursery, the ground cover will also need to be restored, with low-lying invasive plants removed on the front three acres of the property.
“We will shortly close on the property for a discounted purchase price of $2 million,” said SCCF Board President Don Rice. “The balance of the campaign funds will then be used for these significant restoration, improvements, and maintenance costs. I am so grateful to my fellow Trustees and all the other very generous donors who have helped us achieve this most recent and significant accomplishment in SCCF’s 54-year history of land acquisition.”
After the initial restoration is completed, community improvements will be designed on the front three acres of the property along the 525 feet of Periwinkle Way perimeter. Those improvements include a 1,000-foot loop trail connected to Sanibel’s shared-use path at two points, a welcome plaza with a bike rack and water bottle refill station, pollinator and sculpture gardens, and a demonstration marsh highlighting the importance of water quality within Sanibel’s freshwater wetlands. SCCF will begin this work upon closing and hopes to complete the improvements and open the preserve’s front section to the public within a two-year timeframe.
Since its incorporation in 1967, SCCF has grown its standing as a land trust, to date preserving approximately 2,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land on Sanibel, other Southwest Florida barrier islands including North Captiva, and in the cities of Cape Coral, and Fort Myers.
Photo above by David Meardon


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