Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center Inc
10941 Burnt Store Rd
Punta Gorda FL 33955
Mission
To raise public awareness of the value of our natural and cultural resources by providing environmental education, recreation, research, and management of conservation lands.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mr Thomas Hecker
Board Chair Ms Dorothea Zysko
Board Chair Affiliation Ecology Group Inc.
General Info
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1988
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Nov 2016
State Registration Yes 0
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $365,114.00
Projected Expenses $365,114.00
IRS Letter of Determination
CHEC Fed Tax Status DocView
Impact Statement
  • Annually over 24,000 people participate in CHEC programs or visited our centers.  We share with residents and visitors to the beauty and importance of Florida's natural areas. 
  • CHEC celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2012 and are thankful for the community' support in making this event possible.
Goals:
  1. Friends of CHEC memberships: seeking to add 150 new members to help support our programs and activities.  Annual membership fee is only $25.
  2. Volunteers: seeking to find additional volunteers to help at our visitor centers, trail maintenance and other activities
  3. Sponsorships: seeking sponsors for our wading trips, hikes and estuary boat tours
 
Needs Statement
Sustainable funding and volunteers to assist our activities; guided trail hikes, 4th grade field studies, 2nd grade wading trips, ecology classroom program, public estuary boat tours, wading trips, summer camp, miles of trails and 2 visitor centers.  Although CHEC receives funds to manage these programs, the revenues do not cover all expenses. CHEC volunteers provide hundreds of hours of service helping us offer programs and facilities to residents and visitors, we can use more volunteers to strengthen our level service. Sponsorships:
  • Estuary Boat Tour $400 (10 to 14 participants)
  • Wading Trip $200 (up to 25 participants)
  • Summer Camp $1,200 (20 participants)
  • Visitor Center Management $2,500 (2 centers)
  • Trail Management $5,000 (4 miles of trails & walkways)

  • Volunteers
Background Statement
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center was envisioned by our founding members in 1983, as a place where children and adutls could come and experience the real Florida.  Charles Caniff was one of our founding members and through his hard work and dedication convinced the community and government officials the importance to preserve environmental history and provide environmental education programs to the southwest Florida community.  In 1987 CHEC opened it's doors.  Our founding members include the City of Punta Gorda, Charlotte County, Peace River Audubon Society and the Charlotte County School District.  One of the first programs provided to the community was a 4th Grade Field Studies.  CHEC provides each 4th grade student a hands-on educational experience.  They explore our estuaries and natural habitats with trained naturalist guides.  Over 20,000 students have participated in this program. 
Areas Served
Areas Served
Area
FL- Charlotte
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments The Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay area
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Environment
Secondary Org Type Education
Tertiary Org Type Environment
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
We are a local environmental non-profit established in 1987, with a engaged board of directors and volunteers. We promote environmental conservation, protection and the preservation of our natural areas for today and future generations. Our focus is in the greater Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay region.   We share these responsibilities with our volunteers, the community and visitors in Protecting Water Resources, Habitats and Wildlife. Our focus is to provide hands-on programming, on water and land. Our programs are designed for children and adults at all levels of knowledge. We offer Wading Sea-grass Adventures, Pontoon Boat Journeys, Guided Hikes and more. We seek to strengthen awareness and stewardship through environmental education and recreation activities.
Programs
Description

The 4th grade field studies program is a two day field activity provided to all Charlotte County School District’s 4thgrade students. Approximately 1,000 students, and 250 teachers and chaperones participate. The program focuses on Florida’s eco-systems, water conservation, water quality, and our watersheds. One day is spent exploring Florida’s natural areas, and the watershed habitats. The second day is spent traveling on a pontoon boat exploring the Peace River or Lemon Bay estuaries. Many students have never been exposed to these environments, so the experience can foster a personal connection to them, ultimately leading to their understanding and appreciation of our ecosystems. CHEC has a written classroom resource booklet which is distributed to each student and teacher. Students learn etiquette on the water and in our natural areas and boater safety during the program. The program includes bus transportation to the field trip locations.

