Cypress Cove Landkeepers is a 501c3 nonprofit based in Naples, Florida. Founded in 2015, the organization was originally called Cypress Cove Conservancy. The founding of this organization and its first property acquisition – the Gore Nature Education Center – was inspired by Dr. Robert H. Gore III, a Naples-based environmentalist dedicated to preserving wild spaces for future generations. Friends and fellow conservationists, led by Bobbie Lee Davenport, established the nonprofit to save Dr. Gore’s beloved 180-acre sanctuary from development and to honor Dr. Gore’s legacy.
In 2019, Cypress Cove Conservancy acquired the central 10 acres of Dr. Gore’s preserve, including his home which now serves as the Gore Nature Education Center. Cypress Cove Conservancy was instrumental in Conservation Collier’s decision to purchase an additional 170 acres that Dr. Gore had acquired, now named the Dr. Robert H. Gore III Preserve in his honor. These two purchases ensure that the entire Gore property will remain protected for generations to come.
The group changed its name to Cypress Cove Landkeepers in 2020 to better reflect its mission to conserve critical habitat for threatened and endangered species and to utilize these wild spaces for environmental education and nature-inspired experiences. The organization presently owns one property and is actively raising funds to purchase additional land that supports wildlife corridors and preserves the beauty of “Old Florida”.
BUILDING ON A LEGACY
Dr. Robert H. Gore's Story
Dr. Robert H. Gore III was a noted research scientist, environmentalist, educator, consultant, and author. He grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and earned a PhD in Marine Invertebrate Zoology from the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
Dr. Gore conducted research in marine biology and ecology with the Smithsonian Institution for ten years, discovering several new species of crabs. He was a Coastal Zone Management Supervisor for the Collier County Natural Resources Management Department for five years. It was on one of his trips into the field for this county job that Dr. Gore discovered the hammock, reminiscent of the family property of his childhood, that would become his home.
Dr. Gore began purchasing land in the eastern area of Collier County known as Golden Gate Estates in the 1980s. Over two decades, he accumulated 71 parcels, mostly contiguous, and built an Old Florida Cracker-style home on a central ten-acre parcel. Dr. Gore named the preserve Naithloriendun, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the “Lord of the Rings” fantasy trilogy.
Dr. Gore shared his love of the Florida wilderness with children and adults, through guided forest walks and folk music gatherings on his beloved preserve. He was an avid and highly skilled wine maker, gourmet cook and musician, with a passion for mountain dulcimer, six and twelve string guitar and harmonica. He published more than seventy-five papers in the scientific and popular press, and authored several books including “The Gulf of Mexico,” “Songs from Solitude,” and “Right Smart to Say.” Dr. Gore passed away peacefully at his home on February 7, 2017 at the age of 77.
We Need Your Help
Help Us Build on Dr. Gore's Legacy!
Our Future & Vision
Southwest Florida’s natural habitats, from the old growth cypress forests to the white sand beaches and mangrove islands, draw visitors and residents from around the world. Without responsible stewardship, all the beauty that we enjoy today will be lost tomorrow as a byproduct of the growth and sprawl that comes with an influx of new arrivals. There are over 42 million acres of land across Florida, so continued land development and urban spread are inevitable.
Calculated and considerate conservation efforts are the only hope in achieving a much-needed balance. Historically it has required and will continue to need a deep commitment from the residents in every community to do their part. Whether by volunteering our time, sharing our passion and knowledge with others or financially supporting organizations working to preserve native habitats, we all have something to contribute.
Cypress Cove Landkeepers was founded in an effort to bring together the community to affect these critical issues specifically in the Southwest Florida region. Through continued acquisition and management of critical habitats, we can provide an opportunity for native flora and fauna to thrive once again. With continued education about the impacts of invasive species, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and the ways in which all of the ecosystems around us are codependent, we are working to create a stronger sense of stewardship.
Thanks to the continued support of valued community partners, incredibly dedicated volunteers and generous donors who share our vision, our first and flagship project, the Gore Nature Education Center has finally come to fruition. This property will be financially self-sustaining by the end of 2022, acting as a community hub for environmental education, critical habitat research, nature inspired events, experiences and exploration.
From this foundation, Cypress Cove Landkeepers will continue to build upon our early success through ongoing acquisition and restoration of additional native Florida lands, beginning with acreage contiguous to the Gore Nature Education Center and The Dr. Robert H. Gore III Preserve, managed by Conservation Collier.