Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog - Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for April, 2012

Looking for the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift?

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 20th

Hand made pottery by local artist, Augusta Crane is available for purchase in the Edison Ford Shoppes.

The Edison Ford Museum Store, Ford Cottage Shoppe and Garden Shoppe have a variety of gift items for every Mom this Mother’s Day.

Orchids, herb baskets, plants, flowers and garden items are available at the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe.

Handmade and amber jewelry, Sanibel soaps, sun hats and original artwork from local artists like Augusta Crane, Leoma Lovegrove, Marie Dyer and other Florida artists are available in the Museum Store and Ford Cottage Shoppe.

Edison Ford Gift Memberships last ALL YEAR LONG and include unlimited visits to the Edison Ford as well as free and/or discounted admission to over 600 reciprocal museums and gardens throughout the nation.  Edison Ford Members receive a 10% discount in all Edison Ford retail shops.

 

 

Volunteers Honored at Annual Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 20th

Edison Ford volunteers were honored by staff and trustees at the Annual Appreciation Ceremony at the Royal Palm Yacht Club on April 10, 2012.  Last year, volunteers contributed time and services valued at $480,000.

Congratulations and thank you to the following volunteers who achieved milestone hours of service:

●  More than 4,000 hours: Gary J. Bishop

●  2,500 hours: LeRoy Moore, Nancy Owens

●  2,000 hours: Clara Schmidt, Mary Ann Sedlock

●  1,500 hours: Karen Coleman, Dick Dutton, Helen Park

●  1,000 hours: Phyllis Bickerstaff, Debbie Brandt, Jamie MaGirl, Bob Slifka, Alcy Truillo

●  750 hours: Pedro Correa, Carl Horner, Jan MaGirl, Dolores Russell

●  500 hours: Aldy Barclay, Anne Brown, Phyllis Catron, David Cornell, Janet Cornell, Lina Jakub, Donna Johnson, Wilma Miller, Sue Monteleone, James Owens, Trudie Prevatt, Frances Wright

To learn more about volunteering at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, visit us online at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

 

 

New Short River Cruises at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 18th

Media Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director
293-334-7419
Photo:  New summer river cruises from Edison Ford include tour of homes, gardens, lab and museum; lunch at private club; and historian led river cruise

New Short River Cruises at Edison Ford

Fort Myers, FL(April 16, 2012)Beginning April 25, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates will team up with Captiva Cruises and the Royal Palm Yacht Club to offer short cruises of the Caloosahatchee, tours of Edison Ford and lunch at the Royal Palm Yacht Club.  The new package program will be available throughout the day every Wednesday and Thursday and on other days for prescheduled groups with special reservations.  Cruises depart at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Edison Ford officials feel that this is a great way to learn about the ecology and history of the river that the Edison and Ford families loved so much, explored and fished. Thomas Edison so loved the Caloosahatchee, River of the Calusa, he purchased 15 acres and built Seminole Lodge, his stunning winter estate facing the river in 1886.  He also built an 1,800 foot long wood pier  with entertaining areas and boathouses for his electric launch, the Reliance.

The original Edison historic electric launch was a twenty-four foot long flat-bottom river touring vessel which was powered by Edison Batteries (of course) and charged in the station in his boathouse.  It met the need of his growing family and visitors and was complete with stylish wicker furniture.  Over the years, the electric launch would take Edison, his wife Mina, their family, friends and visiting dignitaries on many exploration trips during their long vacations in Southwest Florida.

Today, visitors to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates will also tour the Caloosahatchee on a modern flat-bottom vessel complete with awnings and the same leisurely travel agenda.   The river cruises are a great way to experience the history of this important river and the ecology and environmental importance to Southwest Florida.

The cost of the program is Edison Ford Members: adults $30 children 12 and under $25; non members:  adults $45, children 12 and under $30 and includes an audio tour of the Edison Ford homes, gardens, lab and museum; buffet lunch at the private Royal Palm Yacht Club overlooking the estates and river; and historian led boat cruise of the Caloosahatchee River.  Visitors may purchase the tours and lunch separately:  audio tour of the Edison Ford, Members FREE, non members adults $20, children 12 and under $11; lunch at the Royal Palm Yacht Club, $20; River cruise adults $20, children 12 and under $15.

