Programs, Tours and Events at Rookery Bay Reserve
Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday year-round, withspecial “Science Saturdays” on the last Saturday of everymonth. Enjoy the two-story visitor center, art gallery, giftshop, nature trail with viewing platform and more.
Themed naturalist programs are offered daily on topics such as manatees, sharks, sea turtles, Estuary Encounter marine life exhibit and more. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids6 – 12, and free for kids under 6 and Friends of Rookery Bay members. Located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US 41 and Collier Boulevard.
Guided Boat andKayak Tours
Two-hour guided kayak tours let you explore backwater bays and mangrove tunnels while learning about your surroundings from an experienced guide and naturalist. Boat tours provide opportunities to see wildlife such as wading birds, osprey, fish and dolphins. All tours include free admission to the Environmental Learning Center on day of trip and proceeds support the non-profit Friends of Rookery Bay, Inc. Kayak and boat tours are offered Tuesdays through Fridays from November through April. Learn more and register for tours and events atrookerybay.org/calendar. Friends of Rookery Bay member discounts apply to most events. January 5 | 8 – 10 a.m.
Enjoy this fun and informative class with Randy McCormick is designed to help novice birders identify birds. The classroom session explores how to use birds’ plumage, shape, behavior and habitat to recognize various species as well as effective use of binoculars and field guides. Attendees will then practice skills and learn more tricks of the trade during a field trip.
January 9 | 12 – 1 p.m.
Lunch & Learn
Hear from expert speakers and enjoy a meal during the Lunch &Learn Lecture Series sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and the Friends of Rookery Bay. Registration fee is $15(includes lunch). This month’s lecture is entitled “Marjorie Harris Carr: Defender of Florida’s Environment.” The program blends Florida, women’s and environmental history into one story of conservation, given by Peggy MacDonald, author and executive director of the Matheson History Museum in Gainesville.
Festival of Birds Formerly known as the Southwest Florida Nature Festival, this event encourages exploration of the local environment through dozens of guided field trips to wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida and lectures at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours, are offered by 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 andthree featured lectures. The Saturday evening KeynotePresentation is by Dr. Ken Meyer with Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) and is entitled “Data driven Conservation for Florida’s Imperiled Raptors and Water Birds: 20 Years of Discovery Through ARCI’s Remote Tracking Studies.” Admission is $25 and includes light refreshments. Registration is required.
January 24 | 6 – 8 p.m.
Tales from the Coast
Join the Friends of Rookery Bay for the first lecture in the 2018 Tales from the Coast lecture series. This month’s featured speaker is David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D., marine scientist, conservation policy specialist, ocean explorer, submarine pilot and educator. Dr. Guggenheim will share his recent coral reef and ocean conservation work in Cuba and the Caribbean. Doors open at 6 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and drinks; program starts at 7 p.m.
Science Saturdays provide an opportunity for families to spend the day at the Environmental Learning Center enjoying programs, labs and activities centered around different science themes, on the last Saturday of every month. This month’s theme is Fantastic Frogs!
February 2 | 8 – 10 a.m.
Enjoy this fun and informative class with Randy McCormick designed to help novice birders identify birds. The classroom session explore show to use birds’ plumage, shape, behavior and habitat to recognize various species as well as effective use of binoculars and field guides. Attendees will then learn more tricks of the trade during a field trip to a nearby park to practice new skills.
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