Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s Team OCEAN (Ocean Conservation EducationAction Network) was presented the Guy Bradley Award during the 2017 Audubon Assemblyin St. Augustine.
This prestigious award recognizes the volunteer group’s contribution to environmental outreach and education regarding the reserve’s natural resources and beach nesting birds, as well as their conservation efforts at Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area (CWA).
Team OCEAN volunteers were recognized for posting and maintaining crossover trails as well as “Important Nesting Area” signs that alert visitors of the beach-nesting birds. Additionally, volunteers regularly assist with shore bird and sea turtle monitoring efforts.
Volunteers are also trained to respond to reports of wildlife in distress, and provide outreach and educational information to boaters, residents and visitors regarding the protection of natural resources within the reserve.
According to Rookery Bay Research Reserve director Keith Laakkonen, Team OCEAN’s 58 volunteers donated 2,034 hours over the first half of 2017 under the part-time guidance of program coordinator Jayson Horadam.
“Jayson’s team has been working hard to get the word out about some of the reserve’s special coastal habitats, such as Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area and Keewaydin Island,” he said, adding that boaters educating other boaters on site has made great strides in reaching tourists and visitors about the importance of these resources for listed species including least tern and black skimmer.
Rookery Bay, in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Audubon Florida, closes the Second Chance CWA annually from March1 – August 31, for nesting season. This closure increases the likelihood of successful breeding and preserves several threatened Florida species.
Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve
Festival of Birds registration opens
Mark your calendar for field trips and lectures during the Festival of Birds, January 12-14, 2018! Formerly known as the Southwest Florida Nature Festival, this event still invites you to explore the local environment through almost 40 guided field trips to 20 wildlife hot spotsc around Southwest Florida and lectures at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center.
This year we have a new emphasis on birds.
Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours, are still being offered in conjunction with local partners. Field trip prices range from $20 – $140, and registration is required. This year, field trip registration includes admission to the Environmental Learning Center on Saturday. A special Keynote Presentation and fundraiser reception is planned for January 13.
December 9 | 8 – 10 a.m.
Birds of the Beach workshopIn this class,
Adam DiNuovo of Audubon Florida will discuss the life history of these birds and the amazing journeys many of them make annually. Classroom session followed by field trip to practice identification skills.
See rookerybay.org/calendar for details and registration
December 11 | 9 – 11:30 a.m.
Essentials of Digital Photography
If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understand your camera’s features, the Essentials of Digital Photography: How to get the most from your digital camera workshop is for you. 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.
December 12 | 12 – 1 p.m.
Lunch & Learn
Hear from expert speakers and enjoy a meal during the Lunch & Learn Lecture Series. Registration fee is $15 (includes lunch). Friends of Rookery Bay members receive a 10% discount. Pre-registration is required, as space is limited.
This month’s lecture is with Gary Mormino, scholar in residence at the Florida Humanities Council and a professor emeritus of history, who will present The Florida Dream, with stories and historical information about Florida’s tremendous growth spurt following WWII.
Enjoy Buy one/Get one FREE admission to the EnvironmentalLearning Center
December 26 – 29