Contact Edison Ford for cruise times, ticket information, lunch and tour options and also to arrange special times and dates for group reservations.  The Edison Ford Winter Estates is open daily from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  For more information about the site, visit the website at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org. The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

President’s Update for April 2012

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 13th

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

We are just finishing up a very busy six months at Edison Ford with the grand opening of the restoration of the Edison Botanic Research Lab and recording breaking crowds for tours and programs for the period.  In fact, most  days, we used all of our available parking and any areas nearby for visitor parking and group buses.

As we complete six years as a non-profit corporation and more than a decade in our transition from management by the City of Fort Myers to the new corporation, the evidence is clear that new programs, visitor growth, and award restoration are attracting a more diverse and larger audience from all over the world.

Our local community programs are also growing, too, as we include more ways for our residents to join in special activities and exhibits.  For example, the recent Black Maria Film Festival of award winning short films attracted 150 participants who enjoyed the riverside film venue, and the annual Antique Car and Boat Show brought in a record breaking 147 cars and boats and record breaking crowds.

This month, we begin a project to celebrate the people who have contributed special talents to the Edison Ford over the years.  The project includes an oral history video program as well as an exhibit of life accomplishments.  Our first honoree will be Helen Hendry, Edison Ford Trustee, Florida Landscape Architect, and longtime area resident.  Her recent project was the completion of the new landscape median which includes the Helen Johnson (Hendry) Bougainvillea but her impact at the Edison Ford and throughout Southwest Florida is very broad and impressive.

As the school year draws to a close, I am especially proud to single out the accomplishments of our Education Department as they teach and integrate science, engineering, math and the arts in the schools and here at the Edison Ford.  They have been a leader in the county-wide STEM education program through the unique hands-on science teaching of The Wild Wizard and Edison Muckers, they won the Edison Festival of Light Parade with Lee County High Tech Central and they have grown the Homeschool Program to reach more than 120 families monthly.  As we head into our 7th Annual Inventor’s Summer Camp, I want to congratulate them, encourage them and help to provide the teaching areas and resources that are making our overall program truly unique.

WGCU-TV/Edison Ford Documentary Goes National

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 12th

Into the Wild: Edison, Ford & Friends has been selected for national distribution to more than 350 public television stations across the nation.  The half-hour documentary produced by WGCU-TV brings to life the annual camping excursions of three famous American legends – Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and John Burroughs – that began with a 1914 trek into the Everglades.  The initial campfire camaraderie inspired a series of camping trips throughout the eastern United States for the next 10 years, providing the renowned trio with relaxation, exploration and a chance to get in touch with the American public.

Award-winning, Naples-based researcher, writer and producer Lynne Howard Frazier, produced Into the Wild for WGCU, and it premiered in April 2011 in Southwest Florida.  It follows two other documentaries WGCU has produced on America’s most famous inventor.  Untold Stories: Edison’s Quest for Rubber explores Edison’s search for a sustainable source of rubber through botanical research at his Fort Myers laboratory.  Untold Stories: The Wizard’s Wife examines how Mina Edison played the role of community leader during the family’s seasonal stays in Southwest Florida.

“It’s one of the first history programs that goes beyond our region, but is still focused on Thomas Edison,” say WGCU Executive Producer Barbara Linstrom.  “It’s a great example of the partnership we’ve developed with the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.  We couldn’t have produced such a quality program without their assistance, including the archival footage we were able to obtain.”

Into the Wild was approved by a majority vote of subscribers of American Public Television, a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961.  Into the Wild is slated for national release in May and 359 stations in the public television system will have three years to run the documentary in their market.

“It’s a great opportunity to share Southwest Florida’s rich history with the rest of the country,” say Linstrom.

Several other documentaries produced as part of WGCU’s “Untold Stories” history series have been distributed nationally in recent years, including: The Unconquered Seminoles; Protecting Paradise: The Western Everglades; Edge of the Everglades: Big Cypress National Preserve; The Wizard’s Wife; and First Pitch.

Into the Wild: Edison, Ford & Friends airs Monday, April 9 at 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 at 11:30 p.m. on WGCUHDTV 30.1/Cable 3 and 440.

