ABOUT THE FRIENDS OF BAREFOOT BEACH PRESERVE
Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve is a 501(c)3 state sanctioned; member supported organization that directly supports Barefoot Beach Preserve. Founded in 1990 to assist Collier County in assuring Barefoot Beach Preserve’s unique resources are protected by providing:
- Education Programs (Saturday Lectures & Nature Walks and Talks (January – April)
- Weekly gardening
- Maintaining the Learning Center (yearly) and staffing with docent volunteers (January – April)
- Regular clean up on the beach and roadway (parking lots)
- Osprey pole maintenance
- Annual Scholarships to Collier and Lee County students
Volunteers play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve. Volunteer opportunities abound from beach cleanup, gardening, becoming a docent, interacting with visitors, tree trimming, invasive plant removal, painting, maintenance, gopher tortoise watch, serving on the board or helping with special projects. Please click here or on the Volunteer button to learn more.
Become a Member
As a member, you will receive periodic E-Newsletters and announcements with info on lectures, exhibits and special events such as the Annual Member Appreciation. Your dues help the Friends further the protection of and education about the Preserve while promoting the responsible enjoyment of this unique treasure. You will become a part of an impressive network of people who share your passion for protecting and preserving Barefoot Beach Preserve. Help protect and preserve the paradise we all love! If you are interested in joining, please click here or on the Become a Member button. You may also pick up a membership envelope when you visit the Learning Center at the Preserve.
The Friends have long realized that education is important to the future by offering the Saturday lecture series. Leon and Naida Eisenbud and Bobbe Hickman our Founding “Fathers” dream was to offer environmental scholarships to help the students in Collier and Lee County. Clarance Affelt, a long-time volunteer helped us recognize that dream with a bequest. Since starting in 2017 we have awarded 16 scholarships to local students. For more information or to apply, please visit our Scholarship page by clicking here.
Board of Directors
Secretary & Treasurer
Directors serve for a two-year term. Board meetings are held the first Monday of each month, November – April.
The Friends are always looking for interested people willing to serve on the Board. We welcome volunteers who wish to enhance the experience of visitors to the Preserve.
History of the Friends
Our organization is appropriately named, as it had its origin among friends and neighbors, Leon and Naida Eisenbud and Bobbe Hickman. Walking on the beach in the spring of 1990, they noted some Ospreys’ valiant efforts to build nests close by, and decided to help. A team effort that soon included the utility company and a local builder, resulted in a platform atop a pole that was quickly occupied by an Osprey pair that built a nest. These friends decided they could do more and the Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve was born and has been a growing team ever since, joined by many who are also concerned with preservation of our precious coastal environment.
Throughout the year, the Friends sponsor ongoing and special projects—made possible through membership dues and generous donations–as well as volunteers contributing many, many hours. Below are some of the ongoing projects:
- Saylor Nature Trail
- Educational Programs
- Learning Center
- Gopher Tortoise Sanctuary
- Osprey Platform
- Butterfly Garden
- Cactus Garden
A mile long trail winding through the trees to Wiggins Pass provides the chance to view over 30 species of native vegetation all tagged and identified by the Friends. Friends’ members regularly groom the trail, clearing out exotic plants and replacing them with natural species. They’ve also erected directional signs, identified vegetation, provided benches to sit and enjoy the natural beauty of the trail and the Gulf.
Educational Programs ~ Seasonal lecture series features guest speakers who are experts on subjects as varied as: shells, dolphins, eagles, tortoises and early Florida Indian culture. For years, these popular lectures have played to large crowds. Other educational offerings are naturalist guided walks and talks that include Beachcombing & Shelling talks, nature walks along the boardwalk, and exploration of the coastal habitats of the Preserve. All of these help to provide recreation and education on diversified subjects, primarily related to environmental topics for the benefit of thousands of local residents and visitors of all ages.
Learning Center ~ Located in the heart of the Preserve, this structure is full of displays and literature, including an extensive shell collection. Built and maintained through private contributions, this structure is staffed by volunteers from December through April and maintained by the Friends of Barefoot Beach.
Displays ~ Individual members have sponsored and/or developed posters and displays which are exhibited on wall-mounted cases and in free standing cabinets all year round. Unique shell collections are on permanent display. Plant specimens from the trail and marine species from the beach are displayed.
We continue to actively monitor and protect the population, distribution, and habitat of the Gopher Tortoise—a threatened species which is protected from the encroachment on their habitat in the Preserve.
Poles and platforms for Ospreys have been constructed and installed in several places within the Preserve. In addition, Ospreys have established a nest on the trail in a dead tree. Ospreys have taken possession and reared families in all the nests. During nesting season, you can see and hear them as they call to one another, fish for food, and feed and raise their fledglings.
Dedicated to founders, Naida and Leon Eisenbud, with ponds and waterfall, a beautiful butterfly garden constructed, planted, and maintained with mostly native plant materials that attract butterflies of many species. Thanks to a few dedicated volunteers, the garden is flourishing. More helping hands, however, are always welcome.
Just to the South of the Learning Center, in vivid contrast to the Butterfly Garden, the friends also maintain a xeriscape (dry) cactus garden. This past year, one of the volunteers made identification signs for the plants within this garden. Be sure to check with one of the docents to see the notebook that was created for the Cactus Garden.
Friends regularly assist the County with Beach Cleanup, and our volunteers frequently walk the beach and roadway to collect litter.