Hours and Directions
Punta Gorda

Hours and Directions


CHEC is looking for volunteers to narrate our Peace River Nature Cruises provided by Kingfisher Fleet in Punta Gorda. Please see the flyer on our Volunteer page for more information! .... CHEC Punta Gorda and CHEC Cedar Point in Englewood are open to the public. Please see below for more information.

CHEC Punta Gorda & CHEC Cedar Point Are open!

We are pleased to announce that the entrance gate at the CHEC Punta Gorda location is open from 8 am - 4 pm and the walk-through is open from sunrise to sunset. Public bathrooms near the parking lots at both locations are open; however, on-site buildings in both locations remain closed to the public. While in our parks, we encourage you to maintain social distancing and follow all current COVID-19 related guidelines. Welcome back, and enjoy!

Goodbye, and Thank You

Dear friends,

I am retiring on September 30, 2020 and will be stepping down as CHEC’s CEO on that date.

It has been a fulfilling and engaging seven years.  We have accomplished a great deal during this time.  Our time-honored, ongoing educational programs for both children and adults will continue on.   We added a new 7th grade program last year.  Our walks and hikes, wading trips, other private and public activities, lectures, Wild Wednesday events, and more, are attracting more participants each year.  Our ability to restructure and revamp where necessary has allowed us to conserve vital fiscal resources – so necessary to a successful non-profit - while continuing to provide relevant and meaningful programming.

COVID-19 has, and will continue to affect us here at CHEC, as it has elsewhere.  Even so, we remain fully committed to delivering the utmost in learning and presentation.

I am thankful to so many.  Our founding fathers, Charles Caniff, Charlotte County, the City of Punta Gorda, and the Peace River Audubon Society for their support; the Southwest Florida Water Management District for supporting the 4th grade school program and Mosaic for funding a plethora of CHEC educational programs and activities for children and adults.  Thanks to the CHEC Board of Directors for their unfailing encouragement and assistance and to Levell Wealth Management and all the sponsors who so generously support our primary annual fundraising event, Harvest for the Harbor, and for those who are supporting our new annual event, Trek for CHEC.   Many thanks to our Friends of CHEC members, our grantors, and donors, large and small.  Finally, I want to thank all our volunteers – those who have been with us for years, and our new enlistees – we simply could not carry on without you.

Philanthropy is a privilege we do not ever take for granted.  Your generosity allows us to continue to engage with the community and provide fundamental environmental education to so many.  I have enjoyed this time with you.  Thank you for your continued benevolence on behalf of CHEC.



WELCOME to The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center

Photograph of CEO Doris Button

Doris Button

CHEC's vision has always been to become an essential element of the community for transforming the understanding of adults & students of all ages and backgrounds, helping each one to learn to interact in environmentally responsible ways and improving their thinking through positive connections with nature.

The core of our mission is so important. CHEC's education programs educate and inspire and empower people of all age ranges. More & more, CHEC is drilling down on STEAM programs and consistently and collaboratively working with all of the Charlotte County School teachers and principals, and have recently developed programs for new schools such as the Woodland Middle School in North Port, Florida.

Every year, CHEC educates over four thousand students. We work with the county to develop and educate the general public through lectures held at Bay Shore park in Port Charlotte and Cedar Point park in Englewood. CHEC staff manages two locations - Cedar Point park in Englewood and Alligator Creek park on Burnt Store Road. An outstanding number of programs are executed each year (approximately 300) by a relatively small staff and numerous volunteers.

If you've never had the pleasure of visiting the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center then you've missed out, Alligator Creek is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday. A convenient walk-thru is open from dawn to dusk. Hikers are always welcome to walk the trails and enjoy the simple pleasures of the outdoors. Sharing space with nature is such a worthwhile balancing act. Awareness and respect are all that is required to have the awesome privilege of witnessing wild animals as they naturally go about their daily rituals of simply living.

The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, a private, non-profit 501 (C) 3 corporation was founded in 1987 and has been providing environmental education, recreation, environmental research, and conservation lands management services to the citizens and visitors of the greater Charlotte Harbor for thirty three years.

CHEC's founding members: The Charlotte County Government, City of Punta Gorda, Charlotte County Public Schools and the Peace River Audubon Society.

Today, the center provides over 21 different programs, manages 8 environmentally sensitive lands and provides a total of 8 miles of hiking trails and other recreational opportunities to the community.


Our locations:

Caniff Visitor's Center at Alligator Creek

Alligator Creek Location

Visitor's Center at Cedar Point

Cedar Point Location