If you miss the episode, copies of the program are available for purchase in the Edison Ford Museum Store or on-line at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

Related post: Into the Wild: The Camping Adventures of Edison, Ford, and Friends

 

Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp Registration Begins

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 12th

Registration for Inventor’s Camp is underway.  The week long camps begin May 29 – August 3 with of topics in science, art, and nature.  Camps are grouped by grade levels,

1st – 3rd and 4th – 6th.

Cost: Edison Ford Members $200; non-members $230.

To register or for more information call the Edison Ford Education Department at 239-334-7419 or visit our website at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

 

Super Solar Scientists ● May 29 – June 1

Campers will learn how Edison Ford powers the museum, be a part of a solar cook-off, and take on different solar power challenges with our new solar science tools!

Space & Rockets ● June 4 – June 8

Campers will explore the outer reaches of the universe, float on our Lunar Lander, build rockets, and much more!

Kitchen Chemistry ● June 11 – June 15

A combination of the best experiments the Wild Wizard has to offer, campers will learn how to take everyday things found in the kitchen and turn them into chemistry experiments.

Animation ● June 18 – June 22

Campers will learn improvisation, comedy techniques and basic acting to develop original characters, write their own story, choose animation styles, and make a short film. Films are edited and put on to a DVD for participants to take home and share with the whole family.

Movie Making Magic ● June 25 – June 29

Act, direct, operate the camera, and build sets. Campers will be fully immersed in the art of filmmaking. Participants will study sound effects, special effects, and script writing. Every camper will receive a DVD of their final film.

Eager Engineers ● July 9 – July 13

“To be a good inventor you need a good imagination and a pile of junk,” said Thomas Edison. Campers will use recycled materials and develop green inventions, conduct science experiments, participate in balloon car races, build bridges, and more.

Time Travelers ● July 16 – July 20

Campers take full advantage of the Edison Ford site by operating inventions, learning some of histories mysteries with scavenger hunts and re-enact famous moments from the past.

Physics in Motion ● July 23 – July 27

Get up and start moving while we have fun with physics through mini-golf, rocket cars, slinky sound effects and other challenges. This new camp will explore the world large and small from atoms to outer space.

Smarts in Art & Science ● July 30 – August 3

Campers will experiment with many art materials and create art for display at the Edison Inventor’s Summer Camp Art Exhibition 2012 on Friday, August 3rd.

2012 Summer Inventor’s Camp Schedule and Scholarship Donations

     For families who are ready to enroll in the 2012 Summer Inventor’s Camp, the schedule and classes have been set, and it looks like another great summer ahead. Fees for camp are similar to the past five years and there are also competitive scholarships available for students who submit an application with teacher recommendation. There is also a Camp Counselor program for older students.

     If you would like to contribute a tax exempt gift to provide a Summer Camp Scholarship and Edison Ford Family Membership, please send your payment donation check of $250 to:

 Edison Ford Summer Camp Scholarship Fund
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
P.O. Box 2368
Fort Myer, FL  33902

 

 

Art in the Gardens: Lizards & Snakes Opening Reception

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 11th

Art in the Gardens
Lizards & Snakes

Opening Reception
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL

Sunday, April 15, 2012,  2 – 4 p.m.
Heritage Garden


Twenty four talented student groups and their teachers joined with the Edison Ford to create imaginative and artistic sculptures of Lizards & Snakes for the gardens.

Also enjoy:

  • Activities and Show with the Wild Wizard
  • Hold a hissing cockroach with Truly Nolen
  • Learn about insects with Lee County Mosquito Control
  • Touch a bearded dragon from Mariner High School
  • Refreshments

    Lizards & Snakes Exhibit at the Edison Ford continues through May 2012

    Thank you to our sponsors: The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc. and Truly Nolen

NEW Garden & Estates Tour at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 11th

Media Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director
293-334-7419
Photos:  Banana plants used as barriers at the Edison pool complex, photo by Manfred Behr; lettuce grows in the organic gardens at the Edison Ford.

NEW Garden & Estates Tour at the
Edison & Ford Winter Estates

PoolRiver copy NEW Garden & Estates Tour at the Edison & Ford Winter EstatesFort Myers, FL (April 9, 2012)The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is offering a new Garden and Estates Tour to answer the interest of visitors and community members who are interested in practical home gardening and in learning from the expertise from the horticulturalists at Edison Ford as well as the historic garden tips from the original families, the Edisons and Fords, who used the site very effectively a hundred years ago.

The new Garden & Estates Tour will be available rain or shine, every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and include the new organic garden areas, the propagating nursery, Garden Shoppe and of course 20 acres of historic gardens and homes on the river.  The gardens were recognized with the top  award from the National Garden Clubs Inc. for restoration as well as gardening expertise.  The horticulturalists at Edison Ford are also UF Master Gardeners and teachers.  The tour will include historic information and advice on planting and care, seed selection, home ‘victory’ gardens and sustainability and environmental concerns.

 NEW Garden & Estates Tour at the Edison & Ford Winter EstatesIn the past few years, there has been a 20% increase in home gardening with a return to using vegetables, herbs and other edible plants in ornamental landscapes as well as installing family and community gardens to provide consumers with home grown food ready for the table.  “We notice more and more that our visitors want to know how to grow the same edible foods they see here at home.  They are interested in heritage seeds, organic substitutes for fertilizer and insect control, and practical growing tips that are ageless,” says Todd Roy, master gardener and Garden Shoppe manager. The Garden Shoppe is stocked with many proven varieties of plants that grow easily.

Both Edison and Ford also cultivated an edible landscape at their estates in Fort Myers including citrus, tropical fruits, vegetables and even a truck garden area.  Today, many of their larger trees still remain and are still bearing crops while others have been reintroduced throughout the site.  Visitors will be introduced to the bananas used as landscape barriers and used as a great food  source, dozens of varieties of mangoes both historical and new varieties, as well as a great variety of citrus that characterize the estates.

In addition to the historical gardens, the tour will also include useful areas like herb mounds, container and raised bed gardensRain barrels, drip systems, worm castings, crab shell soil amendments, and unique mulch techniques will be seen throughout the site and many date back to practices of the two inventors and their families.

The garden and estates walking tour is about two hours in length and participants can also extend their tour with the audio wand tour of the property (available in English, German, French and Spanish).  Registration is not required.  Cost of the Garden and Estates Tour is $40 (groups may preregister for special times and fees) and Edison Ford Members are freeThe ticket includes the audio wand.   

The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

April 2012 Programs & Events at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 10th

Media Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director
293-334-7419
Photos: River Cruises begin on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Edison Ford starting April 25; NEW Garden Tour at the Edison Ford on Tuesdays at 10:30

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – April  2012
Fort Myers, Florida(April 2, 2012) –In addition to tours and regular activities at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, there are special programs and activities to engage both visitors and residents throughout the week.  The month of April is highlighted with the opening of the fourth annual Art in the Garden Exhibit:  Snakes, Lizards & Turtles; Free Educators Day and new tour options including Edison Ford Garden Tour; and Edison Ford Tour, Lunch & River Cruise on Wednesdays and Thursdays; as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month.  Call 239-334-7419 for additional information.

The April schedule of programs and events include:

Edison Ford Winter Estates open Easter weekend

NEW Edison Ford Garden Tour, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.
Join Edison Ford curatorial garden staff and experience the 20 acres of gardens of the Edison and Ford families in a whole new way.  Thomas Edison designed the gardens of his winter estate for many purposes including research.  Mina Edison, a leader in community garden and beautification councils, planted for beauty.  The new tour combines the history of the site and landscape, as well as advice on gardening from expert staff.  Cost:  Edison Ford Members FREE, non members $40 and includes audio wand.

Edison Ford adds Spanish and French languages to audio tours
Beginning in April Spanish and French language audio tours will be available at the Edison Ford.   The audio tour program began in 2007 and has been available in English and German. Maps in English, German, French and Spanish are also available.

Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp registration:
Registration is now open for Edison Ford Inventor’s Summer Camp that begins May 29 – August 3 in science, art and nature.  Camps are separated by grade levels, 1st– 3rdand 4th– 6th.  Students in the 7thgrade and above can qualify as Summer Camp counselors.  Registration:  Edison Ford Members, $200; non members $230.
May 29 – June 1          Super Solar Scientists
June 4 – 8                    Space & Rockets
June 11 – 15                Kitchen Chemistry
June 18 – 22                Animation
June 25 – 29                Movie Making Magic
July 9 – 13                   Eager Engineers
July 16 – 20                 Time Travelers
July 23 – 27                 Physics in Motion
July 30 – August 3        Smarts in Arts

Emerging Inventors Early Learners, April 5 & 19, 9 – 11 a.m.
Emerging Inventors Early Learners class is a child and parent learning class for children ages 1 – 3 years.  Each class includes first hand learning on the historical site as well as changing seasonal themes combining science, invention, reading and hands-on activities.  Edison Ford Members $5, non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child.

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony, April 10, 1 – 2:30 p.m., Royal Palm Yacht Club
Edison Ford volunteers are invited to join staff and trustees of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates at the annual award ceremony with entertainment, refreshments and presentation honoring and thanking volunteers.  Reservations required and participants must be active Edison & Ford Winter Estates volunteers in order to attend.

Celebration of Helen Hendry, April 15, 3 p.m.
Premiere of a series of oral history programs celebrating the people of Southwest Florida who have made an impact and have played a part in the Edison and Ford legacies.  Helen Hendry will be celebrated with a special exhibit highlighting her work and contributions in the landscape design field.  Her lifelong accomplishments have also been recorded in an oral history presentation that will be shown at 4 p.m. in the Edison Ford Education Center located in the Edison Caretaker’s House. Reservations required.

Art in the Gardens “Snakes, Lizards & Turtles” Exhibit, opening reception April 15, 2 p.m.
In the heritage gardens at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Lee County students create an environmentally interactive artwork exhibit using recycled materials to make life-like garden art. The exhibit is sponsored by The Foundation of Lee County Public Schools and Truly Nolen.  The exhibit is FREE to the public.

HomeSchool: Ecosystems, April 16, 1 – 3 p.m.
HomeSchoolstudents will learn about the environment as they investigate different ecosystems.  Students and their parents can enroll in a two hour program with curriculum that follows the Next Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Program recommended for grades 1 – 6.   Edison Ford Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child.

NEW FOR SUMMER Edison Ford Tour, Lunch, & River Cruise, Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning April 25 & 26
Beginning April 25 and 26, visitors to the Edison Ford will enjoy an audio tour of the historic homes, gardens, museum and lab; boat cruise on the Caloosahatchee River as well as tour of the river with naturalist commentary; and buffet lunch at the Royal Palm Yacht, a private club overlooking the river. Cost:  Adults $45; Children 12 and under $35.  Reservations requested by calling 239-334-7419.

FREE Day for Educators, Kids and School Support Staff, April 29, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Science…History… Art…Teachers and kids will receive FREE admission throughout the day at the Edison Ford. Teachers can register for special tours highlighting the many educational opportunities for their students.  Registration is recommended by calling the Education Department at 239-334-7419.  Teachers and school staff must present a school issued identification badge to receive free admission and children must be accompanied by a paid adult.

The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

Media Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director

293-334-7419
Photo:  Edison Estates, photo by LB Blanchard
Audio Tour Now Available in French and Spanish Languages
at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

FORT MYERS, FL(April 3, 2012)–  The Edison & Ford Winter Estates have added French and Spanish language audio tours expanding the interpretive experience for French and Spanish speaking visitors.  The Audio Tour program at the Edison Ford began in 2007 and was offered in English and German.

“Audio tours have been a huge success with our English and German speaking visitors,” says Edison Ford President & CEO, Chris Pendleton.  “We have seen an increase in French visitors for several years and anticipate the Spanish language market to grow.  Now was the time to start offering two additional languages to the Edison Ford program.”

The Audio Tour program encompasses the historic homes and buildings, the gardens, the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory and the Museum and includes maps in English, German, French and Spanish.

Over 1,200 cultural sites and institutions have enriched their visitor experience with audio tours including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Stonehenge, and the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

The cost of an Audio Tour at the Edison Ford is $20 for adults, $11 for children ages 6 – 12.

The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.