Long time island historians and authors Betty Anholt & Charles LeBuff will visually discuss the aspects and history of the islands conservation ethics to which they have each made major contributions and is the subject of their newly published book.  Join Betty and Charles at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, as they share this special presentation showcasing the unique historical activities which have preserved our beloved islands.

The vibrant islands Sanibel and Captiva are ecological marvels compared to Florida’s many overbuilt barrier islands.  Development began with the construction of the Sanibel Island Lighthouse in 1884, when only the lighthouse keeper and assistant and their families lived on the island.  Noted conservationist J. N. “Ding” Darling led the charge in preserving the islands’ wildlife and natural beauty from the greed of real estate speculators and land developers in the 1930s.  Former presidents like Harry Truman and cabinet-level executives worked alongside Sanibel and Captiva residents, setting up preserves and wildlife refuges to guard the integrity of the island’s unique natural blessings, abundant wildlife and aquatic stores.  Betty and Charles will review the evolution of the islands’ conservation ethic and how it has persevered even today.

Betty Anholt is a long-term student of Florida’s natural and social history and, in particular, that of Southwest Florida and the islands.  She has published four books, including Sanibel’s Story: Voices and Images from Calusa to Incorporation, numerous articles, columns and smaller pieces.  Born and raised in New Jersey Betty and her husband, Jim, moved to Sanibel with their young family many years ago.  She has canoed the Suwannee from the Okefenokee Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico and crossed the Everglades by paddle.  Her volunteer activities have included City of Sanibel committees, local organizations and extensive work in archaeological work and research.  Presently she works in reference and cataloguing at the Sanibel Public Library.

In 1967, Charles LeBuff was selected to fill the number two position at the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge (now J.N. "Ding" Darling) from which he retired in 1990.  During his time on Sanibel he served as president of the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society, was a founding board member of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), and was twice elected to the Sanibel City Council serving from 1974 to 1980.  He also founded and directed the loggerhead sea turtle conservation project, Caretta Research Inc. that has continued since 1992 under the auspices of the SCCF.  Today, Charles and his wife of more than sixty years, Jean, live near Fort Myers where he pursues his many hobbies and also self-administers his website, www.amber-publishing.com.

This is the seventh of nine Sanibel-Captiva Audubon lectures to be held in 2019 on Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way.  As always, all are welcome to attend.  Doors open at 6:30 PM, and parking is available at the Community House as well as across Periwinkle Way in the Herb Strauss Theater parking area.  A $10.00 donation per attendee is appreciated with proceeds after costs being used to promote conservation on Sanibel and in Florida.  

For additional information, call Bill Jacobson at (239) 395-1878 or visit the San-Cap Audubon Web site at www.san-capaudubon.org.