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Sip & ShopJ. McLaughlin, of Venetian Village and 3rd Street South, has selected Friends of Rookery Bay as the beneficiary of their Sip & Shop event to take place on December 9. The retail shops invite guests to enjoy light refreshments while shopping the Holiday 2016 Collection at either location, and is donating 15% of their proceeds to the Friends. View the collection at



Cultural Resources in Rookery Bay Reserve Provide Insights to Early Coastal Life

Thousands of years ago, indigenous people called the Calusa inhabited much of coastal Southwest Florida. The Calusa culture was a complex society that thrived on the bounty of the estuary as opposed to agriculture, which was the primary means of subsistence for many other early American people. Numerous Calusa settlements were developed along the Collier County coastline and were occupied from 400 to 2,500 years ago.

The Environmental Learning Center (ELC) will be closed from September 12- 23. During this time the ELC will undergo cleaning and maintenance work in preparation for National Estuaries Day. The ELC will reopen on September 24th for our annual celebration of National Estuaries Day. All are invited to attend this event, which is free of charge and will feature various activities all over the grounds of the preserve.

Turtles on the Town sculptureThe Friends of Rookery Bay is excited to provide a permanent home for "Deflective Paradigm," a Turtles on the Town sculpture, at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. The sculpture, painted by artist Bradford Hermann, was donated to the Friends of Rookery Bay by William C. Huff Companies.

"The generous donation of this beautiful sea turtle sculpture is greatly appreciated," said Gary Lytton, Executive Director for Friends of Rookery Bay, Inc. "The new turtle will help greet the thousands of people that visit Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center each year to learn more about their coastal environment."

According to Lytton, Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is a perfect location for the turtle. Rookery Bay Reserve's 110,000-acres of pristine coastal environment includes barrier island beaches that are used by hundreds of loggerhead sea turtles each year for nesting grounds. Following the Deepwater Horizon spill six years ago, biologists released over 130 endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles into Rookery Bay waters because it represents one of the Gulf's most important feeding grounds for these turtles.

Read the artist's statement (PDF).

Learn more about sea turtles in the reserve.

The documentary film, 'Paradise Reef', showcases the beauty of the Southwest Florida environment. The story, anchored by the Artificial Reef Project, shows the symbiotic relationship of the Everglades, the Ten Thousand Islands, and the Gulf of Mexico. Extensive underwater footage by a world-renown cinematographer showed the amazing growth and abundant marine life on the artificial reefs and many other species of plants and animals that are connected to the ecosystem. The hourlong documentary, which aired on PBS stations statewide June 30, included cameos by iconic Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher, ocean scientists, Rookery Bay Reserve director Keith Laakkonen, and many others.

Watch the trailer.

Sarah-Amy-webWe are pleased to welcome Amy Pfarr, our newest sea turtle intern. Coming to us from Washington College, Maryland, Amy is a senior studying for a BSc. in environmental science and biology. She came to us through NOAA’s Five College Coastal and Marine Sciences Program. Amy is on the Dean’s List and also a member of the Honor Society for Environmental Sciences and Studies. As part of her study abroad year, Amy recently returned from a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Amy is paired with Sarah Norris, Florida Gulf Coast University student who returned for her second year as sea turtle intern and is showing Amy the ropes.

Check out their adventures at the sea turtle intern blog.

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