About 15 years ago, Wes (my husband) and I made our first post-retirement stop in Naples. Arriving in the late afternoon, and realizing that what we craved the most was some peace and quiet, a Google search led us to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. I remember sitting on a bench, looking out at the cypress swamp, and feeling the restorative power of the beauty that surrounded us.
Fast forward 10 years: we returned with plans to buy what we thought would be a winter home, but has now become our full-time residence. When we made that decision to move, we knew immediately that Corkscrew would become a part of our lives here. We are passionate about hiking, photography, and exploring nature, and Corkscrew provided us with a fabulous means for our passions. The Sanctuary was a place we could go to and feel like we were
truly connecting with our newly-adopted environment. Very shortly after we moved to Naples, we began volunteering at Corkscrew, creating an opportunity for us to develop some new skill sets. The training was a crash course, especially for a couple of non-birding Coloradans who had lived at 6,000 feet for the past 15 years! Learning about the ecosystems, flora, and fauna has been a joy, and every single day that we are on the boardwalk, we both (still) try to learn at least one new thing.
Within a year of starting our volunteer work, we both realized how important Corkscrew had become to us. We started calling it our Happy Place, well before the “Happy Place” tee shirts appeared in the gift shop. No matter how much or how little there is to see on any given day, there is always some special interaction with a visitor, staff member, or volunteer that makes the day worthwhile.
In our views, if it is worth our time, it is also worth our financial support. Our decision to become Cypress Council donors seemed like a logical transition toward increasing our level of commitment. We feel very good about that decision and look forward to many more years of continued support.