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Lee County To Purchase And Conserve Edison Farms

Jevgenij Voronov
Undeveloped land

Last week, the Lee County Commission voted unanimously to acquire a 3,922-acre parcel in South Lee County. The $42.4 million acquisition, known as Edison Farms, came days after Hurricane Irma directly hit the west coast of Florida.

The investment comes at a cost of nearly half of the county’s total Conservation 20/20 fund, but some groups say the its conversation is well worth the money.

Nicole Johnson, the director of environmental policy at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about the significance of Edison Farms.

The Conservancy’s senior environmental policy specialist, Marisa Carrozzo, also joins the show to discuss how hard-hit areas, such as Bonita Springs, could have looked if the conversation land had instead been developed.

Credit Rachel Iacovone / WGCU
The Edison Farms parcel in South Lee County

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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