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python capture SIR 250Last week, environmental specialists Jared and Sarah were checking the trail cameras off Shell Island Road when they came across this lively lady: a 12-foot long, 75-pound Burmese python. She was basking on the road. Their training came in handy: they were able to safely capture her and stow her in a snake bag until scientists with Conservancy of Southwest Florida arrived to take her away. The necropsy they perform on this snake will help us learn more about Burmese python natural history, and specifically, what she has been eating. Learn more about this work.

Rookery Bay Research Reserve and Florida Department of Environmental Protection are working with Live Oak Production Group to produce a full-length documentary film showcasing the reserve for its 40th anniversary. Below is a compilation of short videos produced with the footage captured for the film. The films range in length from two to five minutes each. 

  • Crafty & creative individual able to build new exhibits for adopt a sea turtle nest giving wall, donor appreciation wall and nature store (Flexible on schedule but immediate need).
  • Tech savvy computer whiz to use 3-D printer to support the Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest Program (couple hrs/wk; January through July).
  • Friendly “Friend of FORB” interested in making monthly calls to new, renewing and lapsed Friends’ members (two half days/month; year-round)
  • Administrative gurus to assist Director and staff with weekly office tasks (two half days/week; year-round)
  • Customer service liaison to answer calls about programs, activities, membership, etc (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from Jan 1 to March 30)
  • A real people person to represent & promote the Friends at our membership table for special events (multiple events/month; year-round)

If interested, call or email Athan Barkoukis, Executive Director, at 239-530-5990 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All positions would report to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Each position to be filled by 1-3 individuals. Must complete volunteer orientation in additional to specific training.

021rekn 250Last month, our avian team noticed a Red Knot on Keewaydin Island with a colored/numbered flag on its leg. Using a zoom lens, photos taken of the band and photo editing software made it possible to read "021" on the flag, and inquiries were made to determine the bird's origin. Research staff member Anne Mauro then learned the bird was banded in 2009 at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts.

dolphin 250Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), in partnership with the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), conducted their second of three field seasons in October 2018 near Naples and Marco Island, to estimate the population size of bottlenose dolphins in the region and to build a photographic-identification catalog of identifiable individuals.

sarah jill excavating 850

NAPLES, Fla. – Florida Department of Environmental Protection staff, interns and volunteers at Rookery Bay Research Reserve recently completed their assessment of nesting efforts for the 2018 sea turtle nesting season and reported more than 10,000 loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings made their way out of their nests at the Cape Romano Complex, south of Marco Island. That is nearly twice the number of hatchlings as any prior year since monitoring and nest caging began at the complex in 2006.

NAPLES (Nov. 16) – Friends of Rookery Bay will present a Holiday Shopping Spectacular from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 at its nature store within the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road, Naples. The event kicks off a season of shopping for people who love environmentally-themed gifts. Proceeds help the non-profit organization support the 110,000-acre Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, which encompasses 40 percent of Collier County’s coastline from downtown Naples to the Western Everglades.

symposium group 250Rookery Bay Research Reserve's first-ever Mangrove Symposium brought together 75 of the brightest minds in mangrove ecology to learn about and discuss topics including ecosystem services, trends and tipping points, adaptive management and restoration ecology, with a tribute to the late Roy "Robin" Lewis, III. The event included plenary and keynote presentations by Drs. Ariel Lugo and Robert Twilley, two "founding fathers" of Rookery Bay mangrove research. There were also a poster session, a robust discussion about a future publication, and field trips to see a restoration site and other mangrove features around Rookery Bay, which is considered the cradle of mangrove research by many.

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