10th Annual Nature Festival

rookerybay-decemberDon’t let the flock pass you by!

Registration is now open for nearly 40 guided field trips to wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida. Specialty trips cover all modes of transportation including bike rides, buggy rides, canoe trips, swamp tromps and boat tours that shine a spotlight on the amazing conservation lands and waters across the region.

Take advantage of opportunities to explore to off-thebeaten-path locations such as Sandfly Island in Everglades National Park, CREW Bird Rookery Swamp, and Big Cypress National Preserve. Get to know the wildlife on Marco Island, from burrowing owls you can see from your car, to creatures from the green lagoon (also known as Tigertail).

In celebration of the 10th annual festival, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17. On Saturday, January 18, the cost of admission is $10 and includes four expert lectures:

• 12 p.m. “Wildlife in Need” Jessica

Bender, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida

• 1 p.m. “Ospreys in Southwest Florida”

rookery bay Annual

Nature Festival Jan. 17-19

10th Southwest Florida

Ted Below, avian expert and former National

Audubon Sarden

• 2 p.m. “Native Landscaping for South

Florida” Chad Washburn, Director of

Conservation and Education with the Naples

Botanical Garden

• 3 p.m. “The Mountains of Big Cypress” Luke

Gommerman, Park Ranger of Environmental

Education and Interpretation at Big Cypress National


december-rookerybay-jpgDon’t miss the Keynote Lecture on Saturday evening, January 18. Dr. Elizabeth Forys, Professor of Environmental Science & Biology from Eckerd College will give the lecture: “Trying to reverse a ‘downtern:’ Creative management ideas for least terns.” Least terns are small, colonial nesting seabirds that breed along portions of both the eastern and western coasts of North America.

These birds face many obstacles in attempt to nest on open beach habitat, including development, disturbance from people and pets, and sea-level rise. In this lecture, Forys will describe efforts to manage alternative least tern habitat (rooftops), creation of new alternative habitat (rafts), and experiments with novel methods to discourage disturbance of nesting least terns on Florida’s southwest coast. Cost is $15 to attend the lecture and includes refreshments.

The Environmental Learning Center is closed on Sunday, January 19, and Monday, January 20 (in observance of Martin Luther King day).

Festival details and registration at www.rookerybay.org/learn/swfl-nature-festival.html.

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