Environment

Plans for Nature Preserve Take Flight

A16-CBN-08-05-16-1

By Don Manley  A fundraising campaign is underway for a project that will transform the former Marco Eagle Sanctuary into a full-blown nature preserve. Now known as the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary, the 11.6 acre, undeveloped parcel is expected to become a magnet for nature lovers and an interactive educational facility for local school children when work ... Read More »

A High Tech Answer to Turtle Egg Poaching

Submitted Photo

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist          Just a few weeks ago a Florida man was caught stealing more than 100 eggs from an adult female loggerhead sea turtle while she was in the process of laying them. This guy could face a maximum term of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for hisactions. A ... Read More »

This Place Is For The Birds!

Photos by Bob McConville
A Least Tern rests on Tigertail Beach, pretty well camouflaged among the sand and shells.

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist   Join Bob on July 20th at 7 PM for more details about some of our area birds. This talk will take place at the Marco Island Historical Society’s Auditorium. On May 12th Bob gave a presentation about our birdlife and it was so well received that Part 2 was requested. Admission is free ... Read More »

Dual Threats to Shorebirds on Sand Dollar Island

Submitted Photos

Submitted On the plus side, the count on the shorebird nursery on Sand Dollar Island is higher than last year’s. Chicks are skittering everywhere taking cover from the hot sun. According to the Collier Shorebird Stewards, by around this time last year, the crows had wiped out the nesting colony and the birds departed without producing a single chick. It ... Read More »

Gopher Tortoises in Distress

A gopher tortoise is no match to this heavy pile driver. Photos by Maria Lamb

By Maria Lamb   The construction of an 8-foot wide sidewalk along the 1.1 miles on South Barfield Drive from San Marco Road south to Inlet Drive is in progress. The portion from South Barfield turning east to Inlet is a section of the Estates area with a very high population of gopher tortoises. These are the lucky ones! Credit ... Read More »

A Dolphin Update

Mom Sintas keeps guard over her new calf, J. Fireball, last November.

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist      Everybody loves dolphins. Most people taking nature trips in South Florida want to see one of two things…dolphins or alligators. We’ll forget about the ‘gators today and talk about the other favorite in our area for a mid-year update. On board the Dolphin Explorer you not only get to see dolphins, but ... Read More »

A Note From Mary Kelly Nelson,

Photo Courtesy of NOAA

Environmental Specialist, Collier County Sea Turtle Protection: We have received reports this week that there have been people on the beach at night with red headband lights looking for and disturbing nesting sea turtles.  Please remind your residents, renters and guests that flashlights, including red filter, flash photos and getting within 100’ of a sea turtle is not allowed. It is considered harassment and ... Read More »

Technology and Nature Keep Rookery Bay’s Marine Life Healthy & Happy

Photo by Dave Graff
Flounder often cover themselves with sand, leaving only their eyes exposed.

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson June is National Aquarium Month and some exciting things are happening in the watery world at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Located between Naples and Marco Island, the 16,500 square-foot center features a two-story exhibit hall and was developed to serve as an interactive gateway into the 110,000-acre Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The center’s exhibits, ... Read More »

A Great Migration in the Water

Submitted Photo
Leatherback sea turtles can reach 6 feet in length, weigh up to 2,000 pounds and dive more than 4,000 feet below the surface.

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist Last month I wrote about one of the great land migrations that takes place on our planet. It wasn’t so much about the long distance of the pattern, but more about the sheer number of animals that participate in this annual trek across Africa’s Serengeti Plain. There are constant comings and goings throughout the year ... Read More »

Great Migration of the World

A least tern flies over its nest on Tigertail Beach. Its cousin, the Arctic tern, will migrate up to 44,000 miles each year! Photo by Bob McConville

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist Planet Earth is on the move! Every day, somewhere around the globe, some type of animal is on a migration route. Whether the need be food, water, warmth or finding a mate, there is a constant pattern of motion on our planet. Let’s talk about the migration of the largest number of land animals. This ... Read More »

Mangroves…Florida’s “Walking Trees”

Photos by Bob McConville
Mangrove trees in the background, a great egret prepares to land in search of a meal.

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist  Take a boat ride through Rookery Bay and you will see them. Head the other direction towards Florida Bay and, undoubtedly, they are prominent. Just walk to Tigertail Lagoon here on Marco and they can’t be missed. Mangrove trees are everywhere! Worldwide there are more than 50 species of mangrove trees. Here in Florida ... Read More »

Sea Turtles Cry Foul Over Dredging Project

Sand Dollar spit creeping slowly to Hideaway Beach will be removed. The area will be dredged to a depth of 9 feet.

Submitted Loggerhead sea turtles, nesting shorebirds and assorted marine life will become collateral damage from the Marco Central beach hydraulic dredging project just getting started at Hideaway Beach. As dredging starts, female loggerhead turtles are navigating their way into our beaches this month through the end of October. Project Detail: At its March 21st meeting, the Marco Island City Council ... Read More »

Birds Among the Mangroves

A year-round Florida resident, this Limpkin was recently seen feeding along Collier Boulevard.

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane! It’s a visitor from another planet! Wait a minute…it’s a bird. As some of our winter, feathered friends have left the Marco Island area, others are arriving to join our year-round residents. The white pelicans that were seen in the Tigertail Lagoon and ... Read More »

Marco’s Busy Spring

The soft, tilled sand is inviting to this family playing on the beach.

OUR ISLAND ECOLOGY By Chadd Chustz This spring, so much has happened here on Marco Island to remind us that we are stewards of our environment and nature’s inhabitants. Manatee Release  The manatee (identified as RSW1523) was rehabilitated at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa after being rescued on September 28, 2015, for watercraft related injuries in Roberts Bay. It ... Read More »

White Tailed Deer Around Marco Island

B11-CBN-04-15-16-1

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist You are on a boat and in the distance you notice something swimming across the bay. It could very well be a pelican just relaxing on the surface or maybe a dolphin coming up for air. But the silhouette against the sun is unique. You grab your binoculars, filled with curiosity about what is there. ... Read More »

Marco’s Newest Resident

Calusa soars high over the nest area.

Submitted  Paleo and Calusa are the proud parents of a healthy 6-10 week old eaglet. They are proud to let all residents of their adopted home, Marco Island, know that they will be very busy for a while, tending to the duties of new parents. This little guy has a voracious appetite and does not like to go hungry. Both ... Read More »

Gentle Giant Release

Photos by Samantha Husted
Following her full recovery from brevetoxicosis, this manatee is ready to be released.

By Samantha Husted sam@coastalbreezenews.com On April 7th, Rookery Bay in congruence with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo released a manatee on Shell Island Road in Naples. The manatee in question was a 1,000-pound female who was rescued back in January after falling critically ill due to the effects of red tide, or harmful ... Read More »

Tis the Season…Two Aquatic Friends Return

B4-CBN-04-01-16-12

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist On Wednesday, April 13th at 7 PM join Bob McConville at the Rose Auditorium for a discussion about the sea turtles and manatees found in our area. Meet special guest, Master Naturalist Nancy Anderson, a manatee specialist. MIHS members and MIA students are free. A $5 donation is requested for all others. Ah, the first ... Read More »

Comments Sought on Oil & Gas Survey

NationalParkServiceLogo

Submitted  The National Park Service is seeking public comment related to scientific or technical information that would aid in the agency reaching a decision on a revised Environmental Assessment (EA) analyzing the environmental impacts of a proposed oil and gas seismic survey by Burnett Oil Co. in Big Cypress National Preserve. This EA is a revision of the EA released ... Read More »