CWK Ranger Profile – Maggie Stevens
I was a School District of Lee County employee for over 30 years, the majority in the Early Childhood Department. In my last four years, I served as principal of Early Childhood and the Lee Adolescent Mothers’ Program. My husband, Steve Funnell and I live in a 1953-built, continually under renewal house next to the Caloosahatchee. Two of our children and six of our grandchildren live in Lee County, a daughter lives in Tampa and two grandchildren in Pennsylvania. I am currently a mindfulness meditation teacher.
What motivated you to become a Ranger?
I had admired the work of the Calusa Waterkeepers because it transcends politics and focuses on quality of life issue. What is more vital than clean water? After the catastrophic blue-green algae disaster two years ago, I felt that I needed to be more active and not just sit on the sidelines writing legislators.
Tidal Caloosahatchee Group
I enjoy attending the meetings and learning more about our watershed and the people who are committed to it. I’m also happy to share the mission and work of the Waterkeepers with others.
Why are you a resident of southwest Florida and for how long?
A Lee County resident since 1986, originally from rural northern NJ. (yes, there is such a place). Like most people, I came for the sun, but what I love about southwest Florida is the beauty of its ecosystem. I loved that there were still natural places not “Disneyized”. I want to share this beauty with my grandchildren (7-16).
What is your favorite waterway in Southwest Florida and why?
I love the Caloosahatchee. I never tire driving over its bridges or walking along its banks. I am also a big fan of canoeing on the Peace River, having taken hundreds of middle schoolers there over the years.
Why is protecting our waters important to you?
Water is a basic human right. It’s hard to fathom that we need to fight for clean water. It is in everyone’s best interest (health, home, economic) to work for clean water. I need to have an answer when they ask, ‘Grandma, what did you do to protect us?’