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Sunrise Rotary works to protect Otter Mound

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The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise joined forces with its sponsored Interact Club from Marco Island Academy on a recent Saturday morning to clear and protect Otter Mound Preserve.

The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise joined forces with its sponsored Interact Club from Marco Island Academy on a recent Saturday morning to clear and protect Otter Mound Preserve.

The group coordinated with its Collier County partner, Mitchell Barazowski. Barazowski is the environmental specialist, Conservation Collier Program, Parks and Recreation Division. He provided guidance as to what was needed at the preserve.

The group was led by Rotarian Natalia Armstrong, who was joined by eight other Rotarians and 15 members of the Marco Island Academy Interact Club. Rotary volunteers included Tony Barnard, John Campo, Erik Condee, John McGonigle, Mike Murphy, Arne Sandberg, Jill Sandberg and Neil Snyder. The Interact volunteers were led by Principal Melissa Scott.

The volunteers weeded, cleaned and cleared the preserve. They also added mulch and cleared trails for public access. The preserve is approximately 2.5 acres, so the large number of volunteers was a big plus and all had much to do.

Sunrise Rotary conducts this annual preservation program as part of its community outreach and service. President Erik Condee noted “Otter Mound is unique and is often overlooked when the government allocates funding. Our service is important to make sure the Preserve is maintained and available to the public. It is an area of unique beauty.”

Otter Mound Preserve as a tropical hardwood hammock acquired by Collier County in 2004 and 2007; 57 species of birds and 127 plant species have been recorded at the Preserve. Wildlife includes the Florida gopher tortoise, Virginia possum, armadillo, raccoon and even bobcat. The preserve likely receives visits from the Florida panther as well.

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The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise is a diverse group with focus on local businesses and community service. It is comprised of a cross-section of the Marco Island area community, and new members are welcome. It meets Thursday mornings and is currently meeting virtually via Zoom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For further information about the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise or its activities please contact Bill Morris at wgm@wgmwgmorrislaw.com or visit the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise website at www.marcoislandsunriserotary.org.