by Renee Wilson
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve has received $10,000 from the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to support a graduate student to complement existing shark research underway by reserve staff and volunteers.
Fisheries and shark nursery assessment programs have been underway at the reserve for nearly 15 years. The results from this long-term study help scientists understand how sharks and other fish respond to changes in quality, quantity and timing of freshwater delivery to the estuary.
“We are very excited to offer this opportunity to a student wishing to advance our collective knowledge of shark populations in the estuaries within Rookery Bay Reserve,” said Gary Lytton, the reserve’s director. “Over time, the reserve has worked with several programs, including NOAA’s Graduate Research Fellowship program, to develop our fellowship program and conduct several key research projects.”
According to Lytton, graduate student research is an excellent opportunity to establish and enhance collaborative partnerships with university professors, state and federal agencies, independent research institutions and non-profit organizations.
“We are thrilled to continue our support of the Rookery Bay Reserve with this donation,” says Guy Harvey. “Getting students out on the water is key to fostering future stewards of our marine resources.”
Supporting graduate research directly helps the reserve meet its mission in several ways. Most directly, the students’ contribution to the body of scientific knowledge produced within the reserve can aid in resource management decisions. Additionally, the program encourages the education of future scientists; this program will result in submission of peer-reviewed scientific publications, conference presentations, public outreach events and inter-agency collaboration.
Rookery Bay Reserve, managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office in cooperation with NOAA, encompasses 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters between Naples and Everglades National Park. Rookery Bay Reserve serves as an outdoor classroom and laboratory. For more information visit www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal or www.rookerybay.org
Summer Events – rookerybay.org
Guided Kayak Tours
Tuesdays, May 5 – May 26, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Two-hour guided kayak tours of Rookery Bay and its surroundings provide an up-close and personal experience of this irreplaceable national treasure. Paddle lazily through the shallows and maze-like mangrove tunnels while learning about your surroundings from an experienced guide and naturalist. The cost is $55 ($45 for members) and includes: kayak, all equipment, paddling instruction and admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center on the day of the tour. Paddlers must be 12 years of age or older, and weigh less than 250 pounds. www.rookerybay.org/calendar
Lunch & Learn:
Dive into stories of ocean science with Ellen Prager
May 5, 12 – 1:00 p.m.
Dr. Ellen Prager will return to Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center to share more of her favorite ocean science stories about living underwater, the Galapagos Islands, and wacky sea creatures. She’ll also give the audience a sneak peek into Shark Rider, the second book in
her new fiction series for young adults, which will be released May 1. She’ll discuss how she is integrating real-life adventures, marine life, and science into the upcoming action packed sequel that highlights the British Virgin Islands. Cost is $10 (FREE for members), includes lunch. www.rookerybay.org/calendar
South Florida Birds and Gardens photography exhibit In the Art Gallery
May 25 – Sept. 23
South Florida Birds and Gardens is a selection of photographs by Kirsten Hines drawn from her two recent books, Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens and Birds of Fairchild. The exhibition aims to inspire environmentally sensitive landscaping of conservation value to South Florida’s birdlife.
Art for Mom & Me
Wednesdays, June 10 – August 5 from 10 – 11 a.m.
Local artist Marjorie Pesek will lead this 1-hour workshop for children and adults at all levels of creative talent. She will share her unique art technique of Layered Imagery. Participants will be supplied with a sketch of a variety of subjects such as a pelican, a tree frog, or a sea turtle. Using photos and magazine clippings, each parent and child will team up to create a masterpiece to take home. Registration fee ($25) includes one adult, one child (age 5+), and all supplies. Come early or stay late and enjoy complimentary admission to the Environmental Learning Center with registration. www.rookerybay.org/calendar
Kids FREE Fridays
Fridays, June 12 – August 7, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Our popular summer program, Kids FREE Fridays, returns to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. This summer education program provides FREE admission for children ages 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult (up to 5 children per adult). Educators will present lessons and activities following a central theme of “Skulls and Bones.” Scheduled activities include: Story Time, Naturalist Presentation, Crafts, Films, and Touch Tank. Lunch will be available for purchase from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Registration NOT required.
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard (CR951), less than 10 miles from downtown Naples, on the way to Marco Island. From May 1 through Oct. 30, the center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, adding Saturday hours Nov. 1 through April 30. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for members, unless otherwise noted for special activities.
For more information, call 239.530.5977 or visit rookerybay.org and facebook.com/friendsofrookerybay.