Ellin Goetz, president of Goetz+Stropes Landscape Architects, is well known for her early work in helping to reinvigorate Fifth Avenue South, and later for the expansion and renovation of the Naples Botanical Garden. One of her strongest passions is the restoration of the Everglades, and she currently serves as vice chair of the Everglades Foundation. A resident of Old Naples since 1984, Goetz is often spotted at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, which has been owned by the family of her husband, Michael Watkins, for multiple generations.
1. Three best things about Naples: The Gulf of Mexico, my neighborhood of Third Avenue North, and the Naples Botanical Garden.
2. Where she takes out-of-town guests: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to experience the true Florida landscape and see wild creatures from the safety of an elevated boardwalk. Being there is a quasi-religious experience for me!
3. Favorite scent: Orange blossoms in March and fresh-cut hay in summertime. Does anyone duplicate that?
4. Hidden talent: Since my childhood in the wilds of Staten Island, I’ve been a snake handler, nonvenomous only. First garter snake was our family favorite named Mary Pat. I do draw the line at pythons.
5. Best read: Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ The Everglades: River of Grass, written in 1947, condemning our human distortion of one of America’s greatest natural resources, way before it was trendy.
7. Favorite musician: Annie Lennox, who’s not only a rocker but campaigns for HIV/AIDS and women’s rights
8. Favorite place to shop local: The Clay Place, one-of-a-kind pottery from Naples craftsman Jim Rice.
9. Leisure pursuits: Raising Irish Connemara ponies, competitive carriage driving, and trail riding horseback on the back roads of Vermont in the summer.
Greatest accomplishment: Living happily in Naples for more than 30 years as a proud Democrat!
If she wasn’t a landscape architect…I have always imagined life as a rock star or rodeo queen.
Favorite quote: “The Everglades is a test. If we pass it, we may get to keep the planet.” —Marjory Stoneman Douglas