Calusa Culture Night showcases powerful water quality messages

Calusa Waterkeeper loves a good story, especially those focused on the quality of Florida’s waterways and the history and future of our environment. The local nonprofit is presenting a special night of storytelling mixed with entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, as well as art and fashion at the second annual Calusa Culture Night from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in downtown Fort Myers.

The storytellers at the second annual fundraiser are a dynamic list of water quality stakeholders, headlined by environmental mega activist Maggy Reno Hurchalla, who recently lost a major lawsuit with the Lake Point Mine and was ordered to pay $4.4 million. Post-judgement, several environmental and First Amendment groups have rallied in her support. Hurchalla, whose sister is former Attorney General of the United States Janet Reno, will share her story and passion for Florida’s precious ecosystem.

Additional speakers include:

Paul Arsenault – The painter and historian is dedicated to environmental preservation through his artwork and messages. The Montreal native has a studio in Naples called the Arsenault Studio & Banyan Arts Gallery.

Cindy Bear – She is the coordinator of programs and services for the Randell Research Center, which has conducted environmental education programs and research in Southwest Florida since 1983.

John Cassani – The Calusa Waterkeeper has made it his mission to inform the public about the historic significance and present and future of Florida’s waterways, specifically the conditions of local estuaries, including the Caloosahatchee. For this event only, Cassani will not be speaking on scientific matter.

Wayne Daltry – He is a well-known growth management expert, who was director of Lee County’s Smart Growth Department and spent 27 years with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, including 20 as executive director.

Dave Menist – The owner of Florida’s Son Fishing Charter has been a key voice in rallying stakeholders around the environmental crisis impacting local waterways.

The works of photographer Clyde Butcher, as well as environmental artists and recycled fashion will be on display. Live music will be provided by US Air Force Captain Brendan Best and musical duo Roots 2 Vines.

“We spend all year advocating and educating for clean water. This is a chance to have some fun and commemorate the culture as well as the science. Last year’s event was truly memorable. This year promises to be as good, or better,” said KC Schulberg, executive director of Calusa Waterkeeper.

Special ticket pricing is set for those who are interested in buying Commodore 4-top tables for $300 – or $75 a guest – or 8-top tables for $560 – $70 a guest. Those purchases entitle guests to a special pre-event, invitation-only cocktail party from 6:30-7:30 p.m., among other perks. Individual tickets are on sale for $80. Tickets or packages are available at calusawaterkeeper.org. General seating is also available for $40 and includes the show, silent auction and hors d’oeuvres at intermission.

About Calusa Waterkeeper

Calusa Waterkeeper (CWK) is a donation, member and grant-supported Fort Myers-based 501(c)3 whose mission is to “Protect and Preserve the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee to the Coastal Waters.” CWK’s project area covers more than 1,000 square miles, and its work includes testing and reporting, regulatory advisories, educational and community outreach and public advocacy. CWK is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water, with more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates on the frontlines of the global water crisis, patrolling and protecting more than 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on six continents.

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This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.