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Friends of Rookery Bay had an extremely successful Give Where You Live Collier campaign on Feb. 15 and 16!

Compared to last year, we more than doubled the number of donors and more than quadrupled the amount raised!

Overall, the 40 charities invited to participate raised $4,010,121 from 1,846 people in just 24 hours.

BOD GWYL 300Friends of Rookery Bay raised $15,382 from 62 people, with 100 percent of our Board of Directors making donations. Board President Ray Carroll and his wife, Pat, led the stewardship with a $2,500 gift to encourage donations.

We will receive a $2,500 match from the Community Foundation of Collier County and the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation plus a proportionate share of the remainder of $500,000 contributed by the two foundations, which spearheaded the initiative and selected the participating charities.

We are using the funds to help support the 4th and 7th grade field trips run by the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as well as the Community Ambassadors outreach program run by the Friends of Rookery Bay.

We appreciate everyone’s support for environmental education!

dolphin 300The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 requires that population stocks of marine mammals be assessed regularly and that estimates of their abundance be reported in the U.S. Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports. The area near Naples and Marco Island is one of the regions where current estimates of dolphin abundance are lacking and where three recent rescues of entangled dolphins have occurred.

Girls at migration stationOne Saturday night, 22 girls aged 7-13 had the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center all to themselves durng the migration-themed Girls in Science Slumber program. After setting up camp, our human participants morphed into birds that had migrated to the reserve for warm weather and prime nesting habitat. Each ‘bird’ experienced trials of migration: distracting city lights, marine debris, scarcity of food and turbulent weather.

fcn article 300Click the image to read a feature article written by Dr. Kris Thoemke, the first director for Rookery Bay National Estuarine Sanctuary, for the Feb. 1980 edition of Florida Conservation News. 


Rookery Bay Research Reserve, together with Audubon Florida and Audubon of the Western Everglades, hosted Ted Below Day on Dec. 9. Ted's special day initially came about in 2014 when the Board of Collier County Commissioners officially recognized Ted for his many accomplishments. Read thier proclamation here.

ted below, keith, brad and plaqueThis year, Rookery Bay Reserve and Audubon partnered to host a special event commemmorating Ted's official retirement from avian ecology. The event included a boat tour of the Reserve's namesake islands in Rookery Bay, which are slated to be re-designated as a Critical Wildlife Area by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission as a result of data from surveys conducted by Ted. The event concluded with a reception, remarks and plaque unveiling at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Guests included Eric Draper, Executive Director for Audubon Florida; Ann Paul, Audubon Florida Regional Coordinator for Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries; Brad Cornell, president of Audubon of the Western Everglades; Kim Dryden, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and others. Ted was also joined by his wife of more than 40 years, Ginny Below, and their granddaughter.

Just in time for the holidays, the Palmetto Patch Nature Store is offering a special deal. Your on-site purchase of just $25 (or more) qualifies you to win an amazing gift basket, which includes an array of store items such as Pre du Provence soaps, local honey, hat, towel, and two FREE boat tour coupons, a $300 value!

boat gift certificate

Read more about the Palmetto Patch

Lavern GaynorFriends board president Ray Carroll and I recently had the pleasure of spending time with Mrs. Lavern Gaynor in her Naples home, an experience not to be forgotten, as she shared her memories of growing up on Keewaydin Island over 70 years ago.

Mrs. Gaynor described in detail what it was like to live on the Island, along with her parents Lester and Dellora Norris, in the years following World War II. At that time, the Norris family owned over 2,700 acres in the area, including the historic Keewaydin Club. She would walk several miles along the Gulf beach with her two dogs, marking sea turtle nests as she went, observing hundreds of shorebirds, spoonbills and herons along the way.

Rookery Bay Unveils New Exhibit

Coastal Breeze News - November 11, 2016

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