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Revitalizing Sanibel Island: A Progress Update on Puschel Preserve

March 20, 2024
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Nestled along Periwinkle Way, SCCF’s Puschel Preserve has seen a serious transformation since Hurricane Ian first hit in September 2022. We are happy to bring you an update on the strides made in transforming this former Hurricane Ian staging site into a vibrant sanctuary for both wildlife and humans alike.

The Puschel Preserve was acquired in 2021 through a $2 million public campaign, with a generous lead donation from Philip and Roberta Puschel. It features more than 12 acres of critical wildlife habitat running from Periwinkle Way to the Sanibel River.

Most of the property will remain closed to the public as wildlife habitat, while the front five acres along Periwinkle Way, which served as a staging area for Hurricane Ian debris, are being transformed to welcome and educate visitors in a serene native setting.

We are thrilled to announce that significant progress has been made in clearing the preserve of invasive trees and vegetation. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, the vast majority of the area has been reclaimed, paving the way for the implementation of various enhancements.

This past winter we planted the pollinator garden, and it is growing in beautifully! Now, we are focusing on our ponds and demonstration wetlands. Over 1,000 plants were planted last weekend by our Coastal Watch volunteers.

“As we celebrate the milestones achieved thus far, we also recognize that there is still much to be done. In the coming months, we invite members of the community to look out for volunteer events to join our efforts in restoring Sanibel Island!”  

– Kealy McNeal, Coastal Watch Director 

In the words of anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

With our partners and volunteers, SCCF has the power once again to breathe new life into the land, creating a conservation legacy that will endure for generations to come.

The Future of Puschel Preserve  

The vision for Puschel Preserve encompasses a diverse array of features, each designed to enhance the visitor experience while fostering ecological balance. The front acreage will showcase many wonderful features including a welcome plaza, pollinator garden, walking/biking trail, sculpture garden, and demonstration marsh. Every aspect of the preserve has been carefully considered to maximize its potential as a haven for biodiversity.

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