“LEARNING – JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT!” The 2018 Winter/Spring Learning Sessions are listed below in chronologic order by their beginning date for the months of March and April. Those beginning in January and February are on separate pages. Included with descriptions is biographical information on each instructor. Many sessions are one day sessions but others continue on the same day of the week for two to six weeks.
All learning sessions, except for walking and hiking ones, are held in classrooms on the Charlotte campus of Florida SouthWestern State College at 26300 Airport Road in Punta Gorda. Each classroom has up-to-date audio-visual equipment and there is ample parking with short walks to the “D” building (the only two-story building on campus).
You can register online with your credit card by clicking on the appropriate payment button (FRIENDS member or non-member) or you can call the LLI office at 941-637-3533. Refunds must be requested either by email or in writing through the U.S. mail and will be granted only prior to the first scheduled session.
NOTE: Additional sessions may be added as details are confirmed.
Now make your choices and learn — just for the fun of it!
Thursdays, Mar. 1—Mar.22, 8:30 am (4 hikes) "Nature Hikes" with John Phillips
These hikes are intended to teach participants about the various ecosystems of subtropical, southwest Florida and the flora and fauna living here. These hikes will all begin at 8:30 am at the trail-head and last between 2-3 hours. Participants should be in good physical condition, dress appropriately for trail hiking, and bring water and insect repellent.
Mar. 1, Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area: 29200 Tuckers Grade, Punta Gorda, FL, 33982. Travel south from Punta Gorda on Hwy. 41 or I-75 (to exit 158) and take Tuckers Grade east directly into the Management Area. Park on the grass just past the pay station where the road splits. This will be an easy walk on a dirt road to view a well-managed pine flatwoods.
Mar. 8, Old Datsun Trail: 12301 Burnt Store Rd., Punta Gorda, FL 33955. Take Burnt Store Rd. west from Hwy. 41, 2.7 miles to the parking lot on the right (1.5 miles past the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center). This will be a moderately easy walk through a mixed forest of pine, oak, and palm trees. There is a good possibility of seeing an eagle’s nest.
Mar. 15, Deep Creek Preserve: 10797 SW Peace River St., Arcadia, FL 34269. Travel from Port Charlotte on Kings Highway (or if traveling on I-75, leave at exit 170 and head north) to Sandhill Blvd. From there continue on Kings Highway 2.7 miles to Peace River St. (there is a large sign to the Navigator Restaurant) and turn right. Go 0.2 miles to the preserve parking lot on the right. This will be a moderately easy walk through a pine flatwoods to a freshwater marsh and back through a hardwood/palm hammock.
Mar. 22, Morgan Park: 1100 W. Hickory St., Arcadia, FL 34266. From Punta Gorda and areas south: Take Hwy. 17 from Punta Gorda to Arcadia and turn left on Hwy 70. Go 1 mile and turn right on W. Parker Ave. (just before the Peace River bridge). Go to the end, turn left on W. Hickory and follow the signs into Morgan Park, through the gate, past the Superintendent’s house to the parking lot. From Port Charlotte and areas north: Take Hwy. 769 (Kings Highway) 14.2 miles from I-75 (exit 170) to Hwy. 72. Turn right and go 4.8 miles to Hwy. 70. Turn right and go 0.9 miles to W. Parker Ave. (just across the Peace River). Turn left and go to the end, turn left on W. Hickory and follow the signs into Morgan Park, through the gate, past the Superintendent’s house to the parking lot. This is an easy walk through a 240 acre park that parallels the Peace River and has abundant large Live Oaks, cypress and unusual vegetation.
John Phillips is a retired college administrator form northern New York State. He is a graduate of the New York State Ranger School, earned a BS in communication arts and an MS in extension education from Cornell University, and earned another MS in higher education administration from SUNY at Albany. He is a Florida Master Naturalist and certified as an instructor in the Florida Master Naturalist program.
Thursday, Mar. 1, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D108 “The Florida Crackers” with Michael Tucker
When the US pioneers started to settle Florida prior to the Civil War, they found a strange breed of cattle living in the wild. These cattle had to be hunted out of the brush and then herded to shipment points. Men needed good horses, dogs, and long whips to do this kind of work. The whips made a loud crack which was enough to startle the animal and get it moving. This was hard, dangerous work, but many families were able to survive because of the Crackers. Born and raised in rural central Florida, Michael Tucker has lived and absorbed the very fabric of the Crackers. He embodies the voice of his Scots/Irish and Creek Indian ancestors in his novel, The Crackers: The Legend of Jessie B. Tucker. Entwined in his storytelling are lessons of the spirit and the heart, reflecting this complex man & his unique style of writing.
Monday, Mar. 12, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D 201 “The Science of Happiness” with Marsha Sipes
This title refers to the field of social science called positive psychology: the study of those things that make life worth living. While traditional psychology focuses on helping us get less of what we don’t want and fix the things that are wrong with us, the “science of happiness” focuses on what’s going well and in helping us get more of what we do want, and making ourselves better, happier people. Students will learn seven happiness habits backed by science and how to implement them into their everyday life. Marsha is a motivational speaker and positive psychology coach who uses research based tools, reflective insights and experiential techniques to help others realize and cultivate the mindfulness, happiness and wellbeing that leads to a joyful life. Marsha has a degree in Organizational Management and studied Positive Psychology at the Wellbeing Institute under Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, Harvard lecturer and author of NY Times Bestseller Happier.
Wednesday, Mar. 14, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D201 “Explore Florida in One Day” with Rosenda Calloway
Jump in your car and discover the best of Florida in one day! Rosenda Calloway is the Travel Sales Development Specialist for AAA Travel and chose travel as a career many years ago. She grew up in the Mojave Desert and her first trip as a travel agent was to Hawaii and she became hooked. She has had the pleasure of traveling to 6 of the 7 continents and hopes to add Antarctica soon. Her favorite countries outside of the United States are too many to name. Although she has traveled throughout the world, she still feels like “there is no place like home” and she spends a lot of time exploring and traveling around Florida.
Wednesday, Mar. 14, 3:00 – 4:50 pm (1 session), Classroom D108 “Little Salt Spring Archaeological Site" with Steve Koski
Warm Mineral Springs and Little Salt Spring are two significant archeological sites in the city of North Port. Underwater archaeologist, Steve Koski, will present findings about Florida's earliest inhabitants which have been yielded by the sites, with a focus on Little Salt Spring. Steve Koski is the Sarasota County Archaeologist. He holds degrees from U Mass and Arizona State University. He is a recognized expert on this site, having studied the site since 1986.
Thursday, Mar. 15, 1:00 – 2:50 pm (1 session), in Library (B120) "Guided Tour of the Learning Resource Center Geology Exhibits” – Dr. Richard Yarger
A narrated tour of the campus library exhibits designed by Dr. Yarger, many of which were discovered on the FSW Charlotte campus during its construction in 1996. The focus will be on the significance of many of the objects on display and the stories that they tell. Dr. Yarger led the growth of the Charlotte Campus from 1984 until his retirement in 2002. In addition to educational administration his background is in the earth sciences.
Tuesday, Mar. 20, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D108 “The Calusa People and their Lifeways” with Penny Jarrett
This learning session is scheduled one week before the optional LLI tour of the Mound House at Fort Myers Beach March 27. Participants provide their own transportation & pay admission to the Mound House. Learn about the rise and fall of the Calusa people who developed a complex society over their 2,000 year domain in Southwest Florida prior to the arrival by the Spanish in the 1500s. As a subsistence culture, the Calusa successfully utilized the abundant local resources while also developing an extensive trade network which extended well-beyond Florida. Their rich history continues to unfold even today as new discoveries are made. Penny Jarrett, Education Coordinator at the Mound House – A Cultural & Environmental Learning Center, has been providing cultural and environmental education programs to multi-aged groups for over 25 years. Along with the written accounts & understanding of the Calusa people gained from many years of study by Florida’s noted archaeologists, Penny draws from her own experience living among subsistence people in the Republic of Congo and Belize to interpret the Calusa people and their lifeways.
Wednesday, Mar. 21, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D201 “Discover More of Florida, Overnight” with Rosenda Calloway
Enjoy a more leisurely paced car trip and overnight stay to discover the best of Florida in two days! Rosenda Calloway is the Travel Sales Development Specialist for AAA Travel and chose travel as a career many years ago. She grew up in the Mojave Desert and her first trip as a travel agent was to Hawaii and she became hooked. She has had the pleasure of traveling to 6 of the 7 continents and hopes to add Antarctica soon. Her favorite countries outside of the United States are too many to name. Although she has traveled throughout the world, she still feels like “there is no place like home” and she spends a lot of time exploring and traveling around Florida.
Wednesdays, Mar. 21 & 28, 1:00 – 2:50 pm (2 sessions), Classroom D108 “The U.S. Financial System: Upheaval and Evolution” with Gene Laber
In late 2017 the Federal Reserve began unwinding its extraordinary expansion of monetary stimulus after Great Recession. The monetary easing sharply increased the money supply and bank reserves, and the shift to unwinding has stimulated widespread debate about its implications. This course will examine the Fed’s extraordinary response to the Great Recession and analyze the implications of the unwinding. A decades-long evolution in banking and finance will be analyzed and related to current policy debates, including issues related to bank regulation, interest rates and inflation. Gene Laber is professor emeritus at the Univ. of Vermont. He holds a PhD in economics from the Univ. of Maryland and was on the faculty of the Univ. of Vermont, where he taught courses in economics and finance for 28 years. He has consulted with numerous corporations, testified as an expert witness in regulatory proceedings and court cases in various states, and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank.
Wednesday, Mar. 28, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D201 “Florida and Beyond!” with Rosenda Calloway
Go beyond the borders of Florida and discover what’s beyond…on a 3-day trip! Rosenda Calloway is the Travel Sales Development Specialist for AAA Travel and chose travel as a career many years ago. She grew up in the Mojave Desert and her first trip as a travel agent was to Hawaii and she became hooked. She has had the pleasure of traveling to 6 of the 7 continents and hopes to add Antarctica soon. Her favorite countries outside of the United States are too many to name. Although she has traveled throughout the world, she still feels like “there is no place like home” and she spends a lot of time exploring and traveling around Florida.
Thursday, Apr. 5, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D108 “Useppa Island Uncovered: Archaeology” with Annette Snapp
This learning session is scheduled three weeks before the LLI trip to Useppa Island on April 24, 2018. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Useppa Island in Pine Island Sound holds immeasurable archaeological significance for the Southwest Florida region. This learning session introduces you to the archeological finds of Useppa Island going back over 10,000 years and the stories they reveal of pre-historic culture. Annette Snapp serves as Historian at the Charlotte County Historical Center. She received a PhD in anthropology from the University of Oxford and has taught museum studies at University College London as well as anthropology and sustainability courses at Florida Gulf Coast University. She has worked in the field of historic preservation in Southwest Florida for over 20 years.
Friday, Apr. 6, 9:30 – 11:30 am (1 session) "Punta Gorda Nature Park Walk" with Bob Bechtold
Come explore this gem of a park, located right in the middle of the Punta Gorda Isles residential community! This 24-acre miniature park, owned & operated by the City, is a natural conservation area for public outdoor recreation. It contains portions of all three of the primary Florida habitats: coastal, wetlands and uplands. We will walk the ½ mile nature trail through the park, passing through the different habitats & concluding our walk at the PGI Green Thumbs portion of the Park. There you will be introduced to different gardens by the volunteers who maintain them. These gardens include: butterfly, herb, spice & edibles, hummingbird, rock & wetland. This area has become a place of beauty, tranquility & education for our citizenry and visitors. Bob Bechtold will lead the nature walk through the park. Bob has been a resident of PGI for six years, and is a Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist. The entire tour is expected to last 2 hours. The walking areas are natural surfaces and level. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and footwear, and bring water and sunscreen.
Thursday, Apr. 12, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D108 "Useppa Island Uncovered: Legends and History" with Crystal Diff
This learning session is scheduled two weeks before the LLI trip to Useppa Island on April 24, 2018. As the history of Useppa Island grew, so did its outlandish legends. In this learning session, we will recount the legend of Gasparilla and uncover the truth of Useppa Island history lying in wait behind the fiction. Crystal Diff serves as Historical Coordinator at Charlotte County Historical Center. She has been creating local historical programs, presentations and traveling exhibits in Charlotte County for over three years. She received a BA in art from Florida Gulf Coast University, with a focus on museum studies and art history, and has over six years’ of experience in the field.
Friday, Apr. 13, 9:30 – 11:00 am (1 session) "Parks that Teach Nature Walk"
On this guided walk you will view the unique ecosystems of the mangroves, identify trees & shrubs, and learn how these plants can fit into your home landscape. Additionally, you will experience the habitats that support many different Florida creatures. Learn about the mangrove community, its ability to protect the shoreline, and its key function to provide a nursery for fish, birds, crustaceans and other creatures. This guided walk along this special corridor is led by Charlotte Co. Extension Master Gardeners who have completed an extensive training course sponsored by the Univ. of Florida, as well as specialized training regarding the flora along this pathway. The walk departs from the large star in the pathway, located in the north corner of the Fisherman’s Village parking lot, near the outdoor exercise equipment. The walk will last approximately 1 1/2 hours. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and footwear and it is recommended to bring water and sunscreen.