Join us for a meet and greet with local author Charles LeBuff, as we celebrate the release of his latest book, pictured below. Charles will be available to sign any of his works and MacIntosh will be serving light snacks and refreshments.
Charles LeBuff started a long federal career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service at its Red Tide Field Investigation Laboratory in Naples, Florida. In 1958
he transferred to Sanibel Island after accepting the number two position on what
then was known as the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge. He and his family
remained on Sanibel for nearly 50 years. During his time on that barrier island he
completed a 32-year career as refuge biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, retiring in 1990. During Charles’ Sanibel tenure he and his family lived at
the Sanibel Lighthouse for nearly 22 years when it was headquarters for the
refuge (renamed J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in 1967).
In 1961, Charles was elected president of the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon
Society and in 1967 he was a founding board member of the Sanibel-Captiva
Conservation Foundation. He is the last surviving member of that founder group.
In 1959 he started to patrol the Sanibel Island beach to protect nesting sea
turtles. Then in 1968, as an avocation, he formed a loggerhead sea turtle
conservation organization known as Caretta Research, Inc., and headed that
group until 1991. Charles received the first sea turtle permit issued by the State of
Florida in 1972, STP-001, and he held it for 40 years. In the decades of the 70s
and 80s he published many works on the biology and conservation of sea turtles.
By the mid-70s the Sanibel-based organization included most all of the
loggerhead turtle nesting beaches along the Florida Gulf coast. Today’s successful
sea turtle conservation efforts on the beaches of Southwest Florida evolved from
Charles LeBuff’s pioneering work.
He was elected as a charter member of the first Sanibel City Council and
served as a councilman from 1974 to 1980. He and former CIA Director Porter
Goss are the only two original Sanibel council members that survive.
Charles began writing seriously after his 1990 retirement from the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service and that year his book The Loggerhead Turtle in the Eastern
Gulf of Mexico was published. This is now out-of-print, but has been replaced by
an updated book, The Sea Turtles of Southwest Florida. The most popular of his
early commercial books is the historical autobiography, Sanybel Light. One of his most recent works is Amphibians and Reptiles of Sanibel and Captiva Islands,
Florida, a book coauthored with Chris Lechowicz (2014). In 2013 he and
Sanibellian Deb Gleason coauthored Sanibel and Captiva Islands, which was
published by Arcadia Publishing, in March, 2013. This pictorial book is part of
their Postcard History Series. His earlier Arcadia book, J. N. “Ding” Darling
National Wildlife Refuge, details the history of this popular wildlife refuge, and
was published in 2011.
In 2004 Charles published The Calusan, a historical novel with Southwest
Florida as its theme. His Everglades Wildlife Barons is a biography about the
legendary brothers, Bill and Lester Piper of Bonita Springs. This is a popular
book about the Pipers and their Everglades Wonder Gardens that closed after
nearly 77 years of operation in early 2013.
Currently, his latest book, The Biology and History of the American
Crocodile in Florida was published in June 2016. It was followed this year by his
revised sea turtle book.
In his retirement Charles continues a busy lecture schedule and writes. His
“hobbies” include wildlife photography, replication of Calusa Indian artifacts, and
wildlife-oriented wood carving. Charles also manages to get out in the field to fly
his Phantom 4 drone and engage in Burmese python-hunting from time to time.