 

Budget $77,553
Category Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short Term Success
Immediate outcome for students participating in this program is by the end of the two day program all students will show knowledge gained through the use of pre and post testing. This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Long Term Success
The ultimate challenge is for program participants to develop positive behavior changes and an appreciation and respect for our natural resources. Goal is for students’ to develop practices at home and at school that will help protect the area’s watershed and there-by protect Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Students will learn to conserve water and our natural resources, to use fertilizers and pesticides wisely, reduce littering, and stop behaviors that can harm the watershed and water quality.  Tracking is the long term health of the Harbor, Lemon Bay and the estuaries and our natural areas. 
Program Success Monitoring
Each classroom teacher is asked to provide a written critique of the program, all students participate in a pre and post written test to calculate knowledge gained, CHEC staff interviews chaperones (typically parents) during the activity to access the program, and each year school administration evaluates program value and effectiveness in enhancing student learning.
Program Success Examples
Data demonstrated a knowledge gain averages 15% to 25% pre and post testing
Description

Wading trips offered to Charlotte County School District, private schools and home schooled 2ndgrade students. Currently CHEC offers 40 wading adventures in the Peace River or Lemon Bay to approximately 1,000 students and 120 teachers and chaperones. Teachers to have students take a pretest prior to their wading trip. CHEC has developed a learning guide booklet, explaining the species that live beneath the water surface and within the important sea grass beds. A CHEC naturalist will review the booklet with students before they enter the water. Each student is provide with a collection net and bucket, they enter the shallow waters and collect marine creatures found in the sea grasses, a CHEC naturalist helps students identify the species and its unique characteristics, before returning the creatures to their home. Students learn the importance of protecting this important habitat and our watershed. The program includes bus transportation of students to the field trip location.

 

