The 2021 Legislative Session ended with mixed results for environmental protection. While some positive legislation was approved, we cannot ignore the many bills that will have a detrimental impact for Floridians, especially in the arena of growth management and local government home rule, and the lack of meaningful water quality legislation.

Bills addressing “property rights” that will have a chilling effect on the ability of local governments to enforce their comprehensive plans and land development regulations or adopt new provisions related to community resilience and other critical issues were approved this Session. …


On Tuesday, May 25, the Collier County Board of County Commissioners will cast the final vote on two proposed 1,000-acre villages, called Longwater and Bellmar, located in the Rural Lands Stewardship Area (RLSA) or eastern Collier County. According to the developer’s plans, the two villages would add approximately 5,300 homes and 11,000 permanent and seasonal residents to Collier County. The developer has plans to combine Rivergrass, Longwater and Bellmar into an even larger town, called Town of Big Cypress, by connecting all three villages with a 500-acre Town Core along a new road, called Big Cypress Parkway. …


In 2020, 19 endangered Florida panthers were struck and killed by vehicles. The latest estimates show only 120–230 panthers remain in the wild, and roadkill deaths are the highest cause of known mortalities.

Since 2018, Amber Crooks, Environmental Policy Manager here at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, has served as chair to a leading a group of experts whose goal is to minimize the threat of vehicle strikes on the endangered Florida panther.

The Panther Recovery Implementation Team Transportation Subteam, whose representatives were appointed by the Regional Director for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, includes the Florida Fish and…


By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

An evening bat was among the 117 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.

The evening bat was found on a driveway in a gated community in North Naples. The bat’s rescuers saw blood on the driveway near the bat as they contained her in a ventilated box. The rescuers brought the bat to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital early in the evening the following day.

A physical exam showed the bat had an increased respiratory effort, her mentation…


By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

A gopher tortoise was among the 120 patients admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.

The gopher tortoise was admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital after two people took action to try to get the tortoise the care she needed. The story relayed to hospital staff was that an electrician found someone with the gopher tortoise. The electrician knew the person shouldn’t have the gopher tortoise, so he took the tortoise. …


By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Two red-shouldered hawk nestlings were among the 120 patients admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.

A passerby saw the two red-shouldered hawks on the side of the I 75. Real concern for the young birds’ welfare occurred when the passerby saw the hawks in the same spot on the ground the following day. The hawks’ rescuer spent a lot of time trying to locate help before finally becoming aware of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

The two young hawks…


The new Conservancy Mobile Classroom arrives at Nature Center

March — April 2021

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Mobile Classroom arrives to the Conservancy Nature Center


A northern harrier and two Virginia opossums were among the 96 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildilfe Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a black skimmer, two blue jays, two eastern screech owlets, a marsh rabbit and a gopher tortoise.

The northern harrier was seen lying on its back in the grass on the southern end of Marco Island. After the bird hadn’t moved for several hours, a woman contained the raptor and brought it to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for care.

The harrier’s head was drooping, it was unable to…


Over the past 57 years, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has become home to thousands of volunteers. These dedicated individuals have helped to fulfill the mission of protecting Southwest Florida’s water, land, and wildlife for future generations to come.

Over the last year, the organization has made numerous adjustments to keep its staff safe and healthy. However, the work has not slowed. In fact, the von Arx Wildlife Hospital admitted a record 4,300 patients in the calendar year. While the volunteer schedules and shifts may have looked a little different this past year, the commitment has not faltered. …

Conservancy of SWFL

Protecting Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of life...now and forever.

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