Street to send Viera Wetlands enthusiasts Charlie Corbeil Way


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Brevard County Environmental Land Manager Raleigh Berry, Viera-area District 4 Commissioner Mary Bolin Lewis, Charlotte Corbeil and Corbeil’s daughter and son-in-law Cathy and Brett Pigon accept a proclamation naming the Viera Wetlands entry street Charlie Corbeil Way on Jan. 28.

VIERA VOICE Rich Ataman

A special friend of the Viera Wetlands will be brought to mind and remembered the first thing upon arrival to the Viera Wetlands, located at the west end of Wickham Road in Viera, and the last thing.

Charlie Corbeil Way will be the name of the new road built by Brevard County to provide direct access to the wetlands, a 200-acre series of holding ponds designed to give a final polish to water cleaned by the adjacent treatment plant. Corbeil was a master Florida naturalist with unmatched knowledge about wildlife and habitat all over the world and especially Brevard.

“It’s a perfect acknowledgment for our No. 1 ambassador to the wetlands. He was the first one to greet visitors and show them around, educate them until they were fascinated, lifelong fans, and encourage them to keep coming back,” said Robert Wicker, founding president of the nonprofit Friends of the Viera Wetlands.

“It was Charlie Corbeil’s way.”

Wicker worked on the naming project with Raleigh Berry, Environmental Land manager for Brevard County, which owns the wetlands. The Friends group assists the county in stewarding the resource.

“We felt it fitting to designate the highest-profile naming opportunity for Charlie,” Berry said.

The wetlands are a buffer between west Viera housing communities and permanent ranchlands owned by town founders A. Duda & Sons, with watershed nature preserves spanning the remaining distance to the St. Johns River, a main source of drinking water for Brevard and Central Florida.

The vast greenbelt has attracted an enormous number and variety of birds to the area as year-round, winter or transient residents. Birders from around the world make the area a must-see spot.

Corbeil also was a professional nature photographer whose images continue to be viewed all over the world. He was happy to give tips on nature photography to anyone who wanted to learn more. He also led popular photography classes at nature festivals to encourage love of wildlife.

The Viera Wetlands Nature Festival weekend in April will be dedicated to Corbeil, as will all of the activities for the year of the Friends of the Viera Wetlands.

While some months have spanned since Corbeil’s passing, close friends continue to reel from the loss. None has felt the impact more sharply than his wife, Charlotte, co-author with him of the popular Viera Voice nature photography column “Parting Shot.” 

“The naming of the Charlie Corbeil Way and the special festival in April mitigate our family’s loss,” Charlotte Corbeil said. “We are so proud and thankful. Charlie’s enthusiasm for nature endures through his friends and caretakers at the Viera Wetlands.”

For more information on the wetlands, go to brevardcounty.us/naturalresources/environmentalresources/wetlands. A detailed feature on the Nature Festival will appear in next month’s Viera Voice. VV