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