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October 10, 2017

Exactly one month to the day, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Southwest Florida. Working its way up The Sunshine State, Irma carved out a path of destruction. For some Irma was a mere inconvenience; for others Irma took all their possessions; and for 73 very unfortunate people across the Caribbean and Southeast, Irma extinguished that which is most precious.

September 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

In early September I excitedly wrote my first ‘Executive Director’ message for the Mangrove Monthly E-newsletter. In light of Hurricane Irma’s landfall in Southwest Florida, I feel compelled to share snippets of journal entries written during and immediately post landfall, and will continue to chronicle post recovery efforts. We all have a story - if you would like to share yours with the Friends of Rookery Bay, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

September 10, 2017, 9:30 AM: Peering outside through a tiny window of my friend’s home where I have been staying since arriving in Naples, the wrath of Hurricane Irma begins to descend upon Naples. Our power is out - the silence is only pierced by fierce winds, driving rain and an eerie howling whistle at the front door. Inside the air is starting to become stagnant. I can’t imagine what it will feel like in the days ahead when we don’t have power or water. Six weeks ago I was ‘safe’ at home in Cleveland, and now the thought of a Category 5 hurricane directly hitting my new home is almost too difficult to fully comprehend.

30th anniv banner 850July, 2017

My wife and I spent a recent weekend in the Ten Thousand Islands, part of the Rookery Bay Reserve, onboard our catamaran, Pandion. Since retirement nearly two years ago from my former job at Rookery Bay Reserve and becoming the Friends' Executive Director, we have had the opportunity to spend more time exploring the 110,000-acre Reserve. It is truly an amazing wilderness experience, and a powerful reminder of why we should care about this incredible place.

Anchored in a secluded bay, my favorite time of the day is early morning. The first thing that hits you is how quiet it is. No distracting sounds of traffic or boats. No sounds at all. Until your ears adjust, and you slowly begin to pick up the sounds of wilderness: a tarpon rolling at the surface, a loggerhead sea turtle head popping up to take a curious look at Pandion, dolphins cruising through the shallow bay seeking schools of fish, and the occasional call from a heron. A flight of pelicans soars directly overhead -- it is so quiet that you can hear the sound of their wings on the air.

June 5, 2017

Thanks for Your Help!

The community’s response to our “Save Rookery Bay” campaign has been overwhelming. Following the news that the White House budget plan proposed to eliminate federal funding for Rookery Bay and all 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves, more than 1,350 individuals signed our online petition, and hundreds more sent additional messages to Congress urging them to sustain needed funding for these vitally important sanctuaries. The petitions were hand delivered to local Congressional offices by volunteers from our Friends of Rookery Bay.

Rookery Bay HorizontalBanner 1With the recent news that the White House budget plan recommends the elimination of federal funding for Rookery Bay and the 29 National Research Reserves, the Friends of Rookery Bay has launched a Call to Action on our website. Our campaign is simple: It is Congress that determines the federal budget, and those of us who care about this 110,000-acre pristine wildlife sanctuary need to let our representatives in Congress know about our concerns. That’s how our democracy works.

Rookery Bay Horizontal Banner As part of our ongoing celebration of our 30th year, the Friends of Rookery Bay hosted a special evening event in February for local donors, partners and patrons at the beautiful Keewaydin Island home of Jim and Sara Biden. With support from the Delora and Lester Norris Foundation and Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, invited guests joined us for an Island Soiree, which started with a cruise and wine tasting along the Inland Waterway aboard the Sweet Liberty catamaran, exploration of the Biden’s amazing bungalow on the south end of Keewaydin Island, a gorgeous sunset over the Gulf of Mexico and a professionally-prepared meal by Chef Alain Petitbon.

Rookery Bay HorizontalBanner 1As we celebrate our 30th year as a non-profit organization, it’s important to recognize the contributions of time, energy and passionate support that Rookery Bay Reserve receives from our members. The Friends of Rookery Bay has over 500 active members, many of whom volunteer in various ways toward the Reserve’s work in environmental education, community outreach, field research and stewardship. 

FORB Logo2017 marks a milestone year for the Friends of Rookery Bay: we are celebrating 30 years of working to support environmental education, research and stewardship needed to sustain the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Friends started as a small, volunteer community-based organization in 1987, with the goal of engaging our local community in the important work of conserving this special place. Thirty years later, with 500 active members, the Friends of Rookery Bay remains committed to this mission. Why does this matter?

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Thank You 40th Anniversary Sponsors

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ICP logo 200Woodward Pires and Lombardo logoSorree logoTN

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