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Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

Introducing the largest green space in the City of Fort Myers

Swamp

Inspiring people to connect with nature

Meet our amazing staff

Professional, passionate, and green! The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium staff know their stuff and are excited to share their knowledge with you! Learn more about them here.

Staff
Dr. Cindy Banyai, Interim Executive Director

Dr. Cindy Banyai

Interim Executive Director

20 years of nonprofit management, philanthropy, and messaging at your service

Heather Preston, Planetarium Director

Heather Preston

Planetarium Director

Loves astronomy and space, and Earth as an amazing planet! Degrees in Physics (MIT) and Astronomy (UW, Seattle). Also studied Space Sciences @ U. of North Dakota (space.edu).

Carrie Nameth, Education Director

Carrie Nameth

Education Director

Animals, learning, and more

Rob Mickolayck, Shop Director

Rob Mickolayck

Shop Manager

Lifelong nature photographer, learning to love the creatures of his new home, Florida.

Maxx Chadwick, Naturalist/Internship Coordinator

Maxx Chadwick

Naturalist/Internship Coordinator

Wildlife biologist with a wild passion for all things living. Special interest in snakes, owls, and gators.

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Todd Sherman

Nature Center Director

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Chris Mickolayck

Office Manager

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Richard Seldomridge

Maintenance

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David Vasquez

Facilities 

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Yonnie Rocha

Gift Shop Assistant

Board of Trustees

The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is grateful for the leadership of our Board of Trustees. Check out the talent that is leading us into the twenty first century!

Board
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Britta Soderqvist

Interim Chair

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Carol Reynolds

Treasurer

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Kaitlin Danks

Secretary

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Chris Cook

Executive Committee

Kaitlin graduated Florida Gulf Coast University in 2019 with her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Integrated Studies to pursue a career in community outreach and business development. In her current role as a Recruiter for Northwestern Mutual: Bouchard Financial Group, she manages the selection and outreach department for both full time advisors and the internship program. She serves as the Secretary for the CNCP Board of Trustees,  and is an active member of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and FGCU Fort Myers Alumni Chapter. 

Britta Soderqvist has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Georgia. Currently, she is the Plant Curator at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates and has been on the Board at CNCP since 2018. She has worked in the wildlife field for more than 25 years including endangered species fieldwork in Everglades National Park, to wildlife rehabilitation in the San Juan Islands of Washington, to wildlife disease laboratory and field research at locations throughout the Southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. 

Carol is a results-oriented information systems executive, with a proven track record of achieving corporate and client objectives through a dedication to achieving positive impacts to the bottom line.  An accomplished Leader of IT Technology companies with demonstrated success leading and growing organizations, raising productivity and development/adoption of best practice standards.  Strong financial and technical background, with a deep understanding of how technology impacts business.   A highly motivated professional with a proven ability to adapt quickly to a challenge and a positive attitude committed to excellence. As a speaker, coach, author and manager Carol has spoken to audiences throughout the United States on topics including Risk, Enterprise Project Management, Change and Controlling Scope.  

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Edwin Everham

Executive Committee

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David Yates

Executive Committee

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William Hammond

Trustee Emeritus

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Adam Pottruck

Trustee

David Yates is President of Geeks-r-Us, Inc., an IT Management and Security firm based in Fort Myers, FL.  The firms roots trace back to the formation of Fort Myers Computers in the 1980's as the IT division of Fort Myers Office Supply. Geeks-r-Us or Mr Yates personally are a recognized Lenovo Business Partner, Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider, RingCentral Certified Communications Professional, and a Webroot Certified Master Platform Partner, among many other certifications and recognitions in an IT career spanning 5 decades. Mr Yates' first "real" job locally was building displays for the opening of the Calusa Nature Center museum in 1977.  Those original diorama's, snake exhibits, etc. evolved and were replaced over the ensuing 40+ years, but Mr Yates' passion for the mission and the Nature Centers place as a natural oasis in the midst of our fast-growing urban fabric has not. Joining the Board of Trusteees in 2020, selected for the Executive Committee in 2021, and elected Vice President in 2022, Mr Yates works on various committees and projects to grow the vision of the organization.
 

Win Everham is a Professor of Ecology and Environmental Studies in the Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University.  He teaches courses at a variety of levels across the discipline, including: our undergraduate capstone course for Environmental Studies majors Conservation Strategies for a Sustainable Future and the graduate course Concepts in the Application of Sustainability.  His research interests center on the response of ecosystems to a variety of different disturbances including hurricanes, fire, invasive species, and human impacts. Most recently he co-edited the book Making the Sustainable University – Trials and Tribulations, a retrospective on FGCU’s sustainability aspirations.  

Since arriving in Florida in 1996, Dr. Everham has served in a variety of capacities on community organizations including:  Chairman of the Estero Bay Agency on Bay Management, member of the Fort Myers Beach Marine Resources Task Force, Board Member for the Calusa Nature Center, member of the Big Cypress National Preserve Off Road Vehicle Advisory Committee, and member of the Institute for Food and Agriculture Immokalee Field Station Agroecology Advisory Board.  
 

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Bill Bergau

Trustee

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Brent Jackson

Trustee

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Charles Schwass

Trustee

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Connie Bennett-Martin

Trustee

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Jeff Starrak

Trustee

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Dick Anderson

Trustee

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Matt Horton

Trustee

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Susie Hassett

Trustee

Susie is the Environmental Education Resource Teacher for Lee County Schools. She has a B.S. in Zoology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a M.A. in Science Education with a specialization in Marine and Aquatic Science from The Ohio State University.  She has been teaching in Lee County since 1991. She was most recently the Science Resource Teacher at Littleton Elementary for ten years, where she was a Golden Apple Finalist seven times.  She has taught kindergarten through college over her career. Prior to teaching she was a zookeeper at the Cincinnati Zoo and a dolphin trainer at Kings Island, Ohio. She continues her marine biology work with the Sea Scouts of Cape Coral and Lover’s Key Discovery Center during the summer, and year round as vice president of  the Volunteer Scientific Research Dive Team citizen science group.  She is also a beekeeper.  

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Maureen Malloy

Trustee

Transparency and accountability

Building trust in our community is vitally important for our success. We strive to encourage investment and involvement through continued transparency on our fundraising, projects, programs, and achievements. Follow us along as we grow here!

Trasparency

The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is proud to have achieved the Candid Gold Transparency Seal for 2024. Candid (formerly GuideStar) showcases nonprofit organizations and helps them build trust through transparency in their work and financials. See more below.

Transparency Award

Knowing we are a sound investment is important when you are considering where to donate your funds. To support our commitment to transparency and accountability, we made it easy to access our public 990 forms, required documentation to the IRS. You can access them below.

Credit Assessment
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