CREW Trust Announces Members Only Week

Is your membership current?

Mark your calendars!

Check with Allison@CREWtrust.org to make sure your membership is current so you can take advantage of early registration for all CREW Trust programs.

Member’s only week is starting October first this year, so be sure to mark your calendars and check back often to CREWtrust.org for more information on all our programs.

Season Preview

Back by popular demand – the Fall and Spring Wildflower walks with Roger Hammer. Enjoy new birding programs and carnivorous plant Specialty Walks. A whole new line-up of Strolling Science Seminars, exciting new family friendly programs and overnight experiences.

Final details

Members will have the first week in October to sign up ahead of the general public. Stay on the lookout for our pop-up programs throughout the year, such as our seasonal Wet-Walks and Moonlight tours.

CREW Trust Season of Events will go on sale at 8 AM, October 1st, 2022. General admission will begin on October 9th at 8 AM.

2021 Year in Review at CREW

River otter at CREW Flint Pen Strand

The CREW trails saw 51,664 people in 2021

Once in a lifetime panther pictures taken by guests at CREW Bird Rookery Swamp

Welcomed back third-graders, for the first time since 2019!

Florida Gulf Coast University students volunteered 2,012 hours

CREW Trust volunteers gave 4,425 hours in service

The NEW Purple Trail opened at CREW Flint Pen Strand

CREW Trust fundraiser began, Annual Trail Sponsors – look for signs at all trailheads

A Season Like No Other

by Allison Vincent, CREW Trust Communications

Your impact on the ecosystems in and surrounding the CREW trails has gone beyond our wildest expectations this year. We braced for a year without our largest fundraiser, the CREW Concert & Silent Eco-Auction, predicting a deficit, but wow, were we surprised! Because of your continued generosity and many new members, we’re standing on much steadier ground than expected.

We’ve all experienced many changes in the way we live this past year, and everyone has learned to pivot from our personal and shared normal. Fortunately, many of the “outside of the box” ideas we’ve applied to stay connected to you have worked very well, so well, that we might keep them up. Instead of larger groups for our programs, we limited enrollment in each one and increased the number of events or programs. This made it possible to bring more visitors to the trails, often for the first time, on more intimate tours, which allowed visitors to get a more individualized experience of CREW.

Our CREW Trust volunteers collaborated constantly on trail maintenance and improvements throughout all four CREW trail systems. We’re nearly ready to launch our newest trail  connecting CREW Flint Pen Strand and CREW Bird Rookery Swamp trails, a remarkable accomplishment years in the making! This new trail is marked with purple post signs.

Last but certainly not least, membership numbers increased by marked numbers, with many of you stepping up as ‘neighbors’ (both literal and implied) to the CREW lands. Thank you all!  Your support is the embodiment of true trail stewardship in action. You clearly care about the CREW Trust’s mission and the 60,000 acres of lands that surround these publicly accessible CREW trails.

Come Easter, we see a more predictable while ever difficult change when we say goodbye to many of our seasonal friends as they return to their summer homes. CREW is approaching its slower summer season as the summer heat and rainy season gives us opportunity to plan our 2021-2022 season of events for you.

Every individual makes an impact with their donation, as we have a wide variety of uses for every penny. From general trail maintenance, which requires tools and gear upkeep, to large purchases like kiosk signs to off-road vehicles and their maintenance. When you donate or become a member, every penny is multiplied by our expertly guided volunteer projects. Everything in these gritty Florida environs require continuous upkeep and periodic replacement. So, when you’re out on the trail and notice a new sign post, or observe a clear view of the wildlife ahead because the weed whacking crew was recently clearing the trail, just know that those things only happen because of your donations and the collective contributions of many friends of CREW.

Thank you for continuing to support the CREW Trust during this difficult and unprecedented time. Your commitment to environmental preservation has never been more strongly tested and proven than this season. You’ve stuck by what really matters and our South Florida environment will be stronger in the future because of your commitment.

We hope that, you and your friends and family make it out to the CREW trails a few more times before returning to your summer destinations. The CREW lands are thriving and continue to be a unique outlet for environmental preservation work, one that should give you some peace of mind in these trying times. Every time you take a drink of water, remember that it started in the CREW watershed and know you’re making an impact, and you’re making it for everyone.

For those who stay here throughout the summer, remember the CREW trails are open 365 days a year, 7 days a week, from sunrise to sunset. With four different trail systems, there’s always something new to explore, wildlife bucket lists to check off, and a seasonal change to observe.

Adapting to the pandemic on the CREW trails

by Nan Mattingly

Everyone has a story about how the ongoing pandemic has rearranged his or her life. Some changes are major – working from home or losing a job. Difficulty finding childcare. Worry about loved ones becoming infected.

