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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


Fundraising Continues After Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver delivered the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education's Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture on Feb. 8 at the St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church on Sanibel Island.

Florida Gulf Coast University President Wilson Bradshaw presented Oliver with the Rachel Carson Award, the center's highest honor. In the form of a conch shell, the award goes to a recipient who embodies Carson's dedication to public policy based on sound science and ethics, active participation of an ecologically literate citizenry and appreciation of the natural world through the literary arts and environmental education.

The annual lecture seeks to engage the public in discussions on sustainability, ethics, democracy and literature with scholars and public intellectuals. Oliver was invited to speak because her lyrical poetry, collected in "A Thousand Mornings" and other publications, has inspired a deep appreciation for the wildness and beauty of nature.

The following evening, a private fundraising event was held at the beachfront home of Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer. Renowned poet Alison Hawthorne Deming and center co-chairs Mary Evelyn Tucker and David Orr made brief remarks to announce the "Haffenreffer Challenge": Gifts to the center are being matched by the Haffenreffers up to a total of $12,000.

Proceeds of the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Weekend fund scholarly publications, student employment and ongoing educational events.

For further information on matching contributions to the center, contact Director Peter Corcoran at (239) 590-7166, email, or go online to

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