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~The Environmental Learning Center reopens Sept. 25~

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has cancelled plans to host its annual National Estuaries Day celebration this year due to complications related to Hurricane Irma.
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, which has been closed since Sept. 7, will be reopening on Monday, Sept. 25, and resumes normal operating hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. All exhibits are open but access to trails is limited.

Visit our calendar for details about all upcoming events at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center.

August 18, 2017

After three exciting months of caging sea turtle nests on the Cape Romano complex, it looks like nesting season is coming to a close. Currently, we are at a total of 135 nests and 127 false crawls. Although loggerheads are most likely done laying eggs on our beaches, we still have hatchings to look forward to!

faka union salinity july 31The tropical system that came across Florida at the end of July dumped nearly 18” of rain in some parts of the Reserve. This large amount of fresh water, called a “pulse,” is clearly visible in the salinity patterns recorded by our datasondes. It took a few days for the pulse to make its way off the land however, the overall salinity level in Faka Union Bay continues to be slightly lower than it was before the rain event. Learn more about our System-wide Monitoring program here -

31 sharks crewIt was a banner night for the shark research team on August 13, with a total of 31 sharks caught in Pumpkin Bay! This beats the previous record of 25 sharks last October. Of the 31 sharks caught, 21 were bulls three months old or less, 6 were adult bonnetheads and 4 were juvenile lemon sharks. The largest shark, an immature bull shark, 965 mm in length or 95.5cm or about 3ft. Another bull was a recapture: it was recorded in Faka Union Bay last month. This information is instrumental in helping us gain an understanding of population size and habitat use in relation to hydrologic restoration in the Ten Thousand Islands watershed.

NAPLES (Aug. 18, 2017) – Friends of Rookery Bay announces the board officers and new and continuing board members for its 2017-18 year. Paul Tateo of Horizons Real Estate is president, Tom Marquardt is vice president, Curt Witthoff of Discovery Education is secretary, and Maria Hayes of Maria P. Hayes CPA is treasurer. Milda Vaivada of Soiree was elected to the board. Board members continuing in their terms are Karyn Capozzo of Minto; Ray Carroll of Carroll & Carroll; Chris Lombardo of Woodward, Pires & Lombardo; Dr. Michael Savarese of FGCU; Tom Wagor of First Florida Integrity Bank; and Sandi Wilson of The Arlington.

August 9, 2017

Not so long ago, in a galaxy not far far away...

Ok, so this happened last week in a few drops of water from Henderson Creek, but the videos you are about to watch might as well have been taken in another universe.

Rotifer with volvoxI collected plankton samples for last week’s Summer Institute for Marine Science (SIMS) program led by education staff member Jeannine Windsor. The Henderson Creek sample didn’t have a lot of visible life in it, possibly due to the seasonally low salinity from all the rain we’ve been receiving. However, there were some spectacular organisms in the sample that I’d seen for the first time a few weeks ago while working on a phytoplankton video for the learning center.

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