Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 010816 Contents THE RIVER - JANUARY 8, 2016
WOW Festival Speaker Lineup
Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District (LA-MSID) is hosting
its 5th Annual Wings Over Water (WOW) Festival on Friday and Saturday,
January 29 and 30 at Harns Marsh to help the public discover the beauty of
Southwest Florida’s water, land and wildlife.
The two-day, annual festival celebrates southwest Florida’s natural resources and
includes presentations from experts, an array of exhibits from local organizations, kids’
activities, food, guided walks and a rubber duck race. Admission to the festival is free
LA-MSID’s mission is to preserve and protect the water resources within its bound-
aries. In the early 1980s, ECWCD transformed the 578-acre far mland into an active
stormwater facility, Harns Marsh, to filter water and reduce flooding to the Orange
River. The water control structures have helped create a lush habitat for snail kites,
limpkin and more than 160 species of animals. Harns Marsh is located in the eastern
portion of Lee County located off of Sunshine Boulevard in Lehigh Acres.
“The WOW Festival showcases to the importance of LA-MSID’s mission and
provides a unique opportunity for community members to connect with local orga-
nizations and experience nature through an array of interactive experiences,” said J.
Nathan Stout, chairman of the LA-MSID board of commissioners.
On January 29, LA-MSID will host a presentation from 8 to 9 a.m . at Harns
Marsh. Explore the history of Har ns Marsh; lear n about its water control features;
and discover the flora and fauna. LA-MSID Manager, David E. Lindsay will discuss the
future plans/development for Har ns Marsh and the West Marsh. Admission is free;
reservations are preferred. Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/wings-over-water-festival-pre-
The WOW Festival Community Day on January 30 has grown to include more
vendors/exhibitors, a far mer’s market, plant sale, kid’s activities and more. Avariety
of on-site activities will be held from 9 a.m . to 2 p.m . including lectures from experts;
exhibitions by wildlife and education-related organizations and businesses; farmer’s
market by Healthy Harvest; plant sale; the rubber duck races by Coldwell Banker
Preferred Properties to raise fund for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life
event; food and beverage sales, children’s activities, free blood pressure checks by the
Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue District; numerous educational exhibits by local organi-
zations and businesses guided walks and viewing of various species of flora and fauna.
In addition, Home Depot will be hosting a free children’s activity to build birdhouses
(while supplies last).
As a special addition this year, Mark Renz will host a special early morn-
ing walk on January 30 from 8 to 9 a.m . before the festival officially opens.
The topic of the walk is How to be Yourself Behind a Camera. Before the walk,
Renz will briefly discuss such topics as Overcoming Immaculate Clean Camera
Syndrome, Timing Is Everything, Think Click, Anticipating Your Next Shot,
Get There Early and Stay Late, Don’t Over-think – Feel, and Zen Bonding with
Your Camera. His photos have been published internationally in magazines,
newspapers and books. Samples of his Har ns Marsh photos can be seen on
Facebook at Friends of Harns Marsh or Florida Time Forgot. Admission is free
and space is limited; reservations are required. Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/
Festival Day Speakers include:
• Mark Renz, is a fossil guide and author of numerous books on Florida fossils.
During his lecture, How to Find Fossils In Florida, he will discuss being prepared,
knowing what to look for, having the right tools, keeping it safe and legal, preserving
your finds, and offering scientifically significant specimens to the Florida Museum of
Natural History so that current and future generations can learn from our discover-
ies. Curious what a giant ground sloth claw looks like? How about a tooth from a
60-foot long shark or a huge mammoth molar? If you’re new to collecting vertebrate
fossils samples will be on display. Mark is the author of five books including Fossiling
in Florida and MEGALODON: Hunting the Hunter. He and his artist wife, Maris,a
operate Fossil Expeditions guide service in Southwest Florida’s rivers. Their website is
• Steve “Snakeman” Masek will bring his live animal educational sessions back
for another year. He introduces guests to a variety of invasive exotic animals that
are threatening native populations of Southwest Florida animals through hands on
• Adrienne Diaz, Edible Landscape Seminars. Learn how to liven-up you landscape
with edible plants. Diaz is a Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor, Lee County
Master Gardener and Certified Seed Saver with Seed Savers Exchange.
• Matt Smith. Learning takes flight as the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey travels
to Harns Marsh to present live raptor ambassadors. Four non-releasable birds of prey,
including a Bald eagle, provide an up close and meaningful encounter with some of
Florida’s top predators. Participants will discover the extraordinary senses and physical
adaptions that make these birds masters of the sky.
“We receive positive feedback from event surveys each year and helps grow our
ability to showcase the great work of local environmental and community groups,” said
Ken Thompson, vice chairman of the LA-MSID board of commissioners. “For our fifth
annual event, we have ramped up the educational offerings and activities and look for-
ward to the continued participation of Lehigh Acres residents and businesses.”
The event is made possible by the generous support of Mosaic, The News-Press
Media Group, AIM Engineering and Surveying, Inc., Public Risk Insurance Agency,
Preferred Community Bank, Brian and Barbara Cottrell, Charlotte Harbor National
Estuary Program, Audubon Society of Southwest Florida, Coldwell Banker Preferred
Properties and the Holiday Inn Express at the Forum.
For more information, visit www.wingsoverwater festival.com.
Steve the Snakeman Masek shows an albino burmese python during his Invasive Exotics
Mark Renz discusses some of his fabulous Florida Fossil Finds
Sandhill cranes taking a morning stroll at the 2015 WOW Festival
Walk At Preserve
Avolunteer naturalist will lead
a one-mile nature walk at
Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve
East on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 9 a.m.
The walk will be on an ADA-compliant
boardwalk that takes participants through
wetlands, oak hammocks and pine
Restrooms and picnic shelters are
available at this Conservation 20/20
preserve. Participants will meet in the
parking lot at 10130 Bayshore Road,
directly across the road from ECHO.
No reservations are required and no
pets are allowed on this walk. Dress for
the weather. Hats, binoculars, camera,
bug spray, water and sturdy, closed-toed
shoes are recommended. Call 707-0862
for additional information.
Hikers check out ferns from the
Caloosahatchee Creek Preserve
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