The Calusa Blueway Interactive Exhibit will run from Aug. 15 through Oct. 1 at the Northwest Regional Library in Cape Coral. The exhibit will feature a collection of equipment used by paddlers and Blueway enthusiasts, prize-winning nature photographs from past paddle festivals and interactive presentations covering many interesting and adventurous subjects. This is your chance to see what kayaking and canoeing around Southwest Florida is like.
Visitors will be able to attend presentations on the Calusa Indians, the ancient civilization which populated the region some 13,000 years ago; bird watching, ecology, geocaching, kayaking/stand-up paddling, marine wildlife, the 190-mile public waterway know as the Great Calusa Paddling Trail, and a hands-on introduction to kayaking fun for the whole family. Check the schedule for the dates and times of the intriguing presentations.
"If you have never had the opportunity to kayak or canoe in Southwest Florida waterways, you will find this exhibit fascinating and will probably find yourself wanting to experience the waterway first hand!" said Nancy MacPhee, program manager for the Lee County Florida Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "The water, the trails, the mangroves, are all captivating and this is your chance to experience it all from dry land in the library."
During the exhibit the library will have a daily trivia contest and will award a small prize to one winner every day. At the close of the exhibit, five winners will be selected from all trivia entries and awarded one $40 gift certificate from one of the following outfitters: Kayak Southwest Florida, Calusa Ghost Tours, GAEA Guides - Guided Kayak Nature Tours, Florida Paddle Sports, Kayak Excursions.
The Northwest Regional Library is located at 519 Chiquita Blvd., N., in Cape Coral and is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, from noon-8 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays.
The interactive presentation date and times can be found below. All programs are free and open to the public. A sign language interpreter is available with 5 business days notice to library staff. Assistive listening system available; request at desk.
Schedule of special presentations
5 p.m., Aug. 16
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: Leave No Trace
Connie Langmann, a GAEA guide, of Guided Kayak Nature Tours will explain how to use the "Leave No Trace" concept while visiting local ecology.
3 p.m., Aug. 24
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: Bird watching in SW Florida
Charlie Ewell a member of a number of Lee County bird related organizations will share his knowledge and experiences from years of bird watching along the Calusa Blueway and other Lee County areas.
3 p.m., Aug. 27
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: Calusa Ghost Tours Demonstration
John Paeno of Calusa Ghost Tours says "it's all about having fun." Whether photographing wildlife, walking ancient archeological sites or catching fish, a day on the water is a perfect family adventure. Paeno will describe and discuss what is available for you to experience on the Blueway.
3 p.m., Sept. 10 & 20
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: Florida Paddling Trails are for Everyone
Nancy MacPhee, region director of Florida Paddling Trails Association, will introduce you to the goals and successes of the FPTA. FPTA is a state-wide, community of paddlers, clubs, outfitters and other water trail supporters, which has a common purpose of "connecting paddlers to water trails." It works to knit the paddle community together and protect the environment.
3 p.m., Sept. 14 & 27
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: Discover the Blueway Paddling Trail
Betsy Clayton, Lee County Parks & Recreation waterway coordinator, will describe and discuss Lee County's own 190-mile public waterway, The Great Calusa Paddling Trail!
3 p.m., Sept. 15
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: The Calusas: The Earliest Users of Our Blueway
Meet a fifth-generation Floridian, Cindy Bear, site coordinator for the Randell Research Center's Calusa Heritage Trail. Bear knows a lot about the history of people living in Southwest Florida. In fact, her area of expertise - the Calusa Indians - dates back to an era long before any European settlers "discovered" the New World. Come listen to her share some details about the ancient civilization which populated the region some 13,000 years ago.
10 a.m., Sept. 17
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: Interactive Kayaking
Cynthia Gilbert of Kayak Southwest Florida will present a fun, interactive, educational presentation about kayaking for the whole family.
3 p.m., Sept. 22
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: A Naturalist's View of Our Waterways
Joy Hazell, a marine sea grantagent for Lee County, will talk about her organization's work to help create a sustainable coastal economy and environment In Lee County. She will discuss the wonderful natural resources we enjoy now and hopefully for many years to come.
12 p.m., Sept. 24
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: Hands-On Kayaking
Stefan Kuenzel of Kayak Excursions will give a "hands-on" introduction to kayaking fun for the whole family!
3 p.m., Sept. 24
Great Calusa Blueway Exhibit: So, You Want to Know About Paddling?
Jory Pearson of Florida Paddle Sports is the man to pay attention to when it comes to any paddle sports in the area. Jory will talk about kayaking, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Geocaching, kayak fishing or any form of paddling on the Blueways. Pearson will also answer some of your safety and equipment questions.
For more information on the exhibit, go to www.lee-county.com/library or call Telephone Reference at 239-479-INFO (4636). For more information on the Great Blueway visit www.calusablueway.com or www.calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com.