Families enjoying the many events for Kids & Families at Rookery Bay | National Estuarine Research Reserve
Research | Education | Conservation | Training

Committed to Learning

The Education Department coordinates programming at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center for all ages.  Reserve educators help schoolchildren on field trips as well as Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center visitors understand the role they play in preserving this unique coastal environment.


Elementary School

Estuary Explorers

Estuary Explorers is designed for fourth grade students and involves teacher training workshops, classroom investigations, hands-on field trip activities, and all supplies. Please contact Dita O’Boyle, Elementary Education Specialist, for more information.
Estuary Encounters in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Middle School


Rookery Bay SURVIVORS, designed for seventh-grade students, helps teachers and students understand more about the region’s coastal environment, as well as engage them in the process of science. All of the activities have been structured for educational effectiveness and incorporate critical thinking strategies, high level questioning, and scientific techniques. Concepts addressed include the Scientific Method, Ecology, Energy Transfer, Food Web, Diversity, Limiting Factors, Adaptation, Relationships Among Organisms, Disturbance, Data Interpretation.
Pre-visit – Intended to stimulate group interaction and engage critical thinking skills. These visits also prepare the students with enriched curriculum vocabulary as well as a sense of purpose for the field trip.

Field trip – Once on-site, students and teachers will receive a short overview of the days plan and then be split into smaller groups for lab activities.

KEYSTONE LAB – Students learn the critical roles of oysters in the estuarine environment, and determine overall health impacts to the ecosystem.

CRAB LAB – Students explore diversity in crab species and relate physical and behavioral adaptations to determine individual niches.

PLANKTON LAB – Students compare sample sites, classifying the various components of plankton and drawing inferences about productivity based on their observations

SURVIVOR LAB – A serious of interactive games relating the needs of individual species and the limitations they face on a daily basis.

Grades 1 through 10


Join during the school year for homeschool programs. Students and their families enjoy an exciting day of age-appropriate estuarine learning experiences led by Rookery Bay Reserve’s marine science educators. Programs are designed for students in grades pre-k through 12. Please contact Dita O’Boyle, Elementary School Education Specialist, for more information.
Home school Programs in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Field-based Estuarine Studies in Naples | Rookery Bay Research REserve
High School & College

Field-based Estuarine Studies

Field-based Estuarine Studies is designed to educate high school and college students using field-based explorations. Programs are conducted on education vessels and are appropriate for classes such as marine biology, environmental science, oceanography, general biology, chemistry and more. Teachers are required to complete training and classroom-based work. Please contact Sarah Falkowski for information on High School & College Education programs.
For All Ages

Year-Round Excitement, Fun and Education

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers a variety of activities throughout the year. From activities for kids and families, to lectures and classes that teach you all about our coastal environment, to exciting annual events that help to support the continued efforts of the Rookery Bay Staff. There is something for everyone year-round.
Institute for Marine Science in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Teachers on the Estuary in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Teachers on the Estuary

Teachers on the Estuary is an annual, two-day workshop for middle school teachers that provides hands-on, field-based, professional teacher development opportunities. Teachers from Collier County and around the state learn about issues facing estuaries in southwest Florida during field trips into the estuary and experience hands-on sessions led by educators and community partners focusing on water quality, invasive species, and watershed management.

Help Make a Difference!

Volunteer at Rookery Bay

Hundreds of volunteers play a vital role in the preservation, restoration and management of our mangrove estuary. Opportunities are endless. Training is provided. A passion for our coastal environment is a must. Join one of our monthly volunteer orientations and learn about supporting our coastal treasure, Rookery Bay Research Reserve!