It takes a village.... of VOLUNTEERS.... to pull off National Estuaries Day! We had 668 guests and we could not have done it without all of you. We had 50 amazing volunteers, working different shifts and many staying the entire day. I want to thank each and every one of you, and on our list below we have noted “HS” to indicate the amazing high school students who came from several different schools in the area, in addition to many college students. I cannot say enough about these students. They worked tirelessly, put up with me moving them around all day and did each job with a smile.
Back in April, we shared this trail camera image as part of a sequence showing interaction between a softshell turtle and a nesting crocodile on Reserve lands. We were excited to learn that this image was selected as the Grand Prize winning photo by RECONYX in their 2018 Trail Camera Photo Contest! Congratulations to Steve Bertone, resource management (and trail camera) specialist.
RB staff provided assistance during the rescue of a nine-foot-long manatee at Marco Rose Marina on Sunday. This unorthodox rescue was a group effort involving FWC's manatee team and law enforcement, Rose Marina and reserve staffers Greg Curry and Jill Ryder Schmid. The manatee is now recovering at Sea World. Watch the video below to see how it got to the manatee ambulance!
Staff with Rookery Bay Research Reserve assisted in the release of five sea turtles rehabilitated at the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel. So far in August, a female loggerhead was released on August 13, two Kemp's ridley sea turtles were released on August 16 and two more Kemp's ridleys on Tuesday, August 21. We reached out to CROW for details on these patients, and here is what they told us:
Monday, August 13, 2018
Today, a loggerhead sea turtle was released into Gullivan Bay within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. It was rescued in July from the waters near Sanibel Island and taken to CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) to be treated for illness related to red tide. Once it was well enough, it was decided by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and CROW staff to release the turtle into the Ten Thousand Islands, away from the worst of the red tide conditions. The Rookery Bay sea turtle team was happy to help. In this video you can see the turtle swimming away to its new life.
August 10, 2018
Today is the final day of our Summer Institute for Marine Science! Throughout the week, SIMS campers, entering grades 8-10, gained lots of field experience and met many scientists, thanks to our partners at Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Vester Marine Field Station, Tiger Tail Beach Marco Island, Marco Island Historical Society, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and Community Foundation of Collier County.
Share the shore! Least terns have returned to Florida beaches for summer breeding season, and one colony has set up at the south tip of Keewaydin Island. Breeding shorebirds are very vulnerable to disturbance, especially since they nest on the same beaches where families like to vacation. To help reduce the stress on the birds, our avian biologists, in cooperation with FWC and with help from our Team OCEAN volunteers, post signs and string around the nesting area to alert visitors to stay back. It is also important to keep trash off of the beach and to not feed wildlife. If you feed wildlife, it can attract avian or mammalian predators to the beach.
Last week, Team OCEAN volunteers rescued an endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle! Bob Fink, Marcia Fink and Monte Kroh were idling past Goodland on the way to the Second Chance CWA when passing motorists alerted them to a sea turtle in distress. The trio located the small turtle, which could not submerge on its own, and contacted Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and provided a cell phone photo to the biologist who identified the turtle and offered a diagnosis called “positive buoyancy,” where intestinal gas is trapped inside the turtle’s shell. They then transported the turtle to CROW, which is the nearest rehabilitation facility certified to hold this species in captivity for treatment. The turtle is now undergoing treatment and is expected to make a full recovery. Way to go, Team O!