Sunday , October 4 2015
Home » Environment (page 2)


Do Not Disturb Nesting Sea Turtles


Submitted Sea turtles have begun nesting attempts in the area. Good time to post a few reminders about proper sea turtle etiquette. It can be thrilling to watch a sea turtle crawl onto the beach at night and dig a large hole in the sand to lay dozens of eggs. Just remember that “Do not disturb” is the best behavior to follow when observing a nesting sea turtle. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asks people not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles. Spring is the beginning of sea ... Read More »

Our SwampLife is Wild…

Barbara Johnson shows her appreciation for our wild life.

By Steve Gimmestad Literally, just outside our doors is a world foreign to many; a vast wetlands we call the Everglades. Thanks to Bob McConville, this world becomes a little less unknown. Bob is a Master Naturalist and shared some insight with us on April 23rd at the Rose History Auditorium. Through pictures, stories and fun facts, Bob let us know quite a bit about the wildlife around us. The breadth of his knowledge is vast and there is so much to impart about his talk. We have limited space here so let’s explore just a few of these ... Read More »

Share the Shore with Beach-Nesting Birds


By Renee Wilson    Southwest Florida has long been considered one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation. Beautiful weather, amazing beaches, and breathtaking wildlife attract thousands of visitors and new residents to our area each year. From April through August, three species of beach-nesting birds also visit Marco area beaches for their nesting habitat. Nesting locations include the sand bar at Caxambas Pass, Sand Dollar Island, Tigertail Beach, and beaches within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve such as Keewaydin Island, Kice Island, and Cape Romano shoals. Least terns and black skimmers nest together in mixed ... Read More »

Our Yard is a Wildlife Habitat


By Joan and Carl Kelly We have always loved plants and gardening. Never thought highly of grass, though. So, gradually, as we worked our yard, adding flowering and fruit bearing plants, our grass yard got smaller and the favored plants took over. With that change in vegetation also came a change in animal residents. We know of two black racers and a red rat snake who live in our yard. A red bellied woodpecker family resided here last year, and a cardinal visits us regularly for water. Palm warblers sing from the branches of our lemon tree. There are also ... Read More »

A Sanctuary For Wildlife In The ‘Glades’


By Bob McConville Master Naturalist Okay, we all know that alligators, panthers and bears can be found in their natural habitats of the Big Cypress Swamp and Everglades National Park, just 30 minutes from Marco Island. Some of us are aware that crocodiles, river otters and several other unique species can also be found there. But, wait! Did I just see a tiger and a lion in this area? You bet!!! Just past the intersection of U.S. 41 and Route 29, about 2 miles east, is Wooten’s Airboat rides. Under new ownership by the Patel family for less than 2 ... Read More »

Bird Rookery Swamp


By Vickie Kelber In my quest to explore the wonders that are, as I like to call it, “in our own back yard”, a friend and I set off early one morning for the Bird Rookery Swamp Trail off Immokalee Road. Many of you know of, if not visited Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The Bird Rookery is located adjacent and to the south of this preserve on Shady Hollow Boulevard, about 50 minutes from Marco Island. Open since 2011, Bird Rookery Swamp Trail is part of the South Florida Water Management District’s CREW, Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed. The trail is a ... Read More »

Growing Angraecums: Exotic orchids that thrive in SW Florida


Submitted It’s surprising that most orchid hobbyists in Southwest Florida know very little about Angraecums, especially when the orchids thrive in South Florida’s sub-tropics. The Gulf Coast Orchid Alliance invites you to a presentation by Tom Kuligowski at its “Third Thursday” Member Event on April 16, 2015 at the Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church at 1225 Piper Blvd., Naples, FL 34110 from 6:30–8:30 PM. Guests are welcome at no charge. Angraecums are known for their beautiful showy flowers, some of which give off nocturnal fragrances. The orchids can grow to become fantastic specimen plants within only a few years. They are easy ... Read More »

