Editor’s note: It is not customary to highlight one Bonita Bay resident over another, yet due to her overwhelming exposure in the community, her unrivaled passion for photography, and her unwavering support of the Community Activities team, it is with esteemed honor that we dedicate this post to Anne Macias.
Anne’s photography graces the Bonita Bay website, the walls of the administration offices and activities center, and is a staple in many social media collages and postings. It is unlikely that Anne’s legacy to the preservation of birds on Hidden Harbor islands, her dedication to nature and wildlife – and to our team – will ever be replicated.
UPDATE: The Bonita Bay Resident Wildlife Sponsors have created a non-profit organization and changed their name to the Macias Wildlife Society of Bonita Bay. For those wishing to make a donation in Anne’s memory – or to support wildlife outreach in Bonita Bay – they can be sent to Macias Wildlife Society of Bonita Bay, Inc. | P.O. Box 366002 | Bonita Springs, FL 34136
If you are a resident of Bonita Bay and have ever attended a Bay Breeze Concert, the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, went to the Beach Park for a sunset view on the fourth of July or braved the infamous Easter Egg Hunt at any point over the last few decades (or longer?!) then chances are – you knew Anne Macias!
Her talent for telling a story from behind the lens was a spectacular sight to behold. Anne possessed an innate ability to hone in on the many natural wonders of Bonita Bay – from every angle – forever documenting local flora and fauna (and a few thousand humans!) in her treasured collection of photographs and videos.
Anne was born in Hinsdale, Illinois on January 9, 1943, to J. Ross and Caroline Drever, the second of four children; Maxwell Drever, Thomas Drever (deceased) and Carol Drever Fear. She grew up spending summers in the north woods of Wisconsin and her childhood days on the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois where she developed a strong love for nature and the outdoors.
Anne, traveled south-west to the University of Arizona for college then moved to the Bay Area of San Francisco and started a small business called Telsec in Sausalito, CA. After her marriage to Art Macias, they lived in Lakeland, Fla., before following her parents to Bonita Bay, where her love for the amazing wildlife provided her an endless source of material.
Anne was instrumental in developing and orchestrating the Bonita Bay Resident Wildlife Sponsors (BBRWS) – a private group of residents who support a collaborative community effort that involves Florida Gulf Coast University and the Bonita Bay Community Association; a truly unique synergistic trifecta.
In the fall and spring, the FGCU education interns, guided by Dr. Penny Finley, College of Education, and Bonita Bay resident, would arrive at Estero Bay Park where they would attend a morning session, led by Anne and supported by members of the BBRWS.
Working within STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) guidelines, Anne and the BBRWS would research and present a different bird each session – from the Bald Eagle, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, to butterflies and dragonflies – offering interns a binder filled with a DVD of images and content explaining each image in great detail. The interns would take the materials to create a lesson plan – their first! – to teach in a local classroom in front of real students ranging from Kindergarten to fifth grade.
Not only is this biannual event imperative to sharing local natural environments with soon-to-be teachers and local students, but is compulsory for the BBCA to continue their prestigious and coveted Audubon certification.
Following her passion for wildlife – specifically, the bird population in Bonita Bay – Anne acted as a liaison to the local Audubon researchers, offering numerous private and in-depth tours to research various bird populations and annual nesting counts. (To read about the Audubon visit from June of 2014 and the search for reddish Egret white morph CLICK HERE.)
To say she will be missed is a grave understatement. Her passion and drive to understand local wildlife and the natural environment in which residents enjoy will need a new champion. Anne’s deep knowledge of the birding habitat especially will be hard to duplicate. To listen as Anne described birds in plumage, their mating and nesting rituals, to the moment when the babies burst from the nest, you’d have to wonder if this resident “bird whisperer” understood each chirp intuitively.
(Editor’s note: I am privileged to have had two opportunities to “ride along” with Anne in her boat and get a first-hand tour of the birds of Hidden Harbor Lake. I was privy to hear her describe various birds and their actions as if they were her personal pets. As she spoke, I scribbled horrible notes, tried to take photos with my camera phone – Anne would just shake her head dismissively – and all the while, I would marvel at her knowledge and passion. Anne was one of the first residents of Bonita Bay that I had the pleasure to get to know personally. I will miss her greatly.)
Written by Katie Walters