ROOKERY BAY RESERVE DEBUTS new seventh grade field trip program

by Renee Wilson

rookery bay1A frontrunner in environmental education for Collier County students for more than thirty years, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has launched a new seventh grade field trip program for students in Collier County public and private schools. After several months of planning, the first class was welcomed last month.

“We are so excited to offer this unique learning experience to local students,” said Sarah Falkowski, Education Coordinator for the Reserve. “According to our market analysis, no other education provider in the region offers hands-on estuarine education in such close alignment with school curriculum,” she concluded.

Called Rookery Bay SURVIVORS, this field trip program engages teachers in a pre-field trip educator workshop, and an educator’s guide provides teachers information and activities to be completed in the classroom before the field trip. A Rookery Bay Reserve staff member or
volunteer docent even visits the classroom to provide orientation.

rookery bay2“Students are prepared before they arrive,” said Rookery Bay educator Jeannine Windsor. “They get vocabulary words, fun activities, and everything they need to ensure a quality experience once they get here,” she added.

The program and labs address species adaptations necessary for survival in the estuarine environment. The SURVIVOR Lab includes games that engage students in competition amongst species and limiting factors. The Plankton Lab uses microscopes to focus on species diversity at different times of day. In the Crab Lab students observe common crab species and identify the traits that are necessary for survival in their environments. The Keystone Lab invites students to examine oysters and the many relationships they have with other species and water quality. Following the trip, the students’ actual data is compiled and made accessible for other classes to compare and analyze.

Rookery Bay SURVIVORS was created to help teachers and students understand more about the region’s coastal environment, as well as engage them in the process of science. All of the activities have been structured for educational effectiveness and incorporate critical thinking strategies, high level questioning, and scientific techniques.

Upcoming Events

The following events take place at Rookery Bay
Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road (off
Collier Boulevard between Naples and Marco Island.)
To register or for more information visit

April 7, 12 – 1 p.m.

Lunch & Learn: Life on Henderson Creek in 1898

This presentation will provide a glimpse into life as a pioneer in the Little Marco community just before the 20th Century. It is based on the diary of F. Watts Hall, who was the school teacher from 1898-99. Excerpts from the diary are supported by nautical charts, historical images and discussions with descendants of the Kirkland and Carroll families who were living on Henderson Creek in 1898. Ray Carroll, Cindy Carroll, and Chris Durfee will recount these stories and can authoritatively answer questions about what life was like on Henderson Creek over the years. $10 includes lunch from Carrabbas, FREE for Friends of Rookery Bay members

April 11, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

wing itWing It! Birding Workshop

Learn basics of birding, including how to use field guides, plumage, flight patterns, behavior and field marks in bird identification. This class also provides an overview of binocular styles and functions, including adjusting the diopter and other “tricks of the trade.” The classroom session will be followed by a field trip to a nearby park to practice new skills. $30

April 13 – 17

Lifelike Drawing in Colored Pencils with Lee Hammond

Lee HammondLearn how to draw fabulous flowers, fruit, and nature scenes in colored pencils during this five-day class. Using her book “Lifelike Drawing in Color” as a guide, Lee Hammond will demonstrate easy methods for students at all ability levels; no experience required. This class will make you a master at various colored pencil techniques, and capturing things realistically. Hammond has been a professional artist and art
instructor for more than 30 years. She has published more than 35 art instruction books. $375, supplies are not included

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