A Tribute to My Ultimate Dolphin Lover


STEPPING STONES… Bob McConville This is the primary title of the column I write. Typically, a stepping stone is something to help you get from one place to another or from one phase in life to another as well. We have all utilized them. Sometimes they are very obvious to us; very evident. Other times we just happen to stumble upon them. They can be subtle or they can be earth shattering. One thing is for sure…we use them from the day we are born until the time we die. Some of the people who create these pathways leave lasting ... Read More »

Join the “Team”


Coastal Connections Renee Wilson Southwest Florida is a great place to live and play because of the beautiful weather, amazing beaches, and great fishing. Forty percent of Collier County’s coastline is protected within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, with hundreds of boaters visiting on a daily basis. The “Team OCEAN” program at Rookery Bay has a mission to help boaters safely and responsibly enjoy the waters and wilderness around Naples and Marco Island. The boat-based volunteer program got underway at Rookery Bay Reserve in 2007 following a model at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Team OCEAN (Ocean ... Read More »

Manatees Are Back!

A foursome of the endangered mammals 
make their way to warmer waters just under the surface.

By Bob McConville Master Naturalist During the week of March 4th thru the 11th I was fortunate to be on the water every day. In addition to surveying our area dolphins, some other marine and bird life was very noticeable. A few Kemp-Ridley turtles popped their heads up and some of the osprey hatchlings are now several weeks old and growing fast. Arriving from as far away as Brazil on their 10,000 mile round-trip journey, even a few Swallow Tailed Kites were seen. The biggest surprise of all was 5 separate sightings of those lumbering aquatic giants in the Marco ... Read More »

Local Raptor or Migrant?…The Osprey

One of the first Osprey hatchlings made its debut in mid February, 2015.

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist Join Bob On March 9th At The Rose History Auditorium As He Presents “Rock My World: How The Earth’s Movements Effect Migration”. The Program Begins At 7 Pm And Is Open To The Public. Call 389-6447 For Seating Information.   Their distinctive call is unlike any other bird in our area. With a pitch that seems to accelerate with each note, our eyes are drawn to the sky, drawn to view one of nature’s best hunters, the Osprey. These prolific raptors can be seen around Marco Island all year long. But, at this time of ... Read More »

“Discover Tigertail” – Delightful and Educational FOT Event

Dan Orfan - Egg Casings

Submitted Susan Kubat and Fran Huxley, co-chairs of “Discover Tigertail”, organized and executed a delightful and successful Friends of Tigertail Beach event on Saturday, February 21, 2015. “Discovery Tigertail” is a free family program that addresses the marine life and other wildlife that inhabit the Tigertail Beach lagoon. Specialists were from Rookery Bay, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Marco Shell Club. Two hundred participants enjoyed the weather and the expertise of the naturalists manning the nine information stations: shells, egg casings, turtles, butterflies, plants, sharks, birds, seining and wildlife rehabilitation. Both adults and children participated in the scavenger ... Read More »

From Marco To Alaska, Local Female Captain Is Always Busy

A day of plenty. SUBMITTED  PHOTOS

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist I hear a very pleasant “Good morning, Bob” as someone passes by. “Good morning, Captain Jesse.” I reply as she ushers guests to a catamaran for a sailing tour of Marco Island. Yes, I did say “she”. One of the few female captains in the area, Captain Jesse Baughman leads a very active life. From fishing with active duty soldiers, to finishing her college education, to working the salmon run in Bristol Bay, Alaska, she is constantly on the move. In addition to conducting catamaran tours for the Marriott she owns a fishing charter business, ... Read More »

Join Us for “Discover Tigertail”


Submitted Friends of Tigertail Beach is hosting “Discover Tigertail”, February 21, 2015 from 9AM to noon. This is a free family program that addresses the marine life and other wildlife that inhabit the Tigertail Beach lagoon. There will be nine “information stations” spotted around the lagoon. Take part in seining for creatures from the lagoon or enjoy hands-on activities about loggerhead sea turtles, shore birds, sharks, butterflies, plants, seashells and more. Our specialists are from Rookery Bay, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Marco Shell Club. Featured again this year, will be the very popular scavenger hunt, “Question Quest”, enjoyed ... Read More »

Walking Collier

Eagle Lakes Community Park provides excellent habitat  for birds that live on or near water, as well as easy access trails for birders. Egrets, herons, anhinga, and cormorants feed in close proximity to a large alligator. photo by carl kelly

By Carl and Joan Kelly Eagle Lakes Community Park is located on US 41 where Eagle Lakes Drive becomes Barefoot William Road (1 ½ miles west of SR 951 and US 41) there is an animal sanctuary that is part of a community park. The sanctuary is very busy with birds. It has multiple trails encircling three lakes and marshlands. Each trail connects back to the car park. There are also a children’s park, baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, picnic tables, and restrooms. To reach the trails walk past the baseball fields north of the parking lot. At the ... Read More »

A Dolphin Year in Review

Socializing is a major function of our dolphin society. PHOTOS BY BOB MCCONVILLE AND KENT MORSE

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist February 2015 will mark the ninth anniversary of the 10,000 Island Dolphin Survey Team’s work of studying and identifying the bottlenose dolphins that call the Marco Island area their home. In 2014, we were able to recognize five newborn in our waters to go along with five more that turned a year old, seven that turned 2 and 8 that turned 3 years old. Professionally, it has been rewarding to note which adult females gave birth and which dolphins have new siblings. Personally, it has been just good, plain old fun! In the name ... Read More »

Great Horned Owl of Big Cypress

This Great Horned Owl watches from its nest in Big Cypress Swamp. PHOTOS BY BOB MCCONVILLE

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist Raptors…birds of prey. When we think of some of the major hunting birds in South Florida, there are a few that always come to mind. Naturally, everyone watches when a majestic bald eagle soars overhead. Red-shouldered hawks, vultures, ospreys, peregrine falcons and other such creatures also make the grade. One of the fiercest hunters in the area usually misses most top 10 lists — the great horned owl. One of the most common owls in our country, the great horned owl’s range covers most of North and South America, including an active nest in the ... Read More »

Marco Island Celebrates Arbor Day

Tommie Barfield Elementary School 3rd graders sing for the onlookers.

By Noelle H. Lowery Gloomy, overcast skies gave way to beautiful Southwest Florida sunshine on Friday, Jan. 16, just in time for the city of Marco Island’s annual Arbor Day celebration. Sponsored by the city’s Beautification Advisory Committee, this year’s ceremony was held at Mackle Park, and included the planting of a Golden Trumpet tree provided by Affordable Landscaping Services. The brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska journalist and politician, the first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872. According to, Morton felt that Nebraska’s landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees, ... Read More »

Up a Creek at the Nature Festival

The kayak launch point was at the very end a slow, three-mile drive down Shell Island Road, After donning life vests and stashing our valuables, we were helped into our kayaks one by one before our tour.

By Melinda Gray As a reporter, I’m often presented with opportunities to participate in fun local activities; invited to join in some wild adventures; and sometimes even confronted with daunting new challenges. Recently, I was invited to join a two-hour, guided kayaking trip on the morning of Friday, Jan. 16, as part of the Coastal Breeze’s coverage of the 11th Annual Southwest Florida Nature Festival at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. When I agreed to take part in the tour, I was unsure of which category the day’s activity would eventually fall under. Having only kayaked twice in ... Read More »

Everglades Wildlife: Closer than you Think!

Alligator basking in the sun. PHOTOS BY BOB MCCONVILLE

Stepping Stones Bob McConville Master Naturalist Bob will be appearing at the Rose History Auditorium on Jan. 21 to talk more in detail about the birds, reptiles and mammals of this habitat. The program includes a slide show of many photos he has taken and possibly a live animal or two! Start time is 7 PM. Everyone is welcome. MIHS members are free. All others are $5 and proceeds benefit the Marco Island Historical Society.   J.M. Barrie wrote in one of his books about a place far, far away called Neverland. It was a land that prevented people from growing ... Read More »