4th SWFL Sustains Dinner


    FMB Friends of Arts Host Event

    The Fort Myers Beach Friends of The Arts hosts its 4th Annual “SWFL Sustains Dinner – A Seafood Experience” on Wednesday, November 13, at the Coste Island Cuisine Restaurant in the DiamondHead Resort & Spa at 2000 Estero Boulevard from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $50-per-person and include sustainable food samplings from Coste as well as the Dixie Fish Company, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, Fish-Tale Waterfront Dining and The Whale, along with a Cash Bar, silent auction and musical entertainment by the Pearl Street Band. All proceeds benefit the FMB Friends of The Arts. Purchase advance tickets at fmbarts.org or at 239-980-4381 by Sunday, November 10.

    “The FMB Friends of The Arts sponsors the ‘SWFL Sustains Dinner’ for a few reasons,” said spokesperson Tanya Keller. “It gives our local restaurants a little boost now that we are in the earliest part of season. We want local residents and guests to learn more about sustainable food, particularly our local seafood. We want to call attention and bring awareness to the fragility of our local water quality and how water affects every aspect of our life as a beach community, including health and economy. Finally, it is the mission of the FMB Friends of The Arts to bring attention to all types of art on Estero Island, and that includes the culinary variety!”

    FMB Friends of the Arts began in November 2011 when several residents decided the island needed an organization to promote all kinds of art on and around the beach, whether it be theater, fine arts, or its many musicians. Since its inception, the group hosts the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, Winter Concert Series and more. The Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts is a 501(c)3 tax-deductible charitable organization that facilitates and funds arts presentations to enhance economic conditions and our quality of life by making the arts available and accessible to everyone.

    Ocean Habitats & The Water School

    Tanya offered, “We have two terrific guest speakers! First will be David Wolff, Executive Director of Ocean Habitats, Inc., the non-profit that builds and installs mini-reefs to improve water quality while increasing local fish populations. The Town of Fort Myers Beach installed roughly fifty of these mini-reefs, as did Fish-Tale Marina and quite a few Town residents with their own money, because it is the right thing to do! The mini-reefs hang below your dock and filter and clean water each and every day, all day long, and that is cool! David’s presentation will highlight the importance of the mini-reefs.”

    Mini-reef habitat boxes are high-density plastic that endures the harsh marine environment for a long time. Once in the water, filter feeder organisms like oysters immediately attach to the device, though it takes months before they mature into full functionality. Habitat boxes remain effective for at least 20 years and a mature one filters approximately 32,000 gallons of water daily. In Florida, the species that causes most of the Red Tide is Karenia brevis and the filter feeders consume Karenia brevis as a regular part of their diet. Once the mini-reefs mature, they work 24-hours-a-day without any energy consumption.

    Following Wolff will be Dr. Greg Tolley, a professor from Florida Gulf Coast University and Executive Director of The Water School. “Dr. Tolley is a recognized leading authority in Marine Biology, Ichthyology and Estuarine Ecology,” said Tanya, “and is known for his teaching excellence, his supervision of graduate students, and his administrative ability. He has an easy and engaging personality and will be a wonderful feature speaker!”

    To obtain a list of sustainable seafood items, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide at bit.ly/seafoodisp  For more information on the FMB Friends of The Arts, see fmbarts.org. “The FMB Friends of The Arts especially thanks the DiamondHead Resort and Coste for hosting this marvelous event,” emphasized Tanya, “as they donate the entire space.

    “The ‘SWFL Sustains” Dinner is so much fun, with scrumptious sustainable seafood, tasty cocktails, terrific silent auction items, and interesting presentations about the water and environment in our part of the Gulf of Mexico!”