Are You Team Ocean?

team oceanRookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is announcing a new awareness campaign developed to promote ethical boating practices among boaters using protected coastal waters. Called “I am Team OCEAN,” the campaign is centered around a call to boaters to pledge their commitment to minimizing negative impacts while enjoying local islands, estuaries and coastal waters.

Rookery Bay Reserve’s “I am Team OCEAN” campaign will be led by Team OCEAN (Ocean Conservation Education Action Network), a group of 45 dedicated volunteers at Rookery Bay Reserve who reach out to boaters with a focus on visitor education and coastal stewardship.

“Team OCEAN has been around for years, but the new ‘I am Team OCEAN’ campaign brings added focus and energy to the educational and stewardship messages,” said Kevin Claridge, Florida Coastal Office director. “Instead of only having 45 volunteers serving as stewards, this provides a way for boaters anywhere to be a part of Team OCEAN.”

Rookery Bay Beach Scene“I am Team OCEAN” encourages ethical boating practices such as proper navigation for safety and protection of fragile aquatic habitats, packing out and tying down to reduce litter, and observing wildlife from a distance.

“Taking care of southwest Florida’s beautiful coastal areas is everyone’s job,” said Brooke Carney, Coastal Training Program coordinator for Rookery Bay Reserve. Carney developed the campaign in effort to galvanize support for the program. “I’m excited to launch the ‘I am Team OCEAN’ campaign because it gives people the opportunity to learn how important their actions are, while joining hundreds of other local boaters in doing our part for the coast,” she added.

Team OCEAN is a boat-based volunteer program supported through a partnership between the Rookery Bay Reserve, Florida Sea Grant and other local community donors. Following a model at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, volunteers with Rookery Bay Reserve’s Team OCEAN have made weekly visits to high-use areas in the reserve since the program originally launched in 2005. Through this program, volunteers help serve as the reserve’s “eyes and ears” on the water.

Boaters can take the “I am Team OCEAN” pledge online at or in person if they see a Team OCEAN volunteer in the community or on the water. Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters between Naples and Everglades National Park. It is managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in cooperation with NOAA.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 5 – 9 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Art Class: Realistic Portraits in Graphite

Learn how to draw realistic portraits in graphite during this five-day
class with Lee Hammond, a professional artist and art instructor for
more than 30 years. $375, supplies not included.

Jan. 6 (noon to 1 p.m.)
Lunch & Learn Lecture
The Everglades Queen and Other Tales of Old Florida

Join master storyteller Caren Neile as she makes history come alive
in these dramatic interpretations of Florida folly and fortune. Includes
lunch from Carrabba’s. $10, free for members.

EvergladesJan. 10 (8 a.m. – noon)
Wing It! A Beginning Birder Workshop

Learn basics of birding, including how
to use field guides, plumage, flight
patterns, behavior and field marks in bird
identification. Classroom session followed
by field trip to practice new skills. $30, $25
for members. Also offered Feb. 14.

TernsJan. 16 -18
11th Annual Southwest Florida Nature Festival

Enjoy field trips, lectures and activities at the Environmental Learning
Center. Enjoy BOGO ($5) admission on Friday. Saturday admission is
$10, includes five daytime lectures:
11 a.m. South Florida Birds & Gardens
12 p.m. Living Roofs, Flowers in the Sky
1 p.m. Bird Behavior
2 p.m. Poachers in Paradise
3 p.m. Least Terns

Pete FrezzaJan. 17 (5:30 to 7 p.m.)
Nature Festival Keynote Presentation

Pete Frezza, Research Manager- Everglades
Region, Audubon Florida’s Everglades
Science Center presents “Roseate
Spoonbills in the Everglades: A Look into
the Past, Present and Future of the Flame
Bird.” $15, includes refreshments.

art classJan. 26 – 30 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Art Class: Realistic Portrait Drawing in Colored Pencil

Learn how to draw realistic portraits in colored pencil
with Lee Hammond. $375, supplies not included.

clyde butcher photoJan. 29 – March 26
“Photography Annual” exhibit in the gallery

Friends of Rookery Bay and the
United Arts Council of Collier County
present the “9th Annual Florida
Juried Photography Exhibit” juried by
preeminent photographer Clyde Butcher.

Jan. 30 (5:30 to 7 p.m.)
Amazing Adventures Lecture

“Westward Found” Amy Washuta and Luke Gommerman, National
Park Service Rangers take you from the deep, verdant swamps of
subtropical Florida to the intricately-carved rock wilderness of the
American Southwest. $10 (free for members.)

orchidFeb. 3 (noon to 1 p.m.)
Lunch & Learn Lecture

The Scent of Scandal: Inside the Wild World
of Orchid Smugglers
A look at the bizarre world of orchid
smuggling, which resulted in a Florida
scientific institution – and tourist attraction
– being charged with violating federal law. Includes lunch from
Carrabba’s. $10 (free for members).

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