Penny Jarrett was presented with the Audubon of Southwest Florida Environmental Conservationist of the Year Award for 2023 at the ASWF Annual Meeting on June 3, 2023.
She was honored for her tenacious dedication to protecting the imperiled nesting and migrating shorebirds and seabirds that heavily use the Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area and adjoining Carlos Pointe Beach on the south end of Fort Myers Beach. As a biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission a decade ago, she documented the statewide importance of the site for Least Terns, Snowy Plovers, Wilson’s Plovers, Black Skimmers, Piping Plovers, Red Knots, and many other species. She also has provided years of professional environmental education at the Mound House.
In the last five years, Penny has tirelessly led citizen and environmental efforts to prevent the destruction of a big portion of this habitat through the state and town permitting construction of a private bridge across mangroves, rich coastal lagoons, and dynamic beaches and dunes. In that role, she continues to be a huge ally of Audubon of Southwest Florida and Audubon Florida, the latter which continues to litigate against this bridge. This is despite losing her entire home to Hurricane Ian.
Thank you, Penny Jarrett!