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Best-selling author Randy Wayne White to host Randell fundraiser Feb. 11

By Staff | Jan 19, 2016

The Florida Museum of Natural History’s Randell Research Center in Pineland will hold a fundraiser featuring best-selling author Randy Wayne White Feb. 11 from 3 to 6 p.m. for the preservation of Southwest Florida history and culture.

White will host the event at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille on Captiva Island featuring stories, food, cocktails and a live auction to help the Randell Center reach its 20th anniversary endowment goal of $850,000. Tickets are $200 and limited to 100 guests.

“Many people love Randy White’s ‘Doc Ford’ and ‘Hannah Smith’ novels and this is a rare opportunity to have some fun hanging out with Randy while helping a good cause,” said Bill Marquardt, Randell Research Center director and Florida Museum curator of South Florida archaeology and ethnography, in a prepared statement.

Local restaurateur Victor Mayeron will conduct a live auction featuring items including a baseball signed by former President Jimmy Carter and a weeklong stay at White’s Pineland home, which is located in Pineland at the Randell archaeological site.

The Randell Center preserves and uncovers new information about Southwest Florida’s earliest settlers to educate the public and foster research on 67 acres of coastal Lee County.

The Pineland site is significant because it was the location of a large town of the now-extinct Calusa Indians, who controlled all of South Florida in the 1500s when the Spaniards arrived, Marquardt said.

“Its waterlogged soil preserves artifacts much better than dry sites, as well as certain plant remains found nowhere else in North America,” he said. “Pineland provides the ideal place to learn about Southwest Florida’s past people and their environments, and to share that knowledge with school kids and the public. The money we raise will be put to work in our education and research work.”

The Florida Museum established the center when Donald and Patricia Randell donated more than 53 acres of the site to the University of Florida Foundation.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.flmnh.ufl.edu/calusa or call 239-283-2062.