And some changes are less drastic. Instead of shopping for groceries in the usual places, more people are ordering food from shopping services or ordering online. Wearing a mask in public. Avoiding large gatherings.

Here at the CREW Land & Water Trust we’ve had to adapt, too. Because all of the trails are owned by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), the CREW Trust must follow state regulations. When SFWMD closed all four of trail systems in April, we had to implement changes mandated by the state. We cancelled any remaining in-person events and once trails reopened, we posted signs reminding our visitors to wear masks and practice social distancing.    

Now that the winter season is beginning, we are again offering weekly guided tours and we’ve added a few new experiences (more about those below). The CREW Trust requires program participants to wear masks and make every effort to social distance wherever possible. Before we set foot on the trail, guests will sign two liability waivers – one for the CREW Land & Water Trust and one for the SFWMD. And we’ve added a nominal fee for each weekly tour, $5 per person for most of our guided tours and $10 per person for our “Bike the Loop” tour at CREW Bird Rookery Swamp. As usual, special tours with experts, such as a birding tour with renowned ornithologist Bernie Masters in January, start at $20. (Sorry – Bernie’s tour is sold out!) Members enjoy a reduced rate for most events.

Why have we put a price on our weekly tours? Last year they were free (though registration at our website has always been required). But during this pandemic we’ve felt the pinch just like everyone else. We have had to cancel our major yearly fundraising event, the CREW Concert & Silent Eco-auction, so we have had to look for other ways to raise money to support our educational and outreach programs.

Our new initiatives are intended to safely introduce more participants to our unique environments as well as to support our programs. On two Saturdays a month during this season we’re offering a chance to Bike the Loop at Bird Rookery Swamp. Bring your own bike and be prepared to get dirty! The 12-mile loop offers a moderately demanding experience as well as a chance to see lots of alligators. We’ve also added weekend guided tours at various trail systems.

To sign up for a guided tour or other events, please go to our website CREWtrust.org and explore the possibilities. This is a great chance to get outside and enjoy the glorious winter weather. Please remember that we follow CDC guidelines to keep all of us safe during this pandemic. When you sign up for a tour, you’ll find a recap of those important guidelines. Please be prepared to follow CREW Trust requirements when you’re on the trail with us.            

CREW Trust Holiday Store

Seasons Greetings, 

Recently, some new friends visited the CREW office.  Everyone had a story to tell and a question to ask as we discussed recent hiking experiences, CREW Trust guided walks and the holiday shopping season. Hoping to support the CREW Trust while purchasing a few meaningful gifts, our friends asked about CREW Trust merchandise. “As a matter of fact” I said, “we’ve collected some CREW Trust swag over the seasons, even though we don’t have a visitor center, much less a gift shop!” Clumsily, we rang up the bundle of gifts for their family members, all spread throughout the country this year, hoping that these special gifts from CREW will remind them of home.

Start a new holiday tradition this year with your family and give back to the CREW Trust at the same time! Browse our CREW Trust collectables available for purchase and give the gift of CREW to your family and friends! Remember to support the land and wildlife you love at CREW this December! 

The CREW Trust Holiday store will be open today December 11, 2020 through Friday December 18, 2020. *That gives us enough time to either a) ship your package to you before the holidays or b) arrange a good pick up time for you at the CREW office (like our friends from the story).

Happy Hiking (and shopping) this season. Stay safe everyone!

Click the links below for more information:

CREW Trust Membership

Fund-A-Need Flint Pen Strand Trails $10

https://checkout.square.site/buy/C53BFJHZDAJ5QTUKPNI5B2FM

Fund-A-Need Environmental Education $50

https://checkout.square.site/buy/PEEEOJ64DZBZFLE4LKP7Q5ZW

Fund-A-Need Volunteers $150

https://checkout.square.site/buy/HB7IOPBRXRTDBF67ZCQ4YLM5

CREW Trust Medallion Bundle

https://checkout.square.site/buy/DVS4RDVALJRIOTAIK2IUP4J5

CREW Trust Pin Bundle

https://checkout.square.site/buy/YPAIZXZIPGQ76QE3YNW3LFKE

CREW Trust Hat

https://checkout.square.site/buy/5OGUVQJQ2WA2KRO5DYFXSWLZ

CREW Pocket Guide

https://checkout.square.site/buy/QLNFG4VOBX2L5N4DXVWDCM2F

CREW Trust Programs & COVID-19

*Wearing a face covering and social distancing is required while participating in CREW Trust Programs.*

If a participant chooses not to wear a face covering while on a CREW Trust program, they will be asked to leave the group and hike the trails on their own. 

As requirements change we will update you all on our website, social media, and E-blast subscription. 

