The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) is hosting an overnight trip to explore the Clewiston area. On the night of Monday, Jan. 25, people are asked to join us for a special presentation at the Clewiston Museum.
The museum is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Clewiston, where new exhibits showcase some of the fascinating fossils of the area as well as the human history. Curator Butch Wilson will be providing an exclusive tour that evening.
At 7:30 am the following morning, Jan. 26, the group will gather on the steps of the historic Clewiston Inn. From there it's a 20-mile drive down country roads to get to a storm water treatment area. A less than glamorous name, this area is managed by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). It was built to protect the Everglades but has become a treasure for birders as well..
It is not surprising if you have not heard of Storm Water Treatment Area 5. Informally known as STA 5, the 7,680-acre site is about 20 miles south of Clewiston in rural eastern Hendry County.
Within two years of the construction of STA 5's wetlands, large numbers of birds began utilizing the area. In an interview for Southwest Florida Audubon, Bijaya "BJ" Kattel said, "Although it wasn't the primary purpose of our project, a fringe benefit was the excellent habitat that was created as part of our Everglades-restoration efforts."
Kattel is a recreation planner for the South Florida Water Management District.
Participants are asked to make their own transportation and overnight accommodation arrangements. The Clewiston Inn has offered an discount is people mention SCCF while making reservations there.
Although birders flock to this area, the trip is also a fascinating look at one of the methods being utilized to remove phosphate from waters as part of greater Everglades restoration. Sally McPherson of the South Florida Water Management District has made special accommodations for SCCF, allowing the group to travel along the dikes.
The cost is $50 per person. The trip - Jan. 25 and 26 - is being coordinated by Kristie Anders. Reservations and payment can be made by calling 472-2329.