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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU and Naples Botanical Garden to Build Center for Education and Research

FORT MYERS, FL - Today, Florida Gulf Coast University and Naples Botanical Garden (NBG) hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the Harvey Kapnick Education and Research Center to advance their shared mission of environmental education and sustainability.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will house state-of-the-art educational facilities, research laboratories, office spaces for resident and visiting scientists, and a green house. The building features a large multi-purpose room to host gatherings for community events such as flower shows, receptions and symposia.

"As an institution that places great emphasis on environmental education and sustainability, FGCU embraces its partnership with Naples Botanical Garden," said FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw. "FGCU and NBG share a common vision of environmental education and sustainability. This facility will increase our ability to provide unique hands-on educational experiences, conduct plant-related research, engage in community outreach and collaborate on research."

The Center will be the nexus of all Garden programming, serving as the base of school and Lifelong Learning courses. Area garden clubs and plant societies will be able to utilize spaces in the Center for meetings and specimen showcases.

FGCU faculty and students will conduct research on such topics as bio-energy (bio-fuels), global warming impacts and modeling, medicinal plant biology, native plant species, and sub-tropical plant ecology.

Students at this facility will acquire unique educational experiences in state-of-the-art laboratories with integrated green house facilities, classrooms, and outdoor gardens, preparing them to enter high-tech positions being developed in Southwest Florida.

Additionally, this partnership will facilitate many educational outreach opportunities for the community to learn more about various important topics such as the role of plants in lessening global warming impacts.

FGCU views this partnership as vitally important in helping Southwest Florida and the state transition from a tourism-based economy to a more diverse high-tech industry.

The combined facilities and expertise of FGCU and NBG will attract visiting scientists and students alike from all over the nation and the world creating more opportunities for workforce development in our region.

The Kapnick Education and Research Center set in the context of a larger Naples Botanical Garden campus that includes a subtropical to tropical theme provides unparalleled access to various aspects of Florida, Brazilian, Asian, and Caribbean Gardens.

The Center is expected to be completed by December 2009.

For more information, media representatives should contact chair of Marine and Ecological Sciences and professor of Marine Science Aswani Volety at (239) 590-7216 or or executive director of Naples Botanical Garden Brian Holley at (239) 643-7275 or

A rendering of the Harvey Kapnick Education and Research Center is available for download at:

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