Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Rookery Bay

Historic Coastal Mangrove Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Rookery Bay Research Reserve in Collier County

Shovels were at the ready as Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and key partners including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, City of Marco Island and non-profit Coastal Resources Group, officially broke ground on the Fruit Farm Creek Mangrove Restoration Project 15 years in the making in Marco Island. More than 40 project supporters, local environmental group leaders and citizens were on hand to celebrate the beginning of this project, considered the largest mangrove restoration in Florida history.

More than 64 acres of dead mangrove trees and 159 acres of dying and critically damaged forest will be brought back to life decades after roads cut off tidal flows that nourish this important habitat along State Rd. 92 (also known as San Marco Rd) which connects the City of Marco Island to the town of Goodland. Construction is soon to begin with the installation of culverts under the road to increase the water flow and removal of debris and sediment to restore the forest and the natural beauty of the area.

Mangroves are an important habitat and food source for the bird, fish and other wildlife of southern Florida. They also protect the local community by acting as a buffer during hurricanes and storm surges. In addition, mangroves add economic value through tourism and the fishing industry.

Rookery Bay Research Reserve encompasses 110,000 acres of land in southern Collier County and makes up 40% of the county’s coastline. Visit the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center to learn about the environment of coastal Southwest Florida and experience the natural world hands on with marine life touch tanks, interactive exhibits and coastal habitat displays. The two-story, modern learning center
is air conditioned and includes an art gallery, naturalist led programs, gift shop, three trail loops, a nature viewing platform over the water and more! Kids and grown-ups alike can explore the Center and discover the plants, fish and wildlife that call Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000 acres home.

Rookery Bay Research Reserve also offers guided boat tours or kayak adventures into the beautiful waters of Rookery Bay Reserve. 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 six passenger boats and offer a comfortable and
informative ride. Guests can choose from different tours including a shelling trip to a deserted barrier island or a sunset tour. Find out more at or call 239-530-5972.

December 2021 Events

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center
300 Tower Road, Naples, FL 34114,
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Adults: $8, Children ages 6-12: $5
Children Under 6: FREE
Friends of Rookery Bay members: FREE
Active and Retired Military personnel and family: FREE
Association of Nature Center Administrators Reciprocal Program
Members: FREE

Rookery Bay Holiday Hootenanny – Sip and Shop
December 2, 2021 • 4 – 7 p.m. • FREE
Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center Nature Store
Friends of Rookery Bay will host a Holiday Hootenanny at the nature store in the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road, Naples. The sip and shop event will feature one-night-only specials, light refreshments, holiday movies, kids’ crafts, music, reindeer games and more festivities of the season. Highlights will include discounts on memberships and ecotours, adopt-an-animal packages and savvy shopper prizes.

Lunch & Learn Lecture: Florida History &
Pop Culture Series – “Florida Soul”
December 8 • 12– 1 p.m.
Free online via Zoom or attend in person at the  Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center for
$20 (cost of catered lunch from Carrabbas)
Registration is required
This presentation looks at the people and the music that define Florida Soul, from Ray Charles, to Sam and Dave, James Brown to Bobby Purify and many more. The state of Florida’s rich, but underappreciated musical heritage comes to life in music, words and vintage photos.

Essentials of Digital Photography Workshop
December 13 • 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. • $55
Registration is required
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.


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