Rookery Bay Research Reserve welcomed more than 30 people to a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception to celebrate the completion of the new Ten Thousand Islands Research Facility and Dormitory on Goodland Bay in Marco Island on Saturday, November 7 at sunset.
At the event, attendees also had the opportunity to meet with staff to learn about key research currently occurring at Rookery Bay including Sea Turtle nest conservation, juvenile shark and fisheries research, shorebird monitoring and more. After a bit of mingling outside, small group tours were led into the facility which is complete with an elevator for ADA compliance and can house eight visiting scientists and interns.
The event capped off at sunset with a traditional ribbon cutting. Guests including local elected officials, a SFWMD Board member, staff from Senator Scott’s office, Friends of Rookery Bay Board members, state officials, local media and staff members helped hold the ribbon as Rookery Bay Director Keith Laakkonen made the first cut to officially open the facility.
The new Rookery Bay Ten Thousand Island Research Facility and Dormitory is the only facility of its kind in Collier County. It includes a docking facility, dormitory and scientific facility – all with easy access to the Ten Thousand Islands. The location enables Reserve staff, interns and partnering scientists to conduct research by boat to a large aquatic and uplands area within the 110,000-acre Reserve. The new facility replaces an old, outdated bungalow-style house that acted as a lab and dormitory. The new facility is ADA compliant with an elevator. It is a resilient structure that can withstand storm surge including a foundation above FEMA standards for flood and wind. The building also is energy efficient and built with the latest green construction.
The project was funded by a NOAA Procurement Acquisition and Construction (PAC) grant specific to National Estuarine Research Reserves. Additional funds were allocated by Congress including Hurricane Irma Recovery funds. This new facility will support important science, research and education to conserve and protect Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000 acres of land, water and wildlife for generations to come.
Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters. We are committed to preservation through research, education, and land protection.