Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve August – October 2020

Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters, encompassing 40% of Collier County coastline. The Reserve is committed to preservation through research, education and land protection.

The Rookery Bay Environmental Education Center offers a variety of hands-on experiences for all ages, including aquariums, interactive exhibits, an art gallery, nature trails, picnic areas, lectures and classes, exhibitions and receptions and much more. Visitors can also explore the unique ecosystem of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve via Rookery Bay’s boat and daily kayak tours that offer an up-close and personal experience in nature. When you choose to spend the day at Rookery Bay, know that you are exploring one of the last and largest remaining undisturbed mangrove habitats in North America.

To learn more, visit RookeryBay.org

Rookery Bay’s Virtual Family & Educational Activities Web Page

RookeryBay.org/family-activities

The Rookery Bay Family Activities web page is the place to go for all virtual family and education programs continuing to happen at Rookery Bay.

It’s a great way to learn all about nature, wildlife and waters of Southwest Florida. The page is filled with interactive videos, presentations, tours and downloadable activities about everything from sea turtles and sharks to environmental conservation methods and water quality testing. Have some fun with your family and learn about the nature and wildlife with Rookery Bay anytime at RookeryBay.org/family-activities.

Breakfast with the Birds Lectures Virtually Via Zoom

Birds as Bioindicators: What Studying Birds Tells Us About the Health of Our Planet

August 19 • 9:30 – 10:30 am • $10Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

Participants can learn virtually online (as they sip their coffee at home) about the shorebirds and seabirds of Southwest Florida at Rookery Bay’s Breakfast with the Birds Virtual Lectures. The series is presented by Audubon Florida expert Adam DiNuovo and hosted by Rookery Bay Research Reserve.

Adam has been working with shorebirds and seabirds across the United States and beyond for more than 15 years.

“Virtual” Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop

August 10 September 21 October 5 9:30 am – 12:30 pm • $55Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, this camera online workshop is for you. The class covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity.

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.

Science Solutions Online Webinar Series: Working Together to Protect Rookery Bay

August 6 • Protecting Shorebirds at the Second Chance Critical Wildlife Area

September 8 • Getting the Water Right at Rookery Bay

October 13 • Restoring the Ghost Mangrove Forest of Fruit Farm Creek on Marco Island 1:00 pm • FREE Registration is required https://rookerybay.org/events/solutions/

From August to October, anyone interested in learning more about Rookery Bay’s 40+ years of conservation efforts can attend FREE online webinars. In addition, environmental and conservation professionals can then take it to the next level by participating in interactive skill building workshops to follow.

Rookery Bay Kayak & Boat Tours– Going Strong All Summer & Fall

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve for a guided boat tour or kayak adventure into the beautiful waters of Rookery Bay with our exclusive partner: Rising Tide Explorers! All the guides are active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors making them the most qualified guides in the region. With our kayak tours, guests paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphins and manatees! Our boat tours are small 6 passenger boats and offer a comfortable and informative ride. Guests can choose from different tours including a shelling trip to a deserted barrier island, a sunset tour, a backwater plants and wildlife trip, or an excursion to the highest point in Collier Country with a visit to an ancient sand dune.

Contact us at RookeryBay.org or call 239-530-5972.

Natural Prescription visit the Conservancy

by Katie Ferron, Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Brown Pelican

There’s one thing we have been reminded of in the past several months: Nature is good for you. A growing body of research is finding that exposure to natural environments is not just good for your health, but vital to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

“The benefits of relinquishing ourselves to these environments are numerous,” says Leif Johnson, a biologist for Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “From decreased levels of stress, depression, and risk of type 2 diabetes, to boosted immune systems, faster recovery times in hospital patients, and much more. Nature is a powerful medicine and you don’t need to lose your cell service to benefit from it.

Walking or just being in natural settings, for as little as 20 minutes, has been shown to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower blood pressure.” While nature is good for us, it’s imperative that we do what we can to be good to the environment. Our native residents of the Sunshine State include more than 133 threatened or endangered species.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is an environmental protection organization established 56 years ago to protect the region’s water, land, and wildlife in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties, including threatened or endangered native species. The Conservancy accomplishes this mission through the combined efforts of its experts in the areas of environmental science, policy, education and wildlife rehabilitation. Conservation efforts for highly threatened animals can work. In the 1980s, there were 26 states in which otters were rare or extinct. Conservation and reintroduction projects have decreased that number to 15. Currently part of Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan, brown pelicans nearly disappeared from North America between the late 1950s and early 1970s, but populations of the fishing bird family have since been restored.

One of the rarest and most endangered mammals in the world is the Florida panther, with an estimated 120 to 230 panthers in Florida. Conservancy biologists, funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, established a remote camera survey protocol for the long-term monitoring of the Florida panther, their primary prey, and other imperiled mammals in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and assisted in development of population-wide survey protocols.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

The Conservancy has helped restore populations of the loggerhead sea turtle, which is threatened in Florida and endangered in the rest of the world. Since the sea turtle program’s inception in 1982, the Conservancy has documented more than 284,000 successful loggerhead hatchlings on Keewaydin Island.

The gopher tortoise is state-designated threatened and a federal candidate for protection. The Conservancy’s Christopher B. Smith Preserve comprises seven acres that is managed as a gopher tortoise preserve with more than 70 gopher tortoises. American alligators, recognized as a keystone species in the wetland ecology of south Florida, were part of a Conservancy population survey in the Picayune Strand  Restoration Area as part of several decades of studying and protecting Western Everglades Restoration crucial to Southwest Florida’s environment.

You can join the Conservancy’s efforts to ensure that area residents can continue to experience the benefits of the natural environment. Learn more about how you can help at conservancy.org.

American Alligator

Offshore Drilling Remains a Threat

by Congressman Francis Rooney and Congressman Matt Gaetz

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill brought disaster to Florida. Our economy suffered gravely even though we had very little  impact from the spill. The fragile nature of a tourism-based economy is reflected in the impact of Deepwater Horizon. Even the
most remote threat or potential threat can radically undermine tourism. This is why we are resolved to fight against any effort that
would permit drilling off Florida’s coast.

Reports have recently circulated that the Department of Interior wants to resume offshore drilling in Florida’s waters after the  2020 election. These reports are deeply concerning to us, to the military conducting crucial operations off Florida’s coast, and to
millions of Floridians whose well-being depends on the tourism economy which is existentially threatened by offshore drilling.
Florida’s precious coastline is a national treasure and a vital military asset. Our military mission, environment, and property  values cannot be subjected to the potentially disastrous repercussions caused by drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Proponents of drilling argue the action is a part of our ability to maintain energy independence and keep our reliance off of foreign
sources of energy, but we are already energy independent, and in fact, exporters of energy. There is no need to put Florida at risk
when we are awash in oil and natural gas. Shell has even reduced the size of its most recent platform 90% because any more would
be inefficient.

Drilling off our coast would also severely threaten the vital military exercises and activities that are routinely conducted near
the proposed drilling sites. The Eastern Gulf is home to the Gulf Test Range, 120,000 square miles of overwater airspace
stretching from the Florida Panhandle to the Florida Keys. The Range is one of the only places in the world where we launch live
fire over water, and land it on land. The military’s plans show that most future test activity will be conducted right east of the
Military Mission Line, a line which runs due south from Destin.

It is incomprehensible that a drilling moratorium would not be imposed in an area where experimental missiles are tested and
launched, and we can’t believe it’s not obvious that launching experimental missiles over active oil rigs is a reckless idea. Our  military has no better location to carry out these exercises,  and there is no compelling reason to place drilling interests ahead of our national defense. Having this unimpeded training and testing area is of critical importance to our military now and will  become  even more important in the future as we test hypersonic weapons, drones, and more.

Our Congressional colleagues in the Florida delegation stand together in recognizing the dangers drilling poses to our state. In  September 2019, by a vote of 248 to 180, the House passed HR 205, a bipartisan, proactive bill to make the 2006 moratorium
permanent. Key to its passage was the Florida delegation — all but one of Florida’s congressmen and congresswomen voted in favor.

This is a bipartisan initiative among our elected leaders, and we are not in the minority on this issue among our constituents either.
Recently 100% of the Florida delegation wrote to the Department of the Interior opposing any move to begin seismic testing or to
allow leasing for drilling. In 2018 over 68% of Floridians voted to ban drilling off Florida’s coast. They remember all too well the pain and suffering caused by the 2010 spill, the small businesses that were wiped off the face of our state, the families that had to move away to find work, the devastating financial loss experienced by millions of their neighbors. They are appealing to their government to listen, to remember, and to take action.

The fundamental purpose of our government is to defend and protect the United States. Allowing oil and gas drilling off our coast  will jeopardize our military readiness and national security by circumscribing the military test range and harming our
environment and our economy by creating risk of spills, pollution, pipelines, shoreside infrastructure, etc. – all of which is wholly
incompatible with the recreation and tourism economy of Florida.

As elected members of congress we will be derelict in our duty if we fail to fight back strongly against this destructive initiative.
It’s been ten years since well over 180 billion gallons of oil gushed into our pristine waters, shattering our economy and upending the lives of our constituents. We couldn’t afford the last disaster, and we refuse to allow another.

Leave our home alone. The Speaker and the House of Representatives voted to protect Florida. Now we need the Senate and  Administration to do the same.

Follow along with me on twitter @RepRooney

Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve

MAY 2020

Experience Rookery Bay “Virtually” Every Day in May

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve every day in May at Friends of Rookery Bay on Facebook for interesting information, virtual tours and behind the scenes access to Rookery Bay’s research and programs. Each week will focus on a different aspect of Rookery Bay’s work and mission. Topics will include Shark Research, Water Quality Monitoring, Fish of Rookery Bay,
Invasive Species (plants and animals) and Avian Research.

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters, encompassing 40% of Collier County coastline. The Reserve is committed to preservation through research, education and land protection. So, go virtual for the month of May with Rookery Bay! It is the perfect way to learn about water, wildlife and natural beauty of Southwest Florida as well as the ways Rookery Bay is working to protect it for future generations.

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center

300 Tower Road • Naples, FL 34113 • www.rookerybay.org • 239-530-5940

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for kids 6 – 12, and free for kids under 6
Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Touch, see and explore Southwest Florida’s coastal environment at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Experience hands-on, interactive exhibits including marine life touch tanks and habitat displays. Enjoy trails, naturalist led programs, nature viewing bridge over the water and more! Kids and adults alike can explore the Center and discover the plants, fish and wildlife that call
Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000 acres home.

JUNE 2020 EVENTS

Essentials of Digital Photography

June 8 • 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • $55 Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, this camera workshop is for you. The class covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity. 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.

Summer Institute for Marine Science – SIMS

Day Camp for Rising 8th, 9th and 10th Grade Students Choose from 3 Weeks: June 9 – 12, June 16 – 19, June 23 – 26 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. • $150 (scholarships are available)
Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

SIMS is the ideal summer camp for rising 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students with an interest in Marine Sciences. Participants will explore coastal ecology through field trip excursions both in and around the 110,000 acres of the Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Each week will include an in-depth look at the mission and efforts of Rookery Bay with visits to surrounding areas of the Western Everglades, exposure to research and monitoring of local wildlife and off-site field trips to other marine science and environmental centers.

Experience Rookery Bay Guided Boat & Kayak Tours

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve for a guided boat tour or kayak adventure into the beautiful waters of Rookery Bay with our exclusive partner, Rising Tide Explorers! All the guides are active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors making them the most qualified guides in the region.
With our kayak tours, guests paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphins and manatees!
Our boat tours are small 6 passenger boats and offer a comfortable and informative ride. Guests can choose from a number of different boat tours including a shelling trip to a deserted a barrier island, a sunset tour, a backwater plants and wildlife trip or an excursion to the highest point in Collier County with a visit to an ancient sand dune.
Book at RookeryBay.org or call 239-530-5972. 41

Rookery Bay Brush Strokes – Fish of Rookery Bay

June 13 • 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. • $60 Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

Paint the beauty of coastal Southwest Florida and the wildlife of estuary waters at Rookery Bay Brush Strokes watercolor painting class. Local Naples artist Jan Deswik offers step-by-step simple instructions and creative support that’s perfect for beginners or anyone inspired by the coastal environment and wants to bring it to life in a one-of-a-kind painting. Each class spotlights a natural theme from shells to birdlife to local waterways. Held in classrooms at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, all materials are included. Participants will leave each class with a completed painted piece with matte.

Breakfast with the Birds – Bird Bling:

How Banding Birds Aids in Conservation June 17 • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. • $15 Registration is required www.rookerybay.org/calendar

Learn about bird banding and how it can make a big difference in the world of avian research and conservation. Adam DiNuovo, the Shorebird Stewardship Program Manager for Audubon Florida, will present. Adam has been working with shorebirds and seabirds across the United States and beyond for more than 15 years. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. Lecture begins at 9:30 a.m. Enjoy pastries, coffee and juice.

JULY 2020 EVENTS

Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) Workshop

July 1-2 • 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. • $25 Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

The TOTE Workshop will focus on Rookery Bay Research Reserve, specifically estuarine research, stewardship, and education. It is open to all teachers. The workshop is based on the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Estuaries 101 Middle School curriculum and focuses on topics such as: sharks, birds, plankton, invasive species and water quality. Mornings are spent in the field exploring the reserve. Afternoons are inside, meeting staff and learning about activities to adapt to classrooms.

Kids FREE Fridays – Summer of BIRDS

July 10 – Raptors • July 17 – Songbirds • July 24 – Diving Birds
July 31 – Seabirds $8 Admission for adults, FREE for kids under 12 • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

This popular education and hands-on program is back for the summer of 2020 at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center! Beginning Friday, July 10 environmental-educators will put the spotlight on a different bird with hands-on activities, crafts and games – all within the cool comfort of the air-conditioned, state-of-the-art Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Please visit RookeryBay.org for weekly themes and activities. Facility open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Rookery Bay Brush Strokes – Mangroves

July 11 • 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. • $60 Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

Paint the beauty of coastal Southwest Florida and the wildlife of estuary waters at Rookery Bay Brush Strokes watercolor painting class. Local Naples artist Jan Deswik offers step-by-step simple instructions and creative support that’s perfect for beginners or anyone inspired by the coastal environment and wants to bring it to life in a one-of-a-kind painting. Each class spotlights a natural theme from shells to birdlife to local waterways. Held in classrooms at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, all materials are included. Participants will leave each class with a completed painted piece with matte.

Essentials of Digital Photography

July 13 • 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • $55 Registration is required rookerybay.org/events

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understanding your camera’s features, this camera workshop is for you. The class covers the essentials of your digital camera. You will learn how to use your camera’s shutter, aperture, ISO control and the drive modes to create images with impact and creativity. 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.

Breakfast with the Birds – Meet the Beach Nesting Birds of Southwest Florida

July 22 • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. • $15 Registration is required www.rookerybay.org/calendar

Learn about the unique birds that nest on the beaches and sandbars in Southwest Florida. Adam DiNuovo, the Shorebird Stewardship Program Manager for Audubon Florida, will present. Adam has been working with shorebirds and seabirds across the United States and beyond for more than 15 years. Doors open at 9 a.m. Lecture begins at 9:30 a.m. Enjoy pastries, coffee and juice.42

Summer Heat + Rain = More Mosquitoes

Patrick Linn, MS, MSHAPI
Executive Director, Collier Mosquito Control District

Mosquitoes like it hot, and Collier County has plenty of hot during the summer months. As temperatures (and rains) increase, so does the potential for mosquitoes to bite and to possibly transmit disease.

Thank goodness they cannot carry the COVID-19 virus, but the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito can transmit other diseases including Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika. Additionally, the culex  quinquefasciatus  mosquito is able to transmit West Nile Fever.

While the Collier Mosquito Control District follows the best practices of integrated mosquito management – including trapping and testing mosquitoes to protect the public against the threat of disease – there are a few simple, preventative steps residents can take.

Protect yourself with the 5 Ds
Prevention is the ultimate key when it comes to avoiding mosquito bites. That’s why the District always reminds residents to follow the “5 Ds” of mosquito control:

DRAIN – This action cannot be emphasized often enough. Now is the time to get into the habit of emptying containers of  standing water once a week. It could noticeably decrease mosquitoes around your property. Mosquitoes deposit their eggs
in still, standing water and in a brief 5–7 days later, those eggs are adult mosquitoes. Just one bottlecap of water can produce about 100 mosquitoes in one week! If draining the water isn’t an option, we recommend adding Mosquito Bits to the water, which kills mosquito larvae that may be present. The product can be found in gardening areas at home improvement and hardware stores.

DEFEND – Protect yourself. When used as directed, these Environmental Protection Agency-recommended repellents are
proven safe and effective:
• DEET
• Picaridin
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus
• IR3535

DUSK & DAWN – If possible, avoid outdoor activities during these times when mosquitoes are most actively flying and feeding.

DRESS – When it’s reasonable, cover exposed skin to block mosquitoes’ access to your skin. Mosquito problems? Let us know!
Communication with our residents plays an important role in our daily surveillance data. Resident’s reports received daily
through phone calls or via the form on our website are submitted to the Operations Department, where the data are reviewed to
determine where and when to treat.

Complete a Mosquito Report form on our website (www.cmcd.org)
• It’s optional to request a Field Technician visit to help determine possible mosquito habitat.
• Telephone us at (239)436-1000

Pick up free mosquitofish for your standing water Mosquitoes need only a tiny amount of standing water in which to lay their eggs. And remember that mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance – they can also spread disease. For larger areas of long-term/seasonal standing water, the District offers residents a biological control method to “fight the bite”: Gambusia holbrooki,  or “mosquitofish.”

Native to Southwest Florida, mosquitofish can consume large quantities of mosquito larvae daily. They are a small but hearty freshwater fish in the guppy family, but don’t let their small size fool you! As soon as they are introduced to their new home, they will instantly go to work gobbling up mosquito larvae.

The District has two 800 gallon tanks of mosquitofish on our Naples campus, and they are free to the public to place in water- filled locations on their property where mosquitoes may be breeding. Last summer, many people placed their fish in swales, ditches, and non-working fountains. Residents should call the District in advance to schedule an appointment for the pick-up; a staff biologist will determine the number of fish needed after obtaining information from the property owner.

So as the summer months heat up, you can follow the “5 Ds,” communicate your mosquito problems, acquire some mosquitofish,
and the District will continue its mission to suppress both disease carrying and nuisance mosquitoes.

Want to learn more about the District’s operations? We welcome visitors for tours of our campus. Please call our office at (239) 436-1000 to schedule a tour or if we can provide more information.

 

Supporting the Health of the Environment is Good for YOU

by Katie Ferron, Conservancy Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

In the past few months, the uncertainty dealt by the coronavirus probably had many people feeling helpless waiting to see
what happens next. But through it all, experts advised people can still go outside, and that the healing impact of nature will be
important to our nation’s recovery.

“We need to look after our mental and physical health, and fresh air, nature, and exercise are really important for that,” Crystal  Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told The Atlantic.

At the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, this is the heart of our mission to protect our land, water, wildlife and future for generations to come. Founded in 1964, the Conservancy has an $8 million annual operating budget, 65 full-time staff members, 600 volunteers and 26 interns, and more than 7,000 members and donor families.

In a year, the Conservancy educates 10,000 children, admits 3,700 wildlife patients to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, protects 590 sea turtle nests, captures 2,000 pounds of invasive pythons threatening native wildlife and helps to preserve thousands of wetland acres.

The Conservancy’s mission focuses on critical environmental issues impacting Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. Strategies include science and research, policy and advocacy, wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education.

The Conservancy, a nonprofit, is funded by generous individual sponsors, corporate sponsors, grants, private foundations,
membership, and planned gifts. One major source of funds is the annual Magic Under the Mangrove’s gala, which in March this
year, raised $1.6 million with a record 510 attendees. In 16 years, Magic Under the Mangroves has raised more than $13 million to fund scientific research, education programs, policy development, advocacy and wildlife rehabilitation programs.

This year’s event focused on the people who power our mission, allowing the Conservancy to address mounting challenges such as removing pythons from our local ecosystem, providing an annual assessment of our 20,174 mangroves and protecting sea turtle nests, to name a few. In 2005, a group of community leaders created the event, named Magic Under the Mangroves one of the top charitable events in Naples, to celebrate and support Southwest Florida’s unique natural environment.

This year’s theme “It’s on! Time to Make the Magic Happen,” celebrated nature at night including sparkling sunsets, twinkling  twilight, sunlight dancing through the mangroves, all under a lavishly decorated tent on the grounds of the Conservancy Nature Center. Conservancy member and longtime supporter Carol Dinardo chaired this year’s event. “What an amazing way to shine a light on the important work of the Conservancy,” she said. “This gala allows the community to support the Conservancy’s teams to continue their incredible work to preserve the environment that brought us here.”

Magic Under the Mangroves, which has grown into one of Naples’ top annual charitable events, featured cocktails, hors d’oeuvres,  music and a seated dinner by award-winning, certified green caterer Windows Catering of Washington D.C.
Attendees also participated in a silent auction and spirited live auction that included trips to exotic destinations, elegant dinner
parties, jewelry and artwork. The auction included one-of-a-kind nature experiences with Conservancy staff members, including a screech owl release, sea turtle habitat exploration, python tracking exploration in the Everglades and more.

Before dinner was served, the live fund-a-need cash call ended after raising $995,000. After dinner, attendees were asked if anyone would be willing to get the total to $1 million, and several paddles were raised, bringing the fund-a-need campaign over $1 million.

The Silent Fund-A-Need at the gala highlighted the cost and need for funding ongoing expenses such as weekly animal care at the wildlife hospital at $200 for reptiles, $300 for mammals and $500 for shorebirds; and a sea turtle satellite tracking tag for $4,000.

Funds were also raised for Ambassador Animal “home furnishings” in the Dalton Discovery Center, injured shorebird pool supplies,  bird re-nesting supplies, a sea turtle research ATV, invasive cane toad research, computer equipment for interns and
volunteers, a new network server, policy fights against fracking, school field trips and more.

As our community continues to heal and grow from the impact of recent trying times, we are keenly aware that our Southwest
Florida environment continues to be an economic driver as well as a place for healing and well-being. Now more than ever, we
cannot afford to take our natural environment for granted and we challenge you to become engaged as part of the solution.

Visits to the Conservancy’s Nature Center support the Conservancy’s mission work including wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release, sea turtle monitoring and research, clean water advocacy and environmental education and outreach. For more information, visit conservancy.org.

Everglades Restoration Means JOBS NOW… by Eric Eikenberg

Governor Ron DeSantis, his wife Casey and members of the South Florida Water Management District join supporters of Everglades restoration to celebrate a new phase of construction of the C-43 reservoir along the Caloosahatchee River.

With untold numbers of men and women here in Southwest Florida desperate for decent paying jobs with benefits, our commitment to Everglades restoration is more important right now than perhaps ever before.

The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the decades long joint initiative by the federal and state governments, is a
suite of over 60 infrastructure projects that, together, represent the greatest environmental restoration program in the history of the world.

The projects now underway or about to be launched together comprise the biggest public works job engine in Southwest Florida
today, representing our best hope to jump start local economies and help our communities rebound. Perhaps the most familiar of these projects involves elevating 6.5 miles of roadway along U.S. Route 41, the so-called “Tamiami Trail” that connects Tampa and Miami.

The roadway is being elevated between two new bridges that have already been built to increase the flow of life-giving fresh
water into the Everglades. Until the bridges were built, Route 41 served as a man-made barrier that suffocated Everglades National Park during dry seasons. The two bridges have already helped restore the flow of water southward into the park and, ultimately, into Florida Bay.

The road elevation phase, a $100 million project, will see installation of six “conspans” — massive concrete culverts that will  enable the flow of far greater amounts of water to alleviate droughts that kill wildlife by destroying habitat. Further south,
the additional fresh water will help restore the delicate saltwater balance in Florida Bay, helping nurture the sea grasses and restore the fisheries that attract sport anglers from across the globe. Economists estimate the creation of 1,850 direct and indirect jobs as a result of the elevation of U.S. 41.

Even greater numbers of people will find employment as three separate water retention projects continue to unfold. The largest of these is the so-called “Everglades Reservoir” south of Lake Okeechobee, a $1.3 billion, 16,000-acre water storage facility and adjacent man-made wetland.

Construction proceeds along U.S. Route 41, the Tamiami Trail.

As with two smaller reservoirs, one along the Caloosahatchee River (the so-called “C-43” reservoir) and its companion alongside the St. Lucie Canal (the “C-44”), the new Everglades Reservoir will create upwards of 33,284 direct and indirect jobs over the construction period. This includes jobs for construction workers, iron and sheet metal workers, truck drivers, backhoe and bulldozer operators and allied trades, plus a small army of civil engineers and architects. In addition, job creation will also include so-called “indirect jobs” that will be created as these payrolls work their way through our local economy.

Ultimately, these and other Everglades restoration projects will prove a wise investment in delivering environmental benefits that will pay for themselves many times over in terms of real estate values, water supply and retention and water-based recreation and tourism.

But in the short term, thousands of hard-pressed families across South Florida can immediately expect an immediate return on our investment in these projects: a decent paycheck, with benefits.

Eric Eikenberg is CEO of The Everglades Foundation.

Meet Eko- Naples Zoo’s Newest Resident

by Kelsey Burr, Naples Zoo Digital Marketing Manager

A new resident recently moved into Naples Zoo. Guests can now see Eko (pronounced Echo), a Malayan tiger who came to us from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

Malayan tigers are critically endangered, with less than 200 mature individuals in the wild according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The tigers are native to the forests and mangrove swamps in Malaysia and face threats such as habitat loss, poaching for their bones and skin, depletion of their prey, and tiger-human conflict.

Naples Zoo has funded saving wild tigers for over two decades. Today, Naples Zoo and other accredited zoos join forces through the Tiger Conservation Campaign to support Wildlife Conservation Society’s on-the-ground efforts to address the threats to this majestic, iconic cat. We work with the organization to both educate Asian consumers on the false medical claims promised from tiger parts, and fund field teams to combat poaching and remove snares.

“Naples Zoo has provided critical support to stop the poaching that threatens these magnificent wild cats. Efforts like these, along with the work zoos do to raise awareness and engage people in conservation action, are helping secure a better future for wild tigers,” Dr. Tara Harris, Coordinator of AZA Tiger Species Survival Plan® and Tiger Conservation Campaign, said. We also help with tiger conservation closer to home.

We participate in the Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP) to maintain a genetically diverse population in zoos. While we will not be the home to cubs, as we don’t have the appropriate space, we fill the SSP’s need of caring for young adult cats.

If the SSP selects Eko for a breeding recommendation, we will take him to another accredited zoo, as we’ve done with tigers in the past. We are honored to play this role.

Eko is a great ambassador for his species. When guests see him, we hope they fall in love and want to learn how they can do their part to save his cousins in the wild.

One way we can all help is by choosing products made with sustainable palm oil. Palm oil is the most widely produced edible vegetable oil in the world. It’s found in food like cookies, potato chips, and bread as well as shampoo, lotion, laundry soap and more.

Unfortunately, some companies clear cut forests to produce palm oil – leading to the deaths of tigers and orangutans.

Thankfully, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo created an easy app to help shoppers identify products with sustainably grown palm oil. Download the app atnapleszoo.org/palmoil.

 

 

 

 

  • A tiger’s stripes are like our fingerprints – no two patterns are the same.
  • Tigers can run in short bursts up to 40 mph.
  • Tigers are great swimmers (if you’re lucky, you may catch Eko enjoying time in his pool!).
  • A tiger’s night vision is six times better than ours.
  • Tigers are solitary animals that enjoy living alone, like most cats, and will mark an area as their own by spraying strong smelling scents, scratching trees, and leaving piles of scat.
  • Tigers are the largest of all the cat species.

Controlling SW Florida Mosquitoes

Patrick Linn, MS, MSHAPI Ex. Dir.
Collier Mosquito Control District

In 1950, Naples was a sleepy fishing town undiscovered by tourists. In fact, finding Naples on a map proved rather difficult. However, mosquitoes didn’t need a map and their sheer numbers in the Naples area severely limited outdoor activities.

A referendum in 1950, held in accordance with Florida law,  established mosquito control in Naples. With no money, no employees, and no equipment, the newly formed organization  borrowed a truck and driver from the Town of Naples to disperse a mist of insecticide throughout all six square miles of the small town.

That method of controlling mosquitoes was a singular one: targeting adult mosquitoes when conditions warranted. Since then, the science of mosquito control has evolved to include multiple facets that we refer to as Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM).

Mosquito control fogging was first accomplished with a truck borrowed from the Town of Naples.

Our IMM program today includes community education, habitat surveillance, and mosquito larvae control materials, with adult mosquito treatments being the last resort of controlling the pesky biters. Gone are the days when DC-3s flew in formation over Naples  using thermal fogging to control mosquitoes (i.e., a mixture of insecticide and diesel). The DC-3s were sold long ago, and our aircraft today use Ultra-Low Volume systems that
apply a fine mist of insecticide at a rate of one-half ounce per acre when targeting adult mosquitoes.

Rapidly evolving technology is revolutionizing our IMM program, from the use of drones for mapping mosquito habitat to increasing the use of natural mosquito larvae control methods. For example, the District expanded the use of larvicides in 2019 by nearly 40 percent. We purchased a new helicopter that accommodates a larger system for the distribution of the granular larvicide material.

The larvicide poses no harm to humans, fish, plants or animals, and its effect can reach up to 30 days. We are finding that the larvicide reduces the number of treatments required to target adult mosquitoes in a given area during the season.

We are using drone technology for inspection of mosquito habitat and applications of material targeting mosquito larvae.

Additionally, education is at the very foundation upon which IMM is built. Our Communication/Education staff is continually expanding our reach into the community. From educational presentations in area classrooms to participating in community events, they seize opportunities to inform people about the District’s “what, why and how,” as well as what citizens can do to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

Moving forward, the District will strive to improve our IMM program by continually researching the development of new control materials, using advanced technology to reduce mosquito habitat, and embracing proven industry best practices amid the
backdrop of rapidly changing science and technology.

Want to learn more about the our IMM program? We welcome visitors for tours of the District’s campus located at the Naples Airport, which include presentations by our scientific team in the laboratory, our  operations/surveillance team, and a visit to the hangar. Please call our office at (239) 436-1000 to schedule a tour or if we can provide more information.