Naples Press Club member and author of the recently published “Nature’s Steward, A History of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida,” Nicholas G. Penniman IV gave a fascinating presentation examining the local history of land acquisition and growth management planning in Southwest Florida. The event was sponsored by Friends of the Library of Collier County.
A Florida Master Naturalist, Penniman discussed the sensible decisions which have contributed to the preservation of the special ecological systems found in this corner of the state and efforts to continuously monitor them. The large audience was rapt following the charts, maps and aerial photographs displayed as he spoke. He was joined by his wife Linda, who is a NPC member and serves on Naples City Council.
“Part of my talk today will sound alarms,” he said, “which I feel are necessary to awaken Southwest Floridians about the precarious balance of our environment, the invasion of massive developments and the dangers of catastrophic events which could happen by the mismanagement of our waters, especially when it comes to oil exploration.”
He said that the state and counties never go far enough to protect the region’s water, wildlife or people and do not heed enough of the requests of groups and environmentalists who want to be pro-active in protecting natural resources.
His last words closed on the hopeful note that, while there’s always a sense of urgency, there are no permanent victories, only temporary truces. All parties must work together if we want to save what we have left of this beautiful paradise coast, and more citizens moving into the area should and must join groups advocating for reforms to protect our community.
A former chair of the Everglades Foundation, Penniman is emeritus chair of the Conservancy. He also has served on the Collier County Environmental Advisory Committee, Friends of Rookery Bay, and is currently a member of the Collier County Coastal Advisory Committee.
By presenting this program, the Friends of the Library of Collier County brought an important speaker to our community. Friends of the Library is a nonprofit organization that helps fund the expansion and enhancement of programs and services for the county’s 10-branch public library system. Over the years the group has contributed more than $1 million to help fund library programs, books and other services that benefit the community’s adults, teenagers and children.