On Friday, April 6, Reserve staff and volunteers conducted a boat tour of the Rookery Islands Critical Wildlife Area for Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, hosted by the National Audubon Society, Audubon Florida, Audubon of the Western Everglades, the Friends of Rookery Bay and the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association.
Please help us welcome our newest staff member, Anne Mauro, who is our new avian specialist. Anne hails from Ohio but has extensive Florida experience through her work with Ding Darling Refuge, Zoo Miami and Audubon Florida in various roles of shorebird and wading bird research.
As a native Floridian, I am always keenly aware of hurricane season. This past summer was already shaping up to be a particularly busy season when Irma formed. For two weeks, long-range models insisted on a major hurricane landfall somewhere in South Florida.
On March 12th, we were pleased to welcome a surprise visitor to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center today! Governor Scott was enjoying some time with family in Naples and chose to spend part of the morning with us.
As soon as she moved from Colorado at the age of 15, Marissa Kelly fell in love with the environment of South West Florida. Inspired by the diversity of our environment, she volunteered at Rookery Bay while in high school. She also completed an internship with stewardship, along with assisting in sea turtle research while attending college at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Pat O’Donnell hardly ever pulls up an empty trawl net. As a fish biologist working in the Ten Thousand Islands for the past 20 years, Pat has seen a lot of changes. When he resumed his trawling program on Sept. 30, two weeks after Hurricane Irma swirled over Southwest Florida, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
Breaking news: a right whale has been spotted off the Naples coast! This is very unusual for our area, and the whale was last seen heading north along Keewaydin. Whales are federally protected and managed by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. If you see the whale, or its unusual v-shaped blow, notify FWC by calling 888-404-FWCC and be sure to stay at least 500 yards away from it.