BIKERS, BUGGIES & BOOKS
The kick off for Florida Panther Month was the annual Panther Month celebration at the Naples Zoo. With a record number of visitors at the zoo, the friends chose this opportunity to introduce it’s Adopt a Panther Program. Before the month ended, 31 people , families and schools adopted FP 119 “Wanderer”.
The next major event was the “Cause for the Paws” where panther advocates were treated to a light reception at Rookery Bay National Estuary. In addition to hearing excellent presentations from panther capture team members David Oronato and Annette Johnson, those present participated in a silent auction and purchased the beautiful new children’s book on Florida panthers entitled Felina’s New Home. Lew Clayton, the illustrator, signed the books at the event.
On March 13, Florida Panther refuge biologist and photographer Larry Richardson conducted his annual photography workshop on the refuge. Three days later, seasonal volunteers Rosemary and Art Rengers hosted a panther presentation at Naples Preserve. Cathy O’Clarke’s Irish Pub on Marco Island was the site of a fund raiser for the Friends on St. Patrick’s Day.
The grand finale on the month was held at the refuge on the state of Florida designated Florida Panther Day. Close to 200 visitors enjoyed swamp buggy tours, nature talks, public trail walks, guided bird watching hikes and orchid swamp walks, and a presentation by Mark Lotz of the panther capture team. In addition to the Friends’ booth, 10 partner organizations exhibited their programs and provided educational discussions and materials. Loran Wlodarski, author of Felina’s New Home, signed book at the Friends booth.
The spirit of the month is captured in the images that follow.
Bikers prepare to look for panthers
Friends of the panthers come in all shapes and sizes.
Winners of two nights at the Ritz Carlton with Friends merchandise manager Alison Sanchez and president Lisa Ostberg
Board member Jeff Carter introduces the adoption program at the Naples Zoo
One of the first families to adopt FP119 "Wanderer
Executive Director Tom Murray and Felina's New Home author Loran Wlodarski.
President Lisa Ostberg and biker run organizers and volunteers extradonaires Rosemary and Art Rengers
Trail Volunteer Eric Myer educates young panther advocate
Visitors get ready to tour the refuge looking for panther tracks
Grand prize winner in the 2nd Poker Run.