Islanders, friends and family are invited to the community-wide FISH OF SANCAP Virtual Friendly Faces Luncheon, scheduled for Tues., Sept. 13 beginning at noon via Zoom. Lunch, prepared by George & Wendy’s, consists of a cold entree, side, water bottle and dessert. The cost of the luncheon is complimentary to participants. FISH volunteers deliver meals to islanders beginning at 11:30am.
Guest speaker Chris Lechowicz, a herpetologist, and the Wildlife & Habitat Management Program Director at SCCF, will discuss terrestrial turtles and frog calls. Terrestrial turtles, such as Box Turtles, are turtles that live primarily on land but are often found near ponds, lakes, or shallow bodies of water. Also discussed at the lunch will be frog calls—sounds that are familiar to many on Sanibel and Captiva—and what those sounds are used for by frogs in the wild.
Chris grew up on the southwest side of Chicago, IL. He had a strong interest in nature at a very young age, especially with amphibians and reptiles. His passion for all things slimy and scaled led him to the Chicago Herpetological Society where he was mentored by numerous knowledgeable members and visiting scientists. Chris has two Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Zoology and Computer Science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIU) and a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Environmental Science from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).
He began working at SCCF in 2002 and is the Director of the Wildlife Habitat Management Program and staff herpetologist. As land manager, he oversees SCCF’s nearly 2000 acres of conservation land with the help of his field technicians. Prescribed burns, exotic plant removal, native tree planting, and other habitat restoration techniques are used to maintain functioning ecosystems on the islands. Chris is also the IT Manager for the Foundation and maintains an educational website on map turtles and is involved with several projects along the Gulf Coast with these riverine turtles. He is a member of the Turtle Survival Alliance, the IUCN/SCC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, a board member of the Florida Turtle Conservation Trust, and an active member of the local herp society (Calusa Herpetological Society).
“It’s an honor to host Chris Lechowicz from SCCF,” says Erika Broyles, Senior Services Director, FISH. “We are looking forward to learning more about the wildlife that surrounds us on our beautiful islands.”
The FISH Friendly Faces luncheon is a great way to catch up with friends, make new connections and learn about exciting offerings in the area. Reservations and meal choices are required by Fri., Sept. 9 to the FISH Walk-In-Center, 239-472-4775. Once registered, FISH will provide an emailed link and meeting ID number for access.
For additional information on the FISH organization and their programs and services, please contact Maria Espinoza, Executive Director at 239-472-4775 or visit their website at www.fishofsancap.org.