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Our team of naturalists offer programs on a variety of topics - check out the daily themes here.
Southwest Florida is a critical stopover site for thousands of migrating and wintering shorebirds. In this class, Adam DiNuovo of Audubon Florida will discuss the life history of these birds and the amazing journeys many of them make annually. Winter shorebirds are notoriously difficult to ID, so practicing the skills learned in this class is essential. You will learn how to use plumage, size, and behavior to help with identification.
The classroom session will take place at the Rookery Bay Field Station on Shell Island Road. It will be followed by a trip to Tigertail Beach, one of the most important winter shorebird sites in Florida, where we will see many of the birds discussed. Be prepared to wade in water up to your knees, with adequate footwear that will protect your feet (no flip flops). Collier County beach parking fee applies ($8, free with sticker).
This class is geared toward those with some birding experience. If you are new to birding, we recommend taking the Birding Basics class first.
Description: Join a Rookery Bay naturalist as you enjoy a two-hour guided tour exploring the mangrove bays, creeks and islands that make this Reserve a valuable treasure. Beginners trip includes brief paddling instruction. However, possible winds and currents may require paddlers to have upper body strength. Participants must be age 12+ and anyone under 18 must register and paddle with an adult. Kayaks have a 250 pound weight limit. Fee for the tour includes admission that day to the Environmental Learning Center.
Location: Please arrive at launch site (Shell Island Road) 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure time.
Hear from expert speakers, and enjoy a meal during the Lunch & Learn Lecture at the Rookery Bay Research Reserve Environmental Learning Center. Registration fee is $15 (includes lunch). Friends of Rookery Bay members receive a 10% discount (Please login to website to receive your discounted rate). Pre-registration is required, as space is limited.
Given By: Carrie Sue Ayvar, Storyteller & Chautauqua Scholar with the Florida Humanities Council
Lecture Description: “If you’ve never heard the roar of a bull alligator and some night bird answer, you haven’t lived.” So said Dr. Anna Darrow (1876-1959) who, in 1909, became only the 2nd woman doctor licensed in Florida. Chautauqua Scholar, Carrie Sue Ayvar, tells the story, in the first person, of this fearless wife, mother, doctor, pharmacist, artist and even veterinarian when needed. The Q & A allows the audience to interact and learn more.
Brief Bio: A nationally acclaimed, award winning bilingual storyteller, Carrie Sue Ayvar is dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of storytelling. A Chautauqua scholar and Master Teaching Artist, her performances blend entertainment and education. Carrie Sue loves to share some of Florida’s unique history with audiences throughout the state.
Description: Come along on this small boat cruise through back bays and winding creeks to visit a particularly unusual place. After disembarking, take a short hike to one of the highest points in Collier County, an ancient sand dune relic from the Pleistocene Era. Your guide will help you appreciate the geologic history of Sand Hill as you enjoy the remarkable view. You will learn about the specially adapted trees, shrubs and wildflowers that survive in this coastal scrub ecosystem. Experience a place few visitors get to see!
Difficulty level: Participants must have the physical ability to get into and out of a boat tied to shore and walk about 70 yards uphill on a sandy trail.
What to wear: Closed-toed shoes are required.
Location: Please arrive at launch site (Shell Island Road) 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure time.
Join the Southwest Florida CISMA to learn about important identification characteristics of native and invasive grasses. Instructors will discuss identification and monitoring of invasive grasses such as cogon grass, Natal grass, West Indian dropseed, torpedo grass, Jarugua, Durban crowfoot grass, and Queensland bluestem. Additionally, students will learn about new chemicals, protocols and treatment techniques for managing invasive grasses today.
CEU's: 2 CORE, and 3 Natural Areas or 3 Right of Way.
Please note: The field portion of the class is full. This is to register for only the lecture section of the class and no CEUs will be offered.
Description: This tour is a wandering exploration of the remarkable diversity of islands in the heart of Rookery Bay Reserve north of Big Marco Pass. Diversity is a fundamental characteristic of estuaries, and your guide will share stories that reveal the subtle, and dramatic, differences that make our islands so fascinating. Topics include plants, animals, geology, ecology, and more. Learn why these unique islands have been, and will continue to be, important to people. Changing conditions means no two tours are the same.
Difficulty level: Participants will be on the boat the entire time and must have the physical ability to step on and off of the boat at our dock.
Description: Have you ever visited a place with the hope you might come away with a profound understanding of its essence rather than just a snapshot? This tour will “get you there”. Wander through the backwaters of Rookery Bay Reserve, learning about plants and animals and how they fit into the complex tapestry of this place we call an estuary. Journey back in time and learn how human and natural history intersect. Your guide adapts the tour to changes in weather, tides, and participants’ interests so no two tours are the same.
Description: An opportunity to explore Keewaydin Island, living barrier island with an incredible diversity of life and some of the best shelling in Florida. Stroll the beach with your guide and learn about: specially adapted native plants, gastropods, crustaceans, corals, sea squirts, snails, sponges, fishes, birds, and more. Also included is a leisurely cruise through the Rookery Bay mangrove estuary, one of the richest and most productive ecosystems on the planet.
Difficulty level: Participants must have the physical ability to step down into, and up from the boat at a dock and walk a 1/4 mile across the island and along the beach.
What to wear: Closed-toed shoes are recommended for the walk across the island (and can be removed on the beach).
Science Saturdays provide an opportunity for families to spend the day at the Environmental Learning Center enjoying programs, labs and activities centered around a different science theme, on the last Saturday of every month.
This month's theme is Wonders of Water!
Scheduled activities include: Estuary Encounter, Activity Lab, Show & Tell, and Nature on the Silver Screen. Click on the green details button for more information.
Pre-registration is not required. Admission fees are $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6 to 12 and free for members and children under six. Must pay at door.
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Tel: (239) 530-5940 300 Tower Road Naples, Florida 34113
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