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Earlier this week, I assisted Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom and her Invertebrate Zoology class visiting from Florida International University. This was the third or fourth year that they’ve come over for a weekend-long field experience, staying at our dormitory at the Rookery Bay Field Station. There were seven undergrads and two graduate (PhD) students participating in the class...

Rookery Bay Research Reserve's own Team OCEAN was presented with the Guy Bradley Award from Florida Audubon during the annual 2017 Florida Audubon Assembly in St. Augustine on October 21. Each year, this prestigious award recognizes an individual for their extraordinary contribution to the protection and conservation efforts of Florida's birdlife. While Team OCEAN volunteers conduct outreach and education on natural resource protection in many areas of Rookery Bay Research Reserve, it was to their efforts at Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) that the award was directed. Read more about the CWA designation.

red bull SUP 850WHAT: Henderson Creek Clean-up
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
WHERE: Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center
HOW: There is no charge to participate, click here to register.

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting a Mangrove Cleanup event in partnership with Red Bull on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Stand-up paddlers, kayakers and water enthusiasts from all over Florida are joining forces to paddle through the mangroves of Henderson Creek and help pick up trash, debris and downed branches that have clogged up the waterways and impacted the marine habitat from Hurricane Irma.

A food truck will be on site during the event.

Team OCEAN receives Guy Bradley AwardTALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve's Team OCEAN (Ocean Conservation Education Action Network) was presented the Guy Bradley Award during the 2017 Audubon Assembly in St. Augustine. This prestigious award recognizes the volunteer group's contribution to environmental outreach and education regarding the reserve's natural resources and beach-nesting birds, as well as their conservation efforts at Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area (CWA).

WHAT: Florida Humanities Lunch & Learn Lecture Series
WHEN: Monthly lectures held November 2017 through April 2018, Noon to 1 p.m.
WHERE: Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center
HOW: Cost is $15 and includes lunch (Friends of Rookery Bay members receive a ten percent discount). Advanced registration is required. 

He'Keia NERRIn August, retired Rookery Bay Reserve director (and former Friends of Rookery Bay executive director) Gary Lytton was invited to participate in the designation of the nation’s newest National Estuarine Research Reserve in Hawaii. Lytton attended the event on behalf of the Friends of Rookery Bay, at the invitation of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association. The newest addition to the national system is located on the island of Oahu, and will be managed through a collaborative partnership involving Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology, the State of Hawaii, and NOAA.

irma path 250Hurricane Irma’s eye wall passed over Cape Romano within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve before making landfall on Marco Island on September 10. Fortunately, the brunt of the storm was absorbed by barrier islands and thousands of acres of mangrove forest protected within the Reserve’s boundary. 

Mangroves and other coastal habitats serve as a first line of defense during rough weather events, helping to slow storm surge, disperse wave energy, and reduce shoreline erosion on beaches and riverbanks. Coastal habitats, mangroves especially, also help protect homes and businesses from floating and windborne storm-created debris, contributing to reduced storm severity on developed areas.

Sept. 21, 2017

turtle beach 250Since our summer interns evacuated before the storm, Jill and I got to go out to the Cape Romano Complex to do an assessment of the islands and determine if there were any sea turtle nests remaining. Before Hurricane Irma (Sept. 5), Jennifer's last survey showed that we had approximately 30 nests yet to hatch. Unfortunately, due to the amount of water that came up onto the beach, it is safe to say all remaining nests at the Cape Romano complex were lost. We expected to be pulling cage debris out of the trees and bushes but that was not the case at all: were only able to recover three cages, and all the others were completely gone and nowhere to be found.

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