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, follow these guidelines from the CDC:

  • Stay home if you don’t feel well, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 (within 14 days).
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people who don’t live in your household.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of the elbow.
  • Soap and water are not available on the CREW trails, instead bring hand sanitizer to use that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub hands together until dry.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Masks should not be placed on:

  • Anyone who has trouble breathing
  • Children under age 2
  • Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance

Pop-Up Event at CREW this Saturday 5/9/2020

We miss seeing our CREW friends! 

Join us, the CREW Land & Water Trust staff at CREW Flint Pen Strand trails this Saturday, May 9th from 8-10 a.m. We can’t wait to see you so drive by to say HI or plan to take a hike and enjoy the trails. 

Brenda Brooks, our Executive Director will be in the Main parking lot (the big lot). You can catch up with Allison Vincent, our Communications Director out on the trails. If you’re into more bird watching and less hiking, be sure to head over to the Lakes Parking lot to say HI to our Education Coordinator, Jayne Johnston. Binoculars and guides will be available for you!

We will practice safe social distancing with face-cover, keeping at least 6 feet of separation at all times, and avoiding the trail “gauntlet” while hiking (see infographic above)

If you haven’t been to the newest CREW trail system here’s the address for CREW Flint Pen Strand – 15970 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 (left on dirt road)

See you on the CREW trails this Saturday!

CREW Trust Thanks Our Concert Sponsors

Your contributions have already helped to get the ball rolling on our newest programs developing at the Flint Pen Strand Trails. Environmental education for all ages is always a priority for the CREW Trust and I think you’ll agree that together we’ve made a huge impact in our community, one that continues to grow each year with your help.

Thank you for supporting  environmental education! We’re happy to have seen so many friendly faces at our CREW Concert this year. We really cherish our annual “friend-raiser” because it’s such a great place to get to talk with you, our sponsors. We sincerely hope you all had a fabulous time and hope to see you on our trails soon!

CREW Concert: Know Before You Go

Just a Few Days Until the CREW Concert!

Got your tickets? Shined your dancing shoes? Made a date with your significant other or family for this special occasion? Great! We look forward to seeing everyone at Riverside Park! 

Before you go, here’s a review of event details to help you plan a terrific night out.

1. Concert details

Location: Riverside Park, 10450 Reynolds Street, Bonita Springs

Date and time: Saturday February 29, 2020, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Schedule of concert events:

5:00 p.m.  Gates open

5:30 p.m. Silent Eco-Auction opens

5:30 p.m. Welcome by CREW Trust Team

5:40 p.m. High Voltage Band hits the stage

8:15 p.m. Silent Eco-Auction closes

8:30-9:15 p.m. Pick up and pay for Silent Auction items

9:00 p.m. Concert ends

2. Tickets

Buy them at CREWtrust.org in advance and save $5 over the price at the door. Adults pay $15 online or $20 at the door. Children under 12 enter free.  

Insider tip: Until noon on the day of the concert, tickets are $15 online-only.

3. Food and drink

Sandwiches, salads, barbecue and cupcakes will be available from Haney’s Cafe and Cherie’s Sweet Treats & The Lunch Box. The Rotary Club of Bonita Springs will again sell wine and beer and feature a specialty craft beer from Momentum Brewhouse. For more information about our vendors read through the Food Blog here

4. General suggestions

Please bring: Chairs or blankets to sit on; the kids (remember, no charge for kids under 12); and cash and/or credit cards to buy food and drink.

Please don’t bring: outside food and drink; or animals. 

5. Silent Eco-Auction

Preview the many unique and exciting items and experiences available at our Silent Eco-Auction here. Or you can walk through the Auction space during the concert and see what inspires you. 

To bid on an item or an adventure, write your name, phone number and the amount of your bid on the bid sheets. If you absolutely, positively want to own a particular piece of artwork or take home tickets to a unique outdoor adventure, enter the “Buy It Now” price. Bidding is closed at 8:15 p.m. Winners will be announced on a large sign near the Silent Auction area. Items must be paid for and picked up between 8:30 and 9:15 p.m.

6. Parking

Parking at the concert is free. Volunteers in bright blue t-shirts will direct you to available parking spaces. A limited number of handicap parking spaces will be available.    

7. VIP Cafe

Sponsors of the concert are given admission to the VIP Cafe as one way of thanking them for their generous support. The VIP Cafe is sold out, so it will not be possible to purchase seats on the night of the concert. If you’re interested in sponsoring the 2021 concert, please contact Brenda (brenda@CREWtrust.org).     

8. Proceeds

The annual “CREW Concert & Silent Eco-Auction” is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the CREW Land & Water Trust, which provides environmental education for all ages. The CREW Project is a 60,000-acre watershed spanning Lee and Collier counties which provides clean water for area residents and visitors, habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities. The money we earn with our annual concert helps us to provide environmental education to all ages. 

Thank you and let’s rock!

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