2018 Speaker Series Schedule

Join us for great topics in the 2018 Speaker Series!

Mar. 20 - Sanibel Communities for Clean Water Apr. 10 - The Story of Ospreys
Mar. 27 - Wildlife on the Great Calusa Blueway *** Apr. 17 - Turtles of Pine Island Sound ***
Apr. 3 - Living in a Sea of Red: Challenges for Gulf Coast Wildlife  
*** - Live Animal Encounters at Presentation

Topics range from local environmental issues to species profiles as well as how to co-exist with our wildlife neighbors. Scroll down for topic descriptions and information on the presenters.


Sanibel Communities for Clean Water - March 20

Dana Dettmar, Environmental Specialist for the City of Sanibel

The City of Sanibel, in conjunction with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Marine Lab, conducted water quality sampling in lakes and ponds across the Island as part of the Sanibel Communities for Clean Water Program. The program recommends Best Management Practices (BMPs) to improve water quality with the goal that residents and visitors will adopt these voluntary, eco-friendly measures to improve the health of our lakes. 

Dana Dettmar is an Environmental Specialist for the Natural Resources Department at the City of Sanibel.  She received a B.S. degree in Environmental Science at Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia and a Masters’ degree in Environmental Science at Florida Gulf Coast University.  Dana’s masters’ thesis investigated the success of floating treatment wetlands as a way to improve water quality in stormwater ponds.  She began working for the City of Sanibel in December of 2015.  Prior to working for the City, Dana was a research assistant and biology instructor at FGCU, an environmental technician for the Collier County Sea Turtle Protection Program, and a naturalist for the ecotourism company, Adventures in Paradise.  Dana has been a Florida resident 2011, but is originally from the great state of New Jersey.



Wildlife on the Great Calusa Blueway - March 27 ***

Mike Hammond, Coordinator for the Great Calusa Blueway

The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail is a 190-mile marked canoe and kayak trail that meanders through the coastal waters and inland tributaries of Lee County, Florida. It attracts everyone from first-time kayakers to advanced paddlers and is home to abundant marine life, shore birds and crustaceans. This presentation will cover the history of the Blueway, points of Interest for paddlers and wildlife commonly seen along the trail.

Mike is lifelong paddler and an eleven-year Lee County Parks and Recreation staffer who has served as a park ranger, Florida Master Naturalist, ACA instructor, and Special Olympic SUP coach.  Mike believes the SWFL wildlife is one of the greatest assets to the Calusa Blueway, but it is important to know how enjoy it without causing harm to the wildlife or paddlers themselves.


Living in a Sea of Red: Challenges for Gulf Coast Wildlife - April 3

Heather W. Barron, DVM, Dipl. ABVP-avian

Dr. Heather Barron will discuss red tides and the effects on many different species (including humans and pets) and what CROW is doing to try to improve health in the Gulf Coast environment.

Dr. Heather Barron has been CROW's Hospital Director and Head Veterinarian since late fall of 2011. She received training in exotic and wild animal medicine and surgery through a residency at the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine, where she later became a tenured Associate Professor on the Zoological Medicine Service. She obtained further international experience as Professor and Department Head of Clinical Medicine at St. Matthew’s University, School of Veterinary Medicine in the Cayman Islands, where she was also the veterinarian for the Cayman Turtle Farm and Cayman Wildlife Rescue. She has served as a consultant for both IDEXX and Antech Imaging Services and is a former president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians. She is a board certified avian specialist and a licensed wildlife and sea turtle rehabilitator who has over 20 years of experience in practicing and teaching wildlife medicine. She has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific publications in her field.



The Story of Ospreys -  April 10

Claudia Burns, International Osprey Foundation Volunteer

Ospreys are large brown and white raptors who breed in southwest Florida from December through April and can be seen diving for live fish in shallow waters throughout the area. Because they build their nests right out in the open, their behavior is easy to observe, but not always easy to understand. This presentation uses photos, videos and recorded vocalizations to explain osprey behavior.

Sanibel resident Claudia Burns has been a Nestwatch Volunteer for the International Osprey Foundation for more than 20 years. In the past she has partnered with Bird Westall to deliver this presentation at both the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and CROW.


 Turtles of Pine Island Sound - April 17 ***

Chris Lechowicz, Director of Habitat Management & Herpetologist for Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation

Sanibel is home to 16 species of turtles, some of them are marine; other are freshwater or terrestrial. By emigration from the mainland or released pets, this rich biodiversity of turtles is a unique circumstance in Florida. The high diversity of turtles on Sanibel is mostly due to the Sanibel River or "Sanibel slough" that holds water throughout the year. This lecture will focus on the identification and natural history of these species on the island.

Chris Lechowicz grew up with a passion for amphibians and reptiles which led him into a career in biology. Chris is the Director of the Wildlife & Habitat Management Program and staff herpetologist at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation where he has worked for the last 14 years.   His current research projects on the islands involve eastern indigo snakes (Drymarchon couperi), diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin), and Florida box turtles (Terrapene carolina bauri) in Pine Island Sound. Chris is also the coauthor of the book Amphibians and Reptiles of Sanibel & Captiva Islands: A Natural History.