Sanibel Captiva Chamber To Host SCCF For Virtual Business Meeting

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Ryan Orgera

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation leaders will update members of The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce about the record-breaking loggerhead nesting season that just ended, policy and advocacy initiatives, program adaptation at the Sanibel Sea School, and water quality issues at the next virtual business meeting on Nov. 18 starting at 11:30 a.m.

Featured speakers include SCCF CEO Ryan Orgera, Ph.D., and SCCF Environmental Policy Director James Evans. SCCF’s environmental policy priorities include protection and restoration of important habitats, growth, and land management issues, fish and wildlife conservation, and restoration of inland and coastal water resources.

Orgera took SCCF’s helm in January 2019, after working on the Ending Illegal Fishing Project and Global Shark Conservation teams with The Pew Charitable Trusts. In that position, he traveled extensively to institute meaningful conservation measures in African and Latin American nations and within various United Nations conventions.

Previously, as a fellow in the U.S. Senate, Orgera served as an ocean, coastal, and flood insurance policy expert. He also served as a member of the Federal Marine Protected Area Advisory Committee, which advises the U.S. Secretaries of Commerce and Interior.

Since joining the SCCF team, Orgera has joined forces with the Sanibel Sea School and strengthened the organization’s advocacy and water quality focus, while taking a broader approach overall to protecting and caring for coastal ecosystems of southwest Florida. He also initiated the launch of a shark conservation campaign in August.

James Evans

In September, Orgera hired Evans, the former city of Sanibel director of natural resources since 2012, to interpret science to create, inform, and advance environmental policy in Southwest Florida. Evans carries forth the policy work established over the past 14 years by SCCF’s legendary founding natural resources policy director, Rae Ann Wessel, who retired in May.

Evans has more than 23 years of experience working in south Florida ecosystems and expertise in water quality, environmental policy, marine biology, estuarine ecology, coastal systems, environmental restoration, land management, and grant management. He has chaired or served numerous local organizations concerned with water quality and Everglades restoration.

“When it comes to the short- and long-range vision of our valuable water resources, these two gentlemen are at the top of the game,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer. “We are so fortunate to have SCCF monitoring and watch-dogging what’s happening to our water and relevant legislation. Ryan and James will bring us up to speed on what’s being achieved and what we need to continue to fight for.”

The chamber will send members Zoom invitations to register for the virtual event. When members RSVP, they will receive a link to the Zoom meeting in advance. Sponsorships are still available for the presentation. For information on becoming a sponsor or registering for the meeting, contact Ashley Pignato at ashley@sanibel-captiva.org. Participants can also send questions for SCCF to Pignato in advance or submit them during the meeting through the chat feature.

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