Javier Brenes, Walmart market manager for Southwest Florida, attended the event and stressed Walmart’s commitment to giving back to the community. “This has been a very special day for us. We know it is important to give back to the communities we serve, and after listening to the educators and kids here today, we now have a greater understanding and appreciation of the real-life impact of the gift.”
Curt Witthoff, science coordinator for Collier County Schools and Lee Hughes, science coordinator for Lee County Schools, both expressed their appreciation to Walmart for supporting the Conservancy youth education programs, highlighting the positive impact it has had on their students.
One of the more emotionally charged moments of the presentation came as Lake Park Elementary School fifth grade student Christian Wright spoke about how the Conservancy programs, many of which include live animals taken to the classroom, have helped him and his fellow classmates understand the beauty and importance of the region’s ecosystems.
In addition, Suzette Nolan, principal at Avalon Elementary School and Nicole Hughes, principal at Shadowlawn Elementary School, expressed their thanks to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Walmart for helping them reach their educational goals for their students, many of whom live in economically challenged situations.
Following the check presentation, Brenes, along with Larry Graham, co-manager ofWalmart store #5391 and Walmart store managers Kevin O’Grady and Bob Galloway mingled with the teachers and principals and encouraged the teachers to contact them if they could be of assistance.
Conservancy president and CEO Andrew McElwaine said, “The grant enables the Conservancy to expand our current programming to reach more than 4,500 students, exposing them to our mission and igniting their interest in environmental education. We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for their generous donation.”
Rob Moher, vice president of development and marketing at the Conservancy added, “TheWalmart Foundation has expanded their philanthropic commitment to environmental education in a significant way at a time when kids need access to science based and nature-oriented programs more than ever. We deeply appreciate the expanded commitment from Walmart to realize our mission.”
About the Conservancy of Southwest Florida:
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida began in 1964 when community leaders came together to defeat a proposed “Road to Nowhere” and spearheaded the acquisition and protection of Rookery Bay. The Conservancy is a not-for-profit grassroots organization focused on the critical environmental issues of the Southwest Florida region with a mission to protect the region’s water, land and wildlife. This is accomplished through the combined efforts of environmental education, science and research, policy and advocacy and wildlife rehabilitation. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic treats more than 2,400 injured, sick and orphaned animals each year and releases about half of them back into their native habitats. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Nature Center is located in Naples, Fla. at 1450 Merrihue Dr., off Goodlette-Frank Road at 14th Avenue North. For information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, call 239-262-0304 or visitwww.conservancy.org.