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Audubon Florida's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located in Naples, Florida, comprises 13,000 acres of sensitive wetlands, an ancient bald cypress forest (the largest on earth), and a renowned boardwalk through native habitats including the old-growth forest's majestic, towering trees. The Sanctuary was established in 1954 by the National Audubon Society which owns and manages the land in perpetuity. Corkscrew's teams are devoted to four major planks: Science and research; resource management; education, and advocacy. The focus is also promoting a culture of conservation that might make restoration possible.

Corkscrew represents a major commitment for Close Friend Foundation. We support the Sanctuary in multiple ways, allowing the founders to donate funds as well as the professional acumen gained over their decades' involvement in international business.

After years as a Barred Owl member of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the Foundation's founders began in 2009 to help the education, research, habitat protection and restoration programs that have been so successful in recent years.  We also funded the construction of new bird feeders outside the facility.

In 2011 and 2014 the Foundation made available to the Sanctuary a portfolio of woodcut

prints by the artist Gordon Hartshorne for an exhibit and presentation to attract

attention and more visitors to the Sanctuary.  These month-long exhibits included

in addition to the woodcut prints, the artist's notebooks, tools and wood carvings as well

as a description of methods and processes. This educational component was very well

received by visitors and new members.

In 2013, John Howard joined Corkscrew's Sustainability Board, helping to lead initiatives that sustain the Sanctuary's operations and programs. With a 25-person staff and more than 13,000 acres of pristine, though threatened habitat, Corkscrew's mission is nothing less than to protect the natural resources of the Sanctuary, its surrounding watershed and the Western Everglades.​

Cypress Council
Close Friend's support for Corkscrew was further enhanced when John and Marty Howard co-founded the Cypress Council, an exclusive group of philanthropists who provide the core support for the Sanctuary, its treasured forest and the mosaic of the surrounding wetlands.

The Howards are top-level donors to the Cypress Council. The level, called Landmark Cypress, is reserved for philanthropists who are honored with a special plaque on the boardwalk under the peaceful canopy of the forest. Members' plaques are displayed on the boardwalk next to the tree of their choosing. The Howards chose the Muir tree, named after the legendary environmental author and activist John Muir.

If you are interested in supporting Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, we hope that you will join Close Friend Foundation's efforts by donating

To learn more about the Children’s Hospital please visit its website.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the body and soul."
John Muir

A view from the boardwalk looking across the sawgrass wetlands to the South Florida slash pine flatwoods.

Landmark Cypress Project
In 2013, Close Friend Foundation increased its support of the Sanctuary by funding its new Landmark Cypress project. The project was a strategic initiative to draw attention to Corkscrew's ancient bald cypress forest as special trees in a special place -- where the forest meets the Everglades. Twelve distinctive trees were identified as learning opportunities about how the forest supports wildlife. They are named in honor of inspiring individuals through history who have influenced human appreciation of nature and given voice to conservation. The project strengthened the links between the Sanctuary’s history, habitat conservation and marketing and development. The goal continues to be to capture the imagination of visitors and donor base, and inspire them to increase action and involvement to build capacity of the Sanctuary. The project produced new Sanctuary maps and signage, numerous press releases, and helped inspire the year-long celebration of the Sanctuary’s 60th anniversary in 2014.

Further recognizing the value of the old-growth forest, Corkscrew was inducted into the Old-Growth the Old-Growth Forest Network in November 2014. The forest's wading bird populations have made it one of the country's top birding attractions and a gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail.

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Audubon florida's

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Naples, Florida

A world-class environmental center and a leader in Everglades conservation.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to the body and soul."

John Muir

Close Friend

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