Budget $13,053
Category Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short Term Success
Immediate outcome for students participating in this program is by the end of the day all students will show knowledge gained through the use of pre and post testing. This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Long Term Success
The ultimate challenge of this program is for participants to develop positive behavior changes and to gain an appreciation, and respect for our natural resources. The goal is for students’ to develop practices at home and at school that will help protect the area’s watershed and there-by protect Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Students will learn to conserve water and our natural resources, to use fertilizers and pesticides wisely, reduce littering, and stop behaviors that can harm the watershed and water quality.  Tracking is the long term health of the Harbor, Lemon Bay and the estuaries and our natural areas. 
Program Success Monitoring
Each classroom teacher is asked to provide a written critique of the program, all students participate in a pre and post written test to calculate knowledge gained, CHEC staff interviews chaperones (typically parents) during the activity to access the program, and each year school administrations evaluates program value and effectiveness in enhancing student learning.
Program Success Examples
This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Description The summer camp program is currently offered at two locations; Cedar Point Environmental Park, Englewood and Alligator Creek Preserve, Punta Gorda. Children ages 8 to 14 years old spend a week experiencing environmental educational programming; crafts, field trips, guest presentations, nature hikes and more. The program is lead by highly trained and experienced CHEC Naturalists and volunteers. Campers have fun while gaining knowledge of southwest Florida eco-systems with our hands-on environmental activities. Each camp is limited to 25 youth and a $60.00 registration fee is collected per camper ($12.00 per day). CHEC awards a limited number of scholarships to those families that cannot afford the fee, when funds are available.
Budget $3,800
Category Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Short Term Success Immediate outcome for campers in this program is a knowledge gained through the use of pre and post testing. This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Long Term Success The ultimate challenge of this program is for participants to develop positive behavior changes and to gain an appreciation, and respect for our natural resources. One desired outcomes is for a few of the participants to consider an environmental career. The goal is for all campers’ to develop practices at home and at school that will protect the area’s watershed and there-by protect Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Campers will learn to conserve water and our natural resources, to use fertilizers and pesticides wisely, reduce littering, and stop behaviors that can harm the watershed and water quality.  Tracking is the long term health of the Harbor, Lemon Bay and the estuaries and our natural areas. 
Program Success Monitoring Campers take a pre and post written survey to calculate knowledge gained. CHEC staff interviews campers and parents after the activity to access the program value and effectiveness.
Program Success Examples This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Description This is a free program available to southwest Florida adults and youths both residents and visitors. Currently CHEC offers 40 plus wading adventures to approximately 1,000 plus adults and youth. CHEC has developed a learning guide, explaining the species that live beneath the water surface and within the important sea grass beds. Prior to entering the water a CHEC naturalist and volunteers prepare participants by reviewing a booklet prepared by CHEC. Each participant is provide with a collection net and bucket, they enter the shallow waters and collect marine creatures found in the sea grasses, a CHEC naturalist helps identify the species and its unique characteristics, before returning the creatures to their home. At the end of the program participants are asked to take post test survey to determine knowledge gained. Participants learn the importance of protecting this important habitat and our watershed. 
Budget $9,653
Category Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Families Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success Immediate outcome for participants in this program is a knowledge gained through the use of pre and post testing. This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Long Term Success The ultimate challenge of this program is for participants to develop positive behavior changes and to gain an appreciation, and respect for our natural resources. Goal is for participants’ to develop practices at home and at work that will help protect the area’s watershed and there-by protect Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Participants will learn to conserve water and our natural resources, to use fertilizers and pesticides wisely, reduce littering, and stop behaviors that can harm the watershed and water quality.  Tracking is the long term health of the Harbor, Lemon Bay and the estuaries and our natural areas. 
Program Success Monitoring Participants take a pre and post written survey to calculate knowledge gained, CHEC staff interviews participants during and after the activity to access the program value and effectiveness.
Program Success Examples This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Description The Estuary Boat Tour is offered at two location; Lemon Bay and Peace River. This program is intended for adults, who have not had an opportunity to explore this important eco-system. This is a free program, currently offering five trips on Lemon Bay and five trips on the Peace River, approximately 120 people can participant, they will travel on a pontoon boat, piloted by a licensed captain, accompanied by an experienced CHEC Naturalist. They will be exploring the Peace River or Lemon Bay estuaries. Participants will learn scientifically based information about the watersheds, Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay and the species that call it their home. It is hoped that participants’ experiences will foster a personal connection to these areas. Ultimately, the tour will help participants adopt positive behavioral changes that protect these natural resources.  Participants will gain a better understanding and appreciation of our ecosystems.
Budget $4,153
Category Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Adults Adults
Short Term Success Immediate outcome for participants in this program is a knowledge gained through the use of pre and post testing. This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Long Term Success The ultimate challenge of this program is for participants to develop positive behavior changes and to gain an appreciation, and respect for our natural resources. Goal is for participants’ to develop practices at home and at work that will help protect the area’s watershed and there-by protect Charlotte Harbor, Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Participants will learn to conserve water and our natural resources, to use fertilizers and pesticides wisely, reduce littering, and stop behaviors that can harm the watershed and water quality.  Tracking is the long term health of the Harbor, Lemon Bay and the estuaries and our natural areas. 
Program Success Monitoring Participants take a pre and post written survey to calculate knowledge gained, CHEC staff interviews participants during and after the activity to access the program value and effectiveness.
Program Success Examples This program has demonstrated an average of 15% to 25% gain in knowledge.
Comments
Program Comments by Organization

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center has been providing the community of southwest Florida with environmental education and recreational experiences since 1987. Thousands of residents, visitors, volunteers and students have enjoyed exploring our natural areas, estuaries, workshops and speaker presentations. We see many opportunities including; expanding our programming to middle and high schools level students, adding summer programs and enhance existing programming to keep them topical and interesting to participants, and develop and deliver local environmental research projects.  Our challenges are to keep programs free to participants, to develop and fund new programs, increase active volunteers, diversify and find sustainable funding sources to help us implement and maintain free programs.

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mr Thomas Hecker
CEO Term Start 0
CEO/Executive Director Email thomas@checflorida.org
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
NameTerm
Mr Al Cheatham Jan 1987 - Jan 2010
Senior Staff
NameTitle
Ms. Martha Clemente Naturalist
Ms. Bobbi Rodgers Environemntal Resource Manager: Cedar Point Center
Mr. Chris Salmonsen Naturalist
Ms. Eileen Tramontana Environmental Program Coordinator
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 5
Part Time Staff 5
Staff Retention Rate % 67
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 125
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
Collaborations
N/A
External Assessments and Accreditations
Assessment/AccreditationYear
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Nov 2012
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Policies
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Comments
Management Comments by Organization Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center has been providing the community of southwest Florida with environmental education and recreational experiences since 1987. Thousands of residents, visitors, volunteers and students have enjoyed exploring our natural areas, estuaries, workshops and speaker presentations. We see many opportunities including; expanding our programming to middle and high schools level students, adding summer programs and enhance existing programming to keep them topical and interesting to participants, and develop and deliver local environmental research projects.  Our challenges are to keep programs free to participants, to develop and fund new programs, increase active volunteers, diversify and find sustainable funding sources to help us implement and maintain free programs.
Other Documents
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms Dorothea Zysko
Company Affiliation Ecology Group Inc.
Board Term Apr 2013 to Mar 2014
Board Chair Email ecologygroup@embraqmail.com
Board Members
Board Members
NameAffiliation
John Aspiolea Florida Environmental Protection Site Manager
Kelly Beall Peace River Sea Food
Stacy Calvino Community Volunteer
Mr Ken Daherty County Commissioner
Barbara Fleshman Community Volunteer
Michael Haymans Attorney
Mary Ann Hughes Community Volunteer
Rachel Keesling City of Punta Gorda Council
Larry Linn Community Volunteer
Steve Osborne Well Fargo Investments
Lee Swift Charlotte County School Board
Dorothea Zysko Ecology Group Inc
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 6
Female 6
Unspecified
Governance
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 0
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 7
Board Meeting Attendance % 58
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Finance
Marketing
Executive
Program / Program Planning
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Nominating
Comments
Governance Comments by Organization Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center has been providing the community of southwest Florida with environmental education and recreational experiences since 1987. Thousands of residents, visitors, volunteers and students have enjoyed exploring our natural areas, estuaries, workshops and speaker presentations. We see many opportunities including; expanding our programming to middle and high schools level students, adding summer programs and enhance existing programming to keep them topical and interesting to participants, and develop and deliver local environmental research projects.  Our challenges are to keep programs free to participants, to develop and fund new programs, increase active volunteers, diversify and find sustainable funding sources to help us implement and maintain free programs.
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $365,114.00
Projected Expenses $365,114.00
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$0$0$0
Government Contributions$126,858$152,189$61,176
Federal$0$0$0
State$0$0$0
Local$0$0$61,176
Unspecified$126,858$152,189$0
Individual Contributions$176,535$191,784$249,488
$0$0$0
$26,482$4,716$8,299
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,918$23,109$14,864
Membership Dues$0$9,709$0
Special Events$8,312$3,416$9,942
Revenue In-Kind$2,786$2,786$2,786
Other$6,341$7,379$3,291
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$334,881$306,902$314,955
Administration Expense$64,180$62,729$72,103
Fundraising Expense$4,255$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.861.060.90
Program Expense/Total Expenses83%83%81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue1%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$748,450$826,083$777,225
Current Assets$124,463$175,837$229,903
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$17,860$39,623$13,620
Total Net Assets$730,590$786,460$763,605
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $176,535Contributions, gifts, grants $191,784Contributions, gifts, grants $249,488
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Unspecified $126,858Govertnment Grants - Unspecified $152,189Government Grants - Local $61,176
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountOther Programs & Events $10,428Membership Dues $9,709Investment Income $14,864
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.974.4416.88
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center has been providing the community of southwest Florida with environmental education and recreational experiences since 1987. Thousands of residents, visitors, volunteers and students have enjoyed exploring our natural areas, estuaries, workshops and speaker presentations. We see many opportunities including; expanding our programming to middle and high schools level students, adding summer programs and enhance existing programming to keep them topical and interesting to participants, and develop and deliver local environmental research projects.  Our challenges are to keep programs free to participants, to develop and fund new programs, increase active volunteers, diversify and find sustainable funding sources to help us implement and maintain free programs.
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the 990 or audit.  Financial figures taken from IRS Form 990.  990 and audit are reconciled.
Nonprofit Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center Inc
Address 10941 Burnt Store Rd
Punta Gorda, FL 34224
Phone 941 575-5435

THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY, INC. IS A REGISTERED 501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT CORPORATION. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE (1-800-HELP-FLA) OR FROM THE WEBSITE: WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT (100%) OF EACH CONTRIBUTION IS RECEIVED BY THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY. REGISTRATION #SC-02471.