Environment

Something’s Got to Give

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie NRichie@cityofmarcoisland.com Something’s got to give. Soon. The Marco Island beach is raked daily and large debris is removed by Collier County. Volunteer Beach Stewards walk the beach daily picking up at least one bag of trash – sometimes two or more. The City’s Beach Advisory Committee partners with the Marco Island Civic Association, Publix and local ... Read More »

Crocs ‘N’ Gators…They’re Here!

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist Crocodiles and alligators….we’ve got both species on, or very near to, Marco Island. Although they look a lot alike, they are very, very different. Alligators are found primarily in freshwater habitats, and crocodiles are found primarily in saltwater habitats. The key word here is “primarily” because we do find both types of reptile in both ... Read More »

Great, Big, Beautiful Birds

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie NRichie@cityofmarcoisland.com They are tall, elegant and intensely avian. Like magnificently feathered ballerinas, Great Blue Heron, Great White Heron and the Great Egret magically grace many Southwest Florida habitats: the beach, back bay, mudflat and mangroves. And if a regular fisherman, one of these water birds hanging around the dock begging for bait is not uncommon. ... Read More »

Wood Storks of the Everglades

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist Let’s step back to the Everglades of the 1900s. This pristine area is virtually untouched, and for nearly 5,000 years, a sheet of water from the overflow of Lake Okeechobee has developed this region into a haven for a large variety of reptiles and other animals, including many bird species. One of those bird species ... Read More »

Keeping It Clean – It’s Team Work!

Submitted The City of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee’s monthly beach clean-up could not have happened on a better Saturday of the year. Mid-March — the island is very populated and everyone is at the beach — unfortunately more people equates to more trash on the beach. Gathering early on March 15, members of the Beach Advisory Committee, Greenscapes Inc., ... Read More »

Help FWC – Be a Citizen Scientist

Submitted A ritual dating back millions of years takes place again this spring on Florida beaches. Spring marks horseshoe crab mating season, and biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) want the public’s help identifying spawning sites. Beachgoers likely will have the best luck spotting mating horseshoe crabs around high tide, just before, during or after a ... Read More »

Make World Water Day Every Day

By Natalie Strom natalie@coastalbreezenews.com News flash! Water is essential to our everyday lives! Oh, you already knew that? Good. Well, did you know that you can celebrate what keeps you alive on March 22 with the rest of the world. That’s right. It’s World Water Day, and the best way to celebrate the liquid locally is by taking a trip ... Read More »

A Beginner’s Guide to (GULP) Pythons: Part 2

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist In the last edition of Coastal Breeze News, I gave you a brief introduction to Burmese pythons. These animals are an invasive species (not native to Florida), and they are now firmly established not only in the Everglades but as far west as Collier County. Their numbers have been estimated to be from 15,000 to ... Read More »

Just look, don’t touch!

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie NRichie@cityofmarcoisland.com Beware! Lurking in many South Florida backyards is a small critter that will offer a terrible surprise if touched. The half to one inch long, stout-bodied brown caterpillar has a conspicuous green back with brown oval outlined in white. It’s unique coloring may entice a closer look by touching or holding it– but don’t! It ... Read More »

Rookery Bay Gears Up for Batfish Bash

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com Calling all friends and patrons of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve: Saturday, March 15, the Friends of Rookery Bay will hold the Fifth Annual Batfish Bash for the Bay to support youth science education, environmental research activities and community outreach programs at the reserve. Held at the Environmental Learning Center (300 Tower Road, Naples), ... Read More »

Goodland Civic Association Does Good

By Nancy Richie City of Marco Island Environmental Specialist When the Goodland Civic Association members volunteer, they come in a large, boisterous group; ready to go and ready for fun! For their generous volunteer efforts, they did not just include their own fishing village but the community at large. On Saturday, Feb. 8, a couple dozen Goodland Civic Association members ... Read More »

Celebrating the Eagles

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com On Sunday, March 16, the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation will celebrate Paleo and Calusa, the island’s resident nesting Bald Eagle couple, at its Fourth Annual Nest Fest. The event begins at 5:30 PM with a cocktail hour at the Island Country Club and dinner to follow at 6:30 PM. Valet parking will be available, and ... Read More »

Hideaway Beach Hosts Buddy Day 2014

By Noelle H. Lowery noelle@coastalbreezenews.com It was a day of discovery. It was a day of celebration. It was a day of bonding. It was Buddy Day 2014 at Hideaway Beach on Marco Island. Some 168 second-graders and 200 adult volunteers participated in the Guadalupe Center of Immokalee’s annual Buddy Day event, which rewards children enrolled in the Guadalupe After-School ... Read More »

Success at ‘Discover Tigertail’

Submitted On Saturday, March 1, Friends of Tigertail hosted its annual “Discover Tigertail Beach” event. The weather was delightful, and the attendance was impressive with 200 people, including local residents and many national and international visitors. A part of this year’s event, FOT launched a new program dubbed “Question Quest.” A fun scavenger hunt, it served not only as an ... Read More »

A Beginner’s Guide to (Gulp) Pythons – Part 1

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist “I’ve got a snake over here!” “Okay, can you describe it?” “Yes. It looks to be about 6-feet-long, dark brown with black spots and about 3 inches thick.” “Do the spots connect? Do they touch each other? Tell me about the markings on the head.” “The spots a giraffe-like. They do not touch. The ... Read More »

Positive Interactions with Wildlife

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie NRichie@cityofmarcoisland.com To balance out the alarming and sad stories of wildlife that have occurred recently in and around Marco Island — the pilot whale tragedy along the southwest coast of Florida, ultimately ending just south of Marco Island on Kice Island with 25 dead whales; the news of the Marco Eagle Sanctuary bald eagle pair ... Read More »

Friends of Tigertail Ready for Day of Discovery

Submitted On the heels of its success with “Breakfast and Birds,” Friends of Tigertail is gearing up for its next big event. “Discover Tigertail” is set for Saturday, March 1, from 10 AM-12 PM at Tigertail Beach. This will be FOT’s second event of 2014. The first — “Breakfast and Birds: Identify Our Winter Residents” — was held the morning ... Read More »

A “Vantastic” Voyage

By Melinda Gray melinbrya3@yahoo.com Just minutes into one of Billy “O’s” Vantastic Tours, it becomes apparent: owner and tour guide, Billy “O” Oliver is passionate about the wildlife and colorful history of the Everglades. During my visit to Goodland in January, I was lucky enough to go on my first eco-tour with Billy “O.” My two children were dying to ... Read More »

2014 Christmas Bird Count

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie NRichie@cityofmarcoisland.com Each winter, the National Audubon Society holds their annual nationwide Christmas Bird Count. This is 114th year that thousands of volunteers armed with binoculars, field guides and bird lists from all over the country get out in their neighborhoods, local parks and natural areas to document each and every bird they see and hear in ... Read More »

How Did We Get Here?

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Over the past few months I’ve had the honor to tell you about a variety of habitats and wildlife that thrive throughout our magnificent state. Florida has such a unique and varied ecosystem that supports our plants and animals, and with the exception of our northern border, we are completely surrounded by water. Whether it be freshwater ... Read More »