5th Annual Wine & Wildlife Raises a Record $119,000

(Naples, Fla.) – The South Florida National Parks Trust (SFNPT) sets an organizational record with more than $119,000 raised during its 5th annual Wine & Wildlife event on February 26 at the Naples Botanical Garden. Over 225 friends gathered to celebrate and support Florida’s National Parks.

The evening included educational presentations by the National Park Service, a VIP reception with champagne around the lake at sunset, and the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to famous landscape photographer and national park supporter, Clyde Butcher.

Mr. Butcher has been a longtime friend and supporter of our national parks. Through his artistic lens, he has championed the preservation of Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park by showing the world the beauty of the wilderness within these special places. As an educator and advocate for the environment, he has worked to bring the importance of Florida’s environment to the forefront of the public’s attention.

At this year’s Wine & Wildlife Clyde Butcher was award the SFNPT Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his exemplary dedication and work in support of Florida’s national parks. With Mr. Butcher’s blessing, the SFNPT has created a namesake award in his honor. The Clyde Butcher Award will be given to future honorees that have made exceptional contributions to Florida’s national parks in one or more areas: conservation, education and philanthropy.

Calling the live auction was Rick Gallo of Rick Gallo Auctioneers along with NBC-2 anchor and event emcee Stacey Deffenbaugh. To celebrate the Swamp Water and Me Program’s (SWAMP) 20th year donors raised their paddles raising $41,000. Each year through the SWAMP program, more than 2,600  6th grade science students from public and private schools in Collier County visit Big Cypress National Preserve and become scientists for a day. On their field trips students use a variety of scientific equipment to perform hands-on experiments, make observations, and collect data on animals, vegetation, water, soil and weather.

The South Florida National Parks Trust began in 2002 out of a working need to ensure more people – especially children – have an opportunity to experience these remarkable places and learn about the resources the park protects.

SFNPT is the official philanthropic nonprofit partner of the National Park Service in South Florida. The organization has funded more than 100 projects representing a combined investment of more than $9 million to our Florida national parks. The SFNPT supports programs and projects in five critical areas: environmental education, resource protection, visitor services, volunteer activities and community engagement.

The South Florida National Parks Trust works to protect, preserve and enhance four incredible parks – Big Cypress National Preserve, and Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks.

For more information contact Sally Wilson at sally@southfloridaparks.org