Thursday, October 28, 2021




Donna Fiala

Marco Island Chamber of Commerce sponsors a successful and worthwhile program called Leadership Marco, where interested people can learn more about Marco Island. I figured I knew a lot about the Island, but I’d heard so many good comments about the program that I applied, and thankfully was accepted. The first introductory program said it all! Nearly 30 involved people got to meet new people and renew old friendships. The second program focused entirely on the history of Marco Island, told by the master himself, Craig Woodward. We spent the entire day learning, and still ran out of time! Craig unraveled the past in such an interesting manner that we never wanted him to stop! Gene Erjavec and Joe Mankowski, both outstanding archeologists, joined the group for part of the day sharing current projects and answering our questions. How many of you have had a guided tour of the Conservation Collier Calusa Shell Mounds? If you think that is all you will see and learn – you’re in for a marvelous surprise! The information we received was awesome.

During our visit to the Marco Island Historical Museum we viewed the photo art of Don McDonald. His photography is magnificent! He explained some of the background for his photos, and when I asked him about the Ghost Orchid, he told me of an experience he had recently when he was out in the Big Cypress National Preserve and about to photograph the Ghost Orchid. He spotted a woman with a homemade contraption, an extended pole with a kitchen spatula taped securely to the end. She was scraping the Ghost Orchid off a tree! He approached her and said in strong words that what she was doing was illegal. That’s when her sons showed up looking rather menacing. Don learned these people actually sold the Ghost Orchids at Flea Markets in Miami! She pretended she didn’t speak English and her sons spoke very broken English. When they learned that Don had the Rangers on the way, they packed their stuff and left.

The Everglades Seafood Festival Betterment Association is putting out the word that the 40th Annual Seafood Festival date has been changed to the first weekend in February, 2013, to avoid conflict with Super Bowl, and they are now encouraging corporate sponsors to offer their support. They are trying to book top-line country and western entertainers, but they will need funds to reserve the entertainers for the Festival dates. Of course, they are a 501(c)3 non-profit. If you are interested, please contact Marya Repko at or call 695-2905.

Do you know where Copeland is located? Have you ever been there? Do you know the history of Copeland? In 1928 the Janes/Webb Company grew tomatoes in the community. Copeland became a logging town in 1943, which maintained the community until 1957. Since then the area is facing economic stagnation. I’ve been told they have 71% unemployment! I will be looking for people to reach out and give them a helping hand. If you are interested, please contact me at

Isn’t it a great summer? Make sure you enjoy every golden minute of it.

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