Photography of these defenders of the Gulf are courtesy of John Brady—a fellow defender


Defenders of the Gulf

These six heroes do more than their fair share to conserve the natural and cultural assets that make this region paradise.

Jennifer Jones Director, Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers Jennifer Jones, Ph.D., would argue that the impact of sustainable living reaches far beyond the changes we see outdoors. “Environmental is, of course, a key element in what most of us are familiar with, but there’s also the social and economic aspect of sustainability,” she explains. As the director of the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), Jones is tasked with connecting students to faculty mentors. She also teaches the importance of sustainable living, with a mind toward balancing the needs of urban growth with environmental consciousness. She wants students to focus on how we can sustain growth efficiently. Shaping a generation of leaders who are conscious and equipped to handle issues like climate change and red-tide outbreaks requires educating them outside of ecological studies, she says. That’s partially why every student at FGCU—regardless of their major—is required to take the University Colloquium course, which touches on everything from Fort Myers history to Sanibel’s waterways. Efforts such as these, along with the on-site food forest, 400 protected acres and LEED-certified buildings have earned the college recognition as one of the most sustainable campuses in the country. And Jones is determined to extend that impact into the community. She recognizes that child
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