Environment

Birds Among the Mangroves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

Give Space to Nesting Shorebirds

Submitted Shorebird nesting season is underway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds beachgoers to watch out for and to avoid disturbing birds and their young. Shorebirds build shallow nests out of sand and shells on beaches in spring and summer, hatching chicks that are difficult to see. Shorebird ... Read More »

The 2015 Sea Turtle Scoreboard

By Kathy Worley, Conservancy of Southwest Florida Director of Environmental Science Great news, like my favorite football team the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50, sea turtles were a winner last year as their nesting numbers are trending upward! I recently attended the sea turtle permit holders meeting in Jacksonville, where basically a lot of people gather to talk turtles ... Read More »

Boaters – Look Out for Manatees

Submitted Taking their cues from the warm spring weather, Florida manatees have begun leaving their winter retreats and heading north along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and through inland waters. So if you’re a boater enjoying spring days on the water, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions you to look out for manatees and follow posted manatee ... Read More »

Sandbar Closed For Nesting Season

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Audubon Florida, has closed the emergent sandbar located one mile southeast of Cape Romano, known as “Second Chance.” The sandbar, which is closed to public access annually from March 1 – August 31, was designated as ... Read More »

Baby Gator Time at Briggs Boardwalk

By Bob Schulteis Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer   We are enjoying watching (at a distance) seven baby gators born to Smiley, our resident gator, on the big pond at Briggs. Baby alligators, when born, are usually 6–8 inches in length. They grow about one foot a year for the first five or so years, although each year’s growth rate ... Read More »

Pythons and Gators and Crocs, Oh My!

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist   Join Bob on March 8th at 7 PM at the Marco Island Historical Society’s (MIHS) Rose Auditorium for a presentation about the 2016 Python Challenge results and an update on area dolphin activity. Also, there will be a baby gator and baby crocodile on hand so you can compare the differences of the two ... Read More »

International “Sharkman” Wows MIA Students

By Bob McConville, Master Naturalist Great white sharks. For some, those three words cause the hairs on the back of the neck to stand on end. Others will get goosebumps. But for a select few it means it is time to go to work. Such is the case with Chris Fischer. Recently Mr. Fischer donated his time to educate students ... Read More »

LAUNCH OF AUDUBON BURROWING OWL WATCH PROJECT ON MARCO ISLAND: Public Invited to Special Presentation and Training

Audubon of the Western Everglades (AWE) announces a new project called Burrowing Owl Watch, to monitor and protect Marco Island’s imperiled, state-listed Burrowing Owl population. On Saturday, March 5, from 9:00 – 10:30am at Rookery Bay Reserve, 300 Tower Road, Naples, a special presentation on Burrowing Owl Natural History will be given by Nancy Richie, former Environmental Specialist for Marco ... Read More »

Discover Pepper Ranch Preserve

Submitted Conservation Collier is offering free, guided hikes led by master naturalists at selected Pepper Ranch Preserve trails on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, April 23. Pepper Ranch Preserve is a 2,512-acre Conservation Collier preserve property that was acquired with the goals of protecting and restoring the native habitats for the benefit of wildlife, providing aquifer recharge, and to provide ... Read More »

Marco’s Magnificent Estuaries

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist Ah, the beauty of those small islands surrounding Marco! Everyone wants to visit them, to see what hides among the roots and branches. Whether you get out by boat, kayak, an ecotour or paddleboard, they are a treasure to behold. The wide array of animals and plants in this area requires some very special adaptations ... Read More »

Down Close and Personal

By Bill Rhodes, Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer Visitors to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida love the electric boats, effortlessly gliding along the backwater estuary and into the Gordon River, with captains eager to share insights while pointing out interesting local trees and animals. What many may not know is that the Conservancy also offers kayak tours guided by trained naturalists, ... Read More »

International Support for Mangrove Restoration

COASTAL CONNECTIONS Renee Wilson renee.wilson@dep.state.fl.us The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is partnering with China’s Rilin Group to help restore 225 acres of mangroves in Collier County. The industrial group has committed $5 million to restore and monitor the mangrove forest at Fruit Farm Creek within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR). RBNERR and its partners have been researching ... Read More »

The Original Snowbirds…White Pelicans

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist It is estimated that humans have been in the Florida region for more than 14,000 years. Naples became a destination point just over 100 years ago and Marco Island was a mosquito-infested area until development escalated in the 1950s. Long before northern tourists began visiting our beaches to seek refuge from the winter cold there ... Read More »