The Student News Site of Florida Gulf Coast University

Eagle Media

Eagle Media

Eagle Media

Emmy-winning filmmaker partners with Calusa Nature Center

Discovery Channel’s Andy Brandy Casagrande IV will be the featured guest speaker at the “Return to Nature” fundraiser, hosted by the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.
If you’ve ever watched a marathon of “Shark Week,” or just tuned in for a glimpse at the jaws of a great white shark, then chances are you’ve seen footage filmed by Casagrande.

Diver speaks at Calusa
Photo courtesy of Caryn Smith

Casagrande is known as one of the most accomplished shark cinematographers of our time. His work on Discovery Channel has allowed viewers to take a step into the breathtaking world of the ocean and, with it, the chance to meet its greatest predator, the shark. His cinematography is currently widely-known and praised. He has even been the recipient of an Emmy Award. Now, Casagrande has been chosen to appear at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium’s “Return to Nature” fundraiser.
Casagrande will be featured as a guest speaker at the event and will deliver a presentation to attendees. VIP attendees will enjoy a personal cocktail hour and a chance to take photos with the filmmaker.
In the evening, guests will be able to see wildlife presentations with birds of prey. This will include Trouper, the blind raccoon, as well as other animal ambassadors. There will also be a preview of CNCP’s 2017-20 revitalization plan. Aside from this, attendees will be able to participate in live and silent auctions, while enjoying great food and drink.
“This is a great night for a worthy cause,” said Brandon G. Phillips, the chair of the event and president and CEO of Global HR Research.
“A highlight of the evening is certainly our special guest speaker Andy Brandy Casagrande IV of ‘Shark Week’ fame, a two-time Emmy Award winning cinematographer. He is coming to Southwest Florida especially for CNCP to raise awareness of our efforts for CNCP revitalization. Of course, he will have some amazing shark tales to tell, as he is a huge contributor to Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week.’ I imagine when swimming with sharks, you have some great stories,” Phillips said. “Our guests with VIP tickets will enjoy a reception and photo opportunity with Casagrande, as well as our live animal ambassadors that will be there from CNCP.”
The main mission of the Return to Nature event is to get the community excited about the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium and the future renovations of its facilities and program expansions. This will allow visitors to continue making great memories as they connect to nature and expand their environmental education.
“Simply put, the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is a pillar of our community, and it needs our help,” Phillips said. “We are nearing the center’s 50th anniversary — our new 2017-20 revitalization plan, which will be unveiled to the community at the Oct. 1 Return to Nature event, will bring exciting changes, structural improvements and new exhibits to CNCP. There are so many benefits to environmental centers like CNCP — from vital tourism, wildlife education, summer camps, health and wellness experiences through connecting with nature, wildlife preservation and rehabilitation and more. Connecting with nature is just good for the soul and good for the earth, and CNCP can offer visitors a premier experience.”
The fundraiser event will not only enhance the community, but will also be a very entertaining evening for all of those who will be attending.
“It is going to be sheer fun, from Casagrande’s presentation, on site animal ambassadors like Trouper, the blind raccoon, the food and party atmosphere, all in the amazing surroundings of Dwayne Bergmann Interiors Concept Home in the heart of Fort Myers,” Phillips said.
“Being a part of raising awareness and money to maintain an iconic community gathering place, that is an important reason for the residents of southwest Florida to be excited about this event. For more than 40 years, CNCP has been at the forefront of amazing wildlife and nature experiences. A group of concerned citizens are investing their time and talents in our newly-established Revitalization Plan that will bring new life to the center, and more. Our goal is to make CNCP a premier spot for ecotourism and eco-education, so that our youth and the public will return to nature – and return to the Nature Center.”
The “Return to Nature” fund raiser will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 7-10 p.m., 6-7 p.m. for VIP guests, at the Concept Home of Dwayne Bergmann Interiors at 13733 Brynwood Lane, Fort Myers.
The individual tickets are $125 per person, while the VIP Experience tickets, which come in limited quantity, are available at $250. VIP tickets grant access to a special preview from 6-7 p.m. This includes the meet and greet photo opportunity with Casagrande, a private tour of the host’s concept home, photos with the on-site animal ambassadors, the signature cocktail, membership to Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium and more. Major sponsorships will range from $1,500 to $10,000. To purchase sponsorships and tickets, you can visit or by calling 239-275-3435.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Eagle Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *