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Tag Archives: nature

Whoa, the Dreaded Words

Bored

Rumination from the Rock and Beyond Jory Westberry As summer progresses, some of your children temporarily unoccupied by arts and crafts camps, drama experiences, nature field trips, organized sports, theme parks or other engaging experiences, may have uttered those dreaded words. “I’m bored.” If you haven’t experienced this declaration from your child or grandchild, you’re exceedingly lucky. I’ll tell you, it pains the heart. Here you are trying to find stimulation for your child(ren) beyond insipid TV and violent video games by researching the local and nearby activities, cross-referencing budgets, timing of events, carpooling options, supervision, whether friends will also ... Read More »

Camp Stellar – Out of this World!

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By Samantha Husted The City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department has created a new camp for middle school aged students. It’s called “Camp Stellar” and it runs Tuesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mackle Park. Camp Stellar was designed specifically to cater towards the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students who have grown too old for Camp Mackle. It puts a strong emphasis on completing summer schoolwork and preparing the children for the upcoming school year. “I had numerous parents contact me before school was ending to enquire as to what they could do ... Read More »

Floral Design, Worms and Summer Camp

From left: teacher Patti Thorsen, Sandra Nava and Marianne Foley. Sandra received a campership scholarship.

Submitted “Young plants and minds growing together” sums up the Junior Gardener’s after-school program under the leadership of the Calusa Garden Club. Tommie Barfield Elementary School: Third, fourth and fifth grade students had fun creating their own floral design using flowers from the Marco Island’s Farmer’s Market. These masterpieces were recently displayed at the Calusa Garden Club’s annual flower show in March. Worms are also a top favorite for the young students – the red wriggler kind. Each year the students prepare a home for the worms in a plastic tote box using shredded newspapers, wet peat moss, some vegetable ... Read More »

Photography by Canoe

Ron Rutledge, Kathryn Hunt, and Pat Rutledge, of the MIHS.

Submitted  Nature photographer Connie Mier told her admirers at a recent reception and lecture hosted by the Marco Island Historical Society that she “loves taking pictures of birds,” and she certainly works hard to get them. Along with a large assortment of cameras and lenses, Mier has found one other piece of equipment equally indispensable for her photographs—her canoe. Mier often spends days at a time exploring pristine estuaries in the Everglades, Biscayne Bay and other areas in Southern Florida by canoe, camping whenever necessary so as to capture just the right shot. As a result, her photographs offer unusual ... Read More »

9th Annual ?Amateur Wildlife ?Photo Contes

“Me and My Shadow” – Photographer James Hobbs

Submitted  The 2016 City of Marco Island Amateur Wildlife Photo Contest has come to a close, leaving us with a look at nature through different lenses. The creative talent of Marco’s amateur photographers is abundantly clear in their images, as is the beauty of Southwest Florida’s flora and fauna. Despite this year’s late contest start, it did not deter photographers from submitting some amazing photos. The contest drew more than 50 entries from local talent. Their photographs celebrate the native wildlife unique to our area. Judging was certainly a challenge for judges Donna Kay, Barry Howe, Andrea Cooper and Pat ... Read More »

Mier Photography Exhibit

Photo by Connie Mier

Submitted  “Wild and Remote: Photographing South Florida by Canoe,” a collection of photographs by artist Connie Mier, is currently on exhibit at the Marco Island Historical Museum through July 26, 2016. Connie Mier is a wildlife and nature photographer who derives inspiration from her canoe explorations of the Everglades and Biscayne Bay. She often spends days at a time canoeing and camping in the Everglades to photograph some of the most remote wilderness areas in Florida. As a result, her photographs offer a rare glimpse of these beautiful places, as seen from a canoe. “I have chosen to go deep into the ... Read More »

Amateur Wildlife Photo Contest

Submitted  There is still time to enter the Ninth Annual Amateur Wildlife Photo Contest, but don’t delay – the deadline is May 6th – just around the corner. The Marco Island Historical Museum has partnered with the City of Marco Island and the Coastal Breeze News to present the Ninth Annual Amateur Photo Contest highlighting our area’s unique flora and fauna. The selection of winners will be exhibited at the museum from May 13 to June 30, 2016. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and what began as a celebration of Earth Day has grown into a photographic tribute to the beautiful ... 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 was great to see this “little guy” being released back into the waters of the 10,000 Islands by the FWC at Caxambas Boat Launch Park on Marco Island. Read more about another manatee release in this issue of Coastal Breeze ... Read More »

The Pull of the Moon

Photo by Laurie Kasperbauer
The full moon sets over the Gulf at an early morning Beach Yoga class

MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT Laurie Kasperbauer lkasperbauer@gmail.com She is our moon. Our tidal pull. She is the rich deep beneath the sea, the buried treasure, the expression in the owl’s eye, the perfume in the wild rose. She is what the water says when it moves. – Patricia A. McKillip The moon. Most of us have gazed at it on a clear night. Maybe even marveled at its changing shape, created by shadows and illumination. Some blame it for changes in mood or behavior. And a chosen few have walked atop its desolate surface, staring back at the Earth, tiny and ... Read More »

2016 City of Marco Island Amateur Wildlife Photo Contest

PHOTO BY TONY SMITH

By Coastal Breeze News Staff This is the ninth year the City of Marco Island will hold its amateur photo contest highlighting our area’s unique flora and fauna. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and what began as a celebration of Earth Day has grown into a photographic tribute to the beautiful Southwest Florida area in which we live. It’s a great competition if you’re a nature lover, a photography aficionado, or you “accidentally” captured that perfect shot. The photo contest begins now and runs through May 6th. You can enter up to four times in varying ... Read More »

Local Gem

One of the ponds at Freedom Park surrounded by Florida flora. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber The joy of discovering someplace new doesn’t always have to involve a long car, train, ship, or plane ride. In the past, I’ve written a few columns on some of the wondrous places right in our own backyard including Shark Valley, Loop Road, and Bird Swamp Rookery. Following all of the rain we had earlier this year, a friend and I set out to hike through Picayune Strand State Forest. As we feared, the ground was too saturated to walk on and another option we explored was also too wet. We then decided to head for ... Read More »

Cuba: From the Beach to the Mountains

The beach at Playa Ancón. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Trinidad, Cuba, featured in my last column, is situated between the Caribbean Sea to the south and the Escambray Mountains to the north. Our visit to Trinidad afforded us the opportunity to see both while staying at an all-inclusive resort. While it may not be held in as high esteem as the popular northern Cuban beach resorts of Varadero, Guardalavaca and Cayo Coco, we thought Playa Ancón was very attractive. A strip of land extending out into the Caribbean, Playa Ancón was developed after the 1959 revolution. Two and a half miles long, the off-white beach ... Read More »

Marco’s Magnificent Estuaries

A green heron hides among the mangroves to surprise an unsuspecting fish.

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 from nature. The Gulf of Mexico lines our western border while fresh water flows from the inland regions to form a very magical combination. This is called an “estuary.” There are quite a few bays and lagoons in our area ... Read More »

Minto: Best in American Living

Entry to The Isles of Collier Preserve: More than half of The Isles’ lands are dedicated to natural habitat and preserve areas.

Submitted The Isles of Collier Preserve in Naples, by Minto Communities, received a prestigious Silver Award at the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) for “Best Mixed Community.” Minto is one of only three recipients to be recognized in this category in the entire country. Winners were announced on January 20 at the 2016 International Builder Show in Las Vegas. The Best in American Living Awards is the nation’s premier award program, continually redefining design excellence for the entire residential building industry. It spotlights the most creative and innovative builders, remodelers, architects, residential and building designers, developers, land planners and ... Read More »

Perfect Shots: Officer Frank Steiger

Frank Steiger’s dedication to his art is
evident in this shot of an alligator’s face;
To accomplish, Frank hid in tall grass a
mere 6 feet away from the predator. PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANK STEIGER

By Coastal Breeze News Staff Many of the beautiful images of nature that grace the cover of Coastal Breeze News were shot by local photographer Frank Steiger. Frank is widely known throughout Southwest Florida, having photographed innumerable Marco Island weddings and events. He is often seen, camera in tow, volunteering his time and talent at the many community events for Christmas Island Style, the Marco Island Police Foundation, and other non-profit groups. But some of our readers who have enjoyed Frank’s photographs for years may not know that Frank is also a Marco Island police officer. Frank first joined the ... Read More »

Come Experience the Everglades

Submitted Join us for a ride in the Everglades! This year the 9th Annual Everglades Bike Ride will be held earlier, on March 13, to accommodate our winter residents. Cyclists will have an opportunity to experience the ride of their choice, at their own pace. In addition to the bicycle ride, all participants will be provided a continental breakfast beginning at 7:30 AM, free bike repairs compliments of Bikes for Tykes of Naples, SAG support for the ride, tour of the historic Smallwood Store Museum in Chokoloskee, and a seafood lunch with a special treat of homemade desserts including calamondin ... Read More »

FIDDLIN’ AROUND

PHOTO BY SUSAN KUBAT

By Kevin Kubat Conservancy Volunteer It’s a warm, sunny day. You decide to visit Tigertail Beach, and when you get there, it’s low tide. You look to the north, toward Hideaway Beach, and you see what appears to be a red carpet covering the sands. A special sort of carpet, as it’s constantly in motion. As you get closer, the carpet suddenly disappears, and you realize that the illusion of a carpet was created by the massing of hundreds of fiddler crabs which have scurried into their burrows as you approached. If you remain very still, the crabs will eventually ... Read More »

Minto’s “The Isles of Collier Preserve” Named Master-Planned Community of the Year; Celebrates Highly Anticipated Grand Opening of The Isles Club

SUBMITTED PHOTOS

The Isles Club, the new clubhouse and amenity center at The Isles of Collier Preserve, is celebrating its grand opening with a public celebration. On Saturday, January 23rd from 12-4 PM, come experience this latest addition to the one-of-a-kind lifestyle offered at The Isles of Collier Preserve in the brand new clubhouse overlooking the sparkling Cypress Waterway. The design of the 16,500 square-foot Isles Club was inspired by the charming coastal cottage style of the original Naples Beach Hotel built in 1888. The Isles Club is distinguished by a stylized cupola and large awning-shaded front porch, and will be the ... Read More »

Discovering Your Way: How We Learn From Nature

Lee Memorial Hospital staff participates in a leadership exercise. PHOTOS BY BOB MCCONVILLE

STEPPING STONES Bob McConville Master Naturalist Humans…the dominant species on the planet. We have evolved to a point that we don’t have to rely on other animals for our own wellbeing. We’ve gone from being hunters to farmers to producers of artificial substitutes for food. We’ve domesticated other species to provide nourishment for ourselves. Our social structure now demands that we depend on each other to maintain a sense of community, a balance among ourselves. Skills and instincts that we once had are now less valued. There is a hierarchy of managers, middle managers and laborers now, and the relationships among ... Read More »

Sunshine Fiber Art Exhibit

Submitted Now through February 2016, the fabulous and colorful fiber art of Isle of Capri artist Joanna Sunshine will be both on exhibit and for sale. A percentage of her sales will go to the Marco Island Center for the Arts. The Marco Island Public Library works cooperatively with the Marco Island Center for the Arts to present art shows, such as this one, to the Marco Island community. More than 50 years ago Joanna acquired her first loom, or