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Growing Our Impact

You’re never far from water here

On Florida's peninsula, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean are always within reach.

Tourism, growth, development, agriculture and recreation all depend on healthy Florida ecosystems and aquatic environments. That’s why Southwest Florida needs experts who can focus on the key impact areas, study the issues and problems from multiple perspectives, identify emerging issues, help find sustainable solutions and train next-generation experts to take the reins.

The Water School's comprehensive nature allows us to focus on areas critical to our water-driven world: climate change, natural resources, ecosystem health, human health and well-being, restoration and remediation.

With 400 acres of protected habitat and many LEED-certified buildings, FGCU is an environmental lab with sustainability at the core of its mission. Our award-winning initiatives in education, energy production, research and sustainable practices make us one of the nation’s greenest campuses — the perfect place for The Water School.

 Photo of researcher testing fish in holding tank.

The economic impact of water in Southwest Florida is huge, from recreational use to just sustaining life here. Climate change, natural resources, human health, ecosystems and restoration and remediation — every choice we make in every one of these areas has a cost.”

— Shelton Weeks, 

Department Chair of Economics & Finance
and Lucas Professor of Real Estate

Our research reaches across Southwest Florida



 VESTER MARINE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE RESEARCH FIELD STATION

Photo from water of Vester field stationIn 2007, Norm and Nancy Vester donated more than $1 million to FGCU, which enabled the university to buy the Bonita Beach Plantation Resort. Today, the facility serves as an easy-access point to Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and is an important base of operations for studies of Southwest Florida’s coastal and watershed habitats. It’s used by FGCU faculty and students, as well as researchers from throughout Florida and the U.S. It has also hosted researchers from 15 foreign nations.

 

KAPNICK CENTER / EVERGLADES WETLAND RESEARCH PARK
Photo of Kapnick Center

Working with the Naples Botanical Garden, we have developed the Kapnick Center, a joint-use facility for teaching, research and outreach located at the garden. The facility is home to FGCU’s Everglades Wetland Research Park, whose faculty, staff and students focus on restoration science through ecological engineering.

 

Photo of shark researchCOASTAL WATERSHED INSTITUTE

This institute has laid the groundwork for the development of The Water School's interdisciplinary approach. It began in 2004 as an interdisciplinary group of FGCU researchers, graduate students, undergraduates and community partners with a collaborative focus on watershed-related concerns and their impacts on the coastal environments of Southwest Florida.

 

Photo of Heron in Rookery Bay

ROOKERY BAY NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE FACULTY LIAISON

FGCU has a long history of collaboration that includes education, outreach, a graduate fellowship and undergraduate internships.

 

 

Photo of students in outreach program outingENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND OUTREACH PROGRAM

This partnership with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida includes a faculty position whose appointment is split between FGCU and the Conservancy. Through it, we have created the Environmental Education Alliance of Southwest Florida, a network of environmental educators from FGCU’s five-county service area who come together to share innovative ideas, best practices and more.

 

Photo of students learning about sustainability.

CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION

The Center advances understanding and achievement of the goals of environmental and sustainability education through innovative educational research methods, emergent eco-pedagogies, and educational philosophy and practice based on an ethics of care and sustainability.