CREW and You, part 5 and 6: WHY and HOW

This is part 5 and 6 of our six-part series on the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the CREW Trust.

The trestle bridge at Bird Rookery Swamp

In our previous posts, we’ve talked about the 60,000-acre Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) and the role of the CREW Land & Water Trust.

Our nonprofit is dedicated to the preservation and stewardship of the water resources and natural communities in and around CREW.

We do this through assisting with funding and land acquisition and through environmental education.

At the heart of our WHY is this: we care passionately about the water, the land, and the flora and fauna within the watershed.

We care.

Part of protecting anything, from land to water to animals, is getting people to care. We know that, when someone is out on the trails and learns about how a drop of water moves through the watershed and is filtered by the 5,000-acre sawgrass marsh and helps fill our aquifer, we are helping them care about where their water comes from.

When a student learns about the palmetto berries and the bears that feed on them, they have an understanding of why we protect both the berry and the bear and how they (including the human) are all connected in our ecosystem.

Because we know that, when someone cares, they then ask HOW. How can they be part of protecting and preserving water? How can they work towards making sure that our future generations have clean water to drink?

How can they help protect endangered species like the Florida Panther?

game camera image by Tom Mortenson

All of us here at CREW Land & Water Trust – from staff to interns to volunteers and Trustees – we are all part of this nonprofit because at some time, we learned, then cared, then felt called to do something.

And if you have attended a program and learned about the watershed, or wandered the trails and watched a swallow-tailed kite soar overhead, you probably care, too. You are part of our why, and you can be part of our how.

Become a member. Our members help support our environmental education programs, not just through their membership dues, but also through attending our programs as paid participants.

Volunteer. Our volunteers do everything, from trail maintenance and exotic plant removal to assisting with field trips and leading guided walks. We simply could not educate the over 49,000 people who visited the CREW Trails or participated in a CREW Trust program last year without our volunteers.

The reality is, no one person started the CREW Project, and no one person founded the CREW Land & Water Trust. It took a few people caring a lot to start the process of acquiring and preserving land within the 60,000-acre border. Their WHY led to their HOW and it’s up to us to continue and carry the passion they had 30 years ago into the years to come.

Happy Happy Everything


It is with very grateful hearts that we wish you, our friends, members, volunteers and visitors, a very happy New Year.

In 2017 we saw the devastation of wildfires caused by extremely dry conditions followed by a very wet start to rainy season, then flooding followed by Hurricane Irma.

We thank you for your boots and hands. We could not have cleared the Marsh Trails and our office field station without the help of volunteers, trustees, members and FGCU students who showed up with work gloves and rakes and got to work. And while we still have a lot to do, like clearing and re-creating sections of the Wild Coffee Trail, we appreciate all of you that have put in a lot of sweat equity along with us.

When the call went out for financial help so we could purchase additional tools to use to clear trails, our members stepped up. We purchased handsaws, pruners, and more, which were well-used by our clean-up crews and will be used as we start to work on clearing trails in Flint Pen Strand. Thank you for donating in our time of need.

We also thank you for your patience. Bird Rookery Swamp is loved by all of us and is our most-visited trail system. It is still closed for repairs by the South Florida Water Management District, and we truly appreciate everyone’s patience. We know you want it open, as do we – we’ve had to cancel several of our most popular programs as we wait for the trail to dry out so the repairs can continue.

Our wish for you as we enter this new year is happiness, wherever you can find it. Whether it’s in the peaceful sunshine at the top of the observation tower at the CREW Marsh Trails, or tucked in a quiet spot watching butterflies on the Cypress Dome Trails, or even along the boardwalk at Bird Rookery Swamp, we hope you can find peace and happiness somewhere on our trails.

Thank you, again, for all of your support, and all that you do to help the CREW Trust.

%d bloggers like this: