Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve


Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center Hosts Science Saturdays

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center welcomes the entire family on Science Saturdays, 9 am to 4 pm, through April. Kids and grown-ups alike can explore and discover the plants, fish and wildlife that call Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000acres home. Science Saturdays is a fun way to learn about environmental science and the natural world through actual hands-on experience with marine life touch tanks, exhibits and scientific displays.

Rookery Bay Naturalist Guided Boat and Kayak Tours

Experience the nature of Rookery Bay Research Reserve up-close and personal with one of our naturalist guided kayak or boat tours. These much anticipated tours run November through April. The relaxed pace and emphasis on learning is designed to help visitors develop a true sense of place and a deeper connection to this unique coastal wilderness. Several different trips are available, each with a different theme and location. All tours provide a chance to see a diversity of native wildlife and offer a comfortable platform for photography.

Pre-registration required. Visit for dates, times and themes.

Birding Basics

March 8, 2019 • 8:30 am – 12:30 pm • $40

Registration is required 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.

Birds of the Beach

March 9, 2019 • 8 am – 12 pm • $40

Registration is required 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. Winter shorebirds are notoriously difficult to ID, so practicing the skills learned in this class is essential. You will learn how to use plumage, size, and behavior to help with identification.The classroom session will take place at the Rookery Bay field Station on Shell Island Road. It 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. Be prepared to wade in water up to your knees, with adequate footwear that will protect your feet (no flip flops). Collier County beach parking fee applies ($8, free with sticker). This classis geared toward those with some birding experience. If you are new to birding, we recommend taking the Birding Basics class first.

Essentials of Digital Photography

March 11, 2019 • 9:30 am – 12:30 pm • $55

Registration is required

If you want to get the best pictures possible, and truly understand 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.

World Water Day

March 12, 2019 • BOGO Admission

No registration necessary.

Visitors to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center can learn about the water around us with buy one get one free entrance on March 12, 2019 in honor of World Water Day. Celebrated throughout the world, World Water Day is a day to reflect on the importance of water in our daily lives as well as to remember those lacking adequate drinking water supplies.

Bash for the Bay

March 15, 2019

Registration is required

The 10th Annual Bash for the Bay is an opportunity to have a great evening out and support Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Join the Friends of Rookery Bay in celebrating the reserve’s 40th anniversary. Guests will enjoy music, cocktails, dinner and other delights!

Lunch & Learn Lecture:

Rookery Bay through the Eyes of the Researcher

March 19, 2019 • 12 – 1 pm • $15, includes lunch

Registration is required

Please join us for the fifth in a series of six lectures in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Rookery Bay Research Reserve – Rookery Bay through the Eyes of the Researcher. Stephen Wilkie, Masters Candidate at Gulf Coast University in Environmental Science, will present on his effort to replicate the 1970’s fish population study by Dr. Bernie Yokel. The 2018-19 lecture series will focus on the history of the Rookery Bay area and the establishment of the Research Reserve. Lectures by staff and volunteers will describe 3,000 years of use of the estuary, the grassroots movement to save the bay, fisheries research, the establishment of the Research Reserve and Environmental Learning Center, as well as some of the more recent accomplishments and notable events in the Reserve’s timeline.

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