Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and offers a two-story visitor center, art gallery, gift shop and nature trail with viewing platform.
Themed naturalist programs offered daily on topics such as manatees, sharks, sea turtles, marine life touch tank and more. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6 – 12, and free for kids under six and Friends of Rookery Bay members. Located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard. Learn more, or register for events, at rookerybay.org.
Guided Boat and Kayak Tours
Two-hour guided kayak tours let you explore backwater bays and mangrove tunnels while learning about your surroundings from an experienced guide and naturalist. Tours provide opportunities to see wildlife such as wading birds, osprey, fish and dolphins. Tours include free admission to the Environmental Learning Center on day of trip and proceeds support the non-profit Friends of Rookery Bay, Inc. Kayak and boat tours are offered Tuesdays through Fridays from November through April.
March 4, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Birds of the Beach
Southwest Florida is a critical stopover site for thousands of migrating and wintering shorebirds. In this class, Adam DiNuovo of Audubon Florida will discuss the life history of these birds and the amazing journeys many of them make annually. Learn how to use plumage, size, and behavior to help with identification. The classroom session will be followed by a trip to Tigertail Beach, one of the most important winter shorebird sites in Florida, where we will see many of the birds discussed. Cost is $40.
March 6 – 10 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Basic Acrylic Painting
Join renown Lee Hammond, Rookery Bay Reserve’s Artist in Residence, for an art program and explore the magic of drawing and painting. Hammond has been a professional artist and art instructor for more than 30 years. She has published more than 35 art instruction books. Learn more about her amazing talent here. Create beautiful paintings in acrylic with Lee Hammond. Based on her painting books by North Light, she will show you how to achieve beautiful skin tones, hair and clothing. Cost is $395.
March 11, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Enjoy this fun and informative class designed to help you identify birds around you. Oriented toward the beginning birder, the classroom session explores how to use birds’ plumage, shape, behavior and habitat to recognize various species. It also covers the effective use of binoculars and field guides. During the second part of the class you will learn more tricks of the trade during a field trip to a nearby park where you can enjoy practicing new skills. Cost is $40.
March 13, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop
Get the best pictures possible and truly understand your digital camera’s features. You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity. No previous camera or photography experience is necessary, just a desire to learn. Sonny Saunders has over 35 years of experience in photography and instruction and is renowned for his ability to communicate to a wide variety of students. Cost is $55.
March 18, 6 – 10:30 p.m.
Batfish Bash for the Bay 2017
The Batfish Bash for the Bay is the signature annual fundraiser for the Friends of Rookery Bay. Proceeds from the live and silent auctions directly support the research, stewardship, and education efforts undertaken by the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Cost is $195.
March 20 – 24, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Landscape Painting in Acrylic
Join renown Lee Hammond, Rookery Bay Reserve’s Artist in Residence, for an art program this summer and explore the magic of drawing and painting. Hammond has been a professional artist and art instructor for more than 30 years. She has published more than 35 art instruction books. Learn more about her amazing talent here. Create beautiful landscape paintings in acrylic with Lee Hammond. Based on her painting books by North Light, she will show you how to achieve beautiful skin tones, hair and clothing. Cost is $395.
March 21, 12 – 1 p.m.
Lunch & Learn: Dr. Jose Maria Eirin-Lopez , The Epigenetics Revolution
Marine organisms need to respond very rapidly to sharp environmental changes. While the ability to cope with stress depends largely on the information stored in their genes, the modulation of such information in response to environmental signals is governed by epigenetic regulatory mechanisms. Epigenetics is an exciting and relatively new discipline studying of the inheritance of modifications in the function of genes. The present talk aims to introduce audiences to a) the Epigenetics phenomenon, b) its relevance to study how marine organisms adapt to environmental changes and c) its potential application in pollution biomonitoring and conservation in the ocean. Lecture is $15, or $10 for Friends of Rookery Bay members, includes lunch.
March 22, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
World Water Day BOGO
In celebration of the World Water Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission.” Higher price prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers.