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Planned Burns 2017NAPLES – Resource management staff at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve have released plans for their first prescribed burns in 2017. Prescribed fires will commence each day around 9 a.m. as weather permits from January through March in any of the following areas: West of Collier Boulevard and south of Henderson Creek, southwest of Artesia to Rookery Bay, westernmost portion of Shell Island Road (near ramp) and north end of Keewaydin Island.

Lunch & LearnRookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has announced the schedule of lectures for the monthly Lunch & Learn lecture series at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. In celebration of the recently-established partnership between the research reserve and Florida International University (FIU), this year’s series focuses on research underway by scientists at the university.

The series kicks off at noon on Jan. 17 with "Aquarius: to Live and Work Beneath the Sea." FIU’s Medina Aquarius Program is dedicated to studying and preserving marine ecosystems worldwide. Tom Potts, director of Medina Aquarius Program, will discuss the incredible 23-year journey of living and working underwater aboard the Aquarius undersea laboratory.

Garrett RichterNAPLES (Dec. 13) – Friends of Rookery Bay announces that Sen. Garrett Richter is serving as Honorary Chair of the organization’s 8th annual Batfish Bash for the Bay. The signature fundraiser takes place from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, 2017, at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road, Naples. The evening includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, “wild” silent and live auctions led by auctioneer and Friends board member Chris Lombardo, a scrumptious buffet catered by Artichoke & Co., and live dancing under the stars to the band Girl Meets Boy. Sponsors include Arthrex, Minto, First Florida Integrity Bank, Collier Enterprises, the Dellora A. & Lester J. Norris Foundation, Naples Daily News, Florida Weekly, and StoreSmart Self-Storage.

More event information, tickets and sponsorship

On Saturday December 10, racers gathered behind the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center to participate in the annual Rookery Bay Adventure Race. Hosted by Up A Creek Kayak Tours, this unique event raises funds for the Friends of Rookery Bay by engaging individuals and teams in an exciting nature experience with a 3K kayak course on Henderson Creek and 4K trail run through old Florida forest on the Snail Trail and two primitive loops.


Patrick ScheeleAdventure Race - Individual Male

Overall: Patrick Scheele

50-59: 1. Bill Becker 2. Daniel Jackson

60-69: 1. Neil Harden 2. Don Tilton 3. Steve Young


natfest 17 collageRegistration opens on Dec. 1 for field trips offered during the 13th Annual SW Florida Nature Festival, hosted by Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Explore the local environment through almost 40 guided field trips to wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida and programs at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center Jan. 13 - 15, 2017.

Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours, are offered in conjunction with partners such as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Big Cypress National Preserve and Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Field trip prices range from $15 - $135, and registration is required.

Activities at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center take place 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, with buy-one/get-one FREE $5 admission, and guests may enjoy lunch from the Sizzle Truck from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Brita Jobos MRIcore 250NAPLES ~ Rookery Bay Research Reserve is pleased to announce Dr. Brita Jessen as Research Coordinator. Brita is a coastal systems ecologist whose work has focused on the effects of cultural change on ecosystem function and services. She received a B.A. in biological sciences from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, where she studied with Drs. Scott Nixon and Candace Oviatt. At URI, Brita was also a fellow with the Coastal Institute IGERT Project, a collaboration of natural and social scientists focused on critical issues faced by coastal communities.

The Friends of Rookery Bay recently received three grants and one corporate sponsorship totaling more than $67,000.

plankton lab250The Martin Foundation contributed $16,800 to support two educational programs run by the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Fourth Grade Estuary Explorers and Seventh Grade Rookery Bay Survivors programs annually reach as many as 4,000 students.

Arthrex increased its recent support of the Friends’ annual signature event, the Batfish Bash of the Bay, to add $5,000 toward education programs.

And, the Community Foundation of Collier County approved two grants totaling $3,500 to hire consultants to assist with strategic planning, community engagement and visioning.

Join the Friends of Rookery Bay for Tales from the Coast, two evenings of stories about science, nature and adventure. Held at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, the evenings will include beer, wine and appetizers. The cost to attend each lecture is $25 ($20 for Friends of Rookery Bay members.)

Clyde ButcherJanuary 11

Pre-eminent photographer Clyde Butcher will share experiences and images from more than 50 years spent creating exquisite black and white photographs of untouched natural landscapes of North America. Clyde's life experience has reinforced his sense of dedication to use his art form, photography, to show people that there is a unity between all undisturbed natural places, whether a peak of a renowned mountain range or a stream-bed in an urban watershed. His hope is to educate…to let people know our land is a special place and to inspire others to work together to save nature’s places of spiritual sanctuary for future generations.


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