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Grant funds awarded to Duke University and USF will address ecosystem services and habitat changes in Southwest Florida

mangrovesNAPLES, Fla. – Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve announces new collaborations with Duke University and the University of South Florida (USF) to conduct research on Rookery Bay lands and waters. The projects are supported by two National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative catalyst grants of $114,000 to Duke University and $182,000 to USF.

“These projects will provide important information about ecosystem services and habitat changes to support protection and restoration of coastal habitats,” said Keith Laakkonen, Rookery Bay Research Reserve director.

July 11, 2018

I was skeptical when Keith asked if I wanted to zip down to Shell Island Road with him to see if he could find the Mangrove Cuckoo that someone on Facebook said they saw there two days earlier. Despite my hesitation, I grabbed the camera anyway, figuring maybe I’d find something else to shoot if the bird was not cooperating.

As we walked toward the parking lot at headquarters, I saw a woman with binoculars scanning the mangroves along the creek. I called to her to ask if she was looking for the cuckoo. She said she was and that the report she’d seen (on e-Bird) looked like the bird was here. I told her to follow us, and away we went.

July 1, 2018

turtle sc 250The Cape Romano "turtle boys" were recently introduced to the many birds of Rookery Bay. This began when Anne M., Avian Ecologist on staff, informed us of some potential turtle nests on Second Chance. We were excited to check it out, as Second Chance is a Critical Wildlife Area east of Cape Romano and is closed to human visitors from March-August (sea turtles can't read signs, anyway.) Almost immediately after anchoring our boat and stepping ashore, we encountered some volunteers with Team OCEAN, the reserve's boat-based outreach and education team. Their job is to help make sure boaters are aware of the importance of avoiding the closed area, and once they got close enough to read the lettering on our boat, they were clearly glad to learn that we weren’t actually law-breaking citizens.

July 4, 2018

Sea turtle hatchling 250In the spirit of the 4th of July, we are excited to announce this hatchling and 97 others found their independence today - our first reported sea turtle nest hatching at Cape Romano and survivors of Tropical Storm Alberto.

Sea turtle nesting update

WHAT: Kids Free Fridays

WHEN: Every Friday, June 15 - Aug. 3, 2018 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

WHERE: Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road, Naples, FL 34113

HOW: Admission is free for all. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is not required.

June 21, 2018

irga2 250I decided to celebrate the summer solstice by going for a hike into the mangroves with one of our research interns, Marissa Kelly, and some fancy scientific equipment. The lure of a first time visit to Cat Claw Trail, a nature trail near the Rookery Bay Field Station, was enough to motivate me despite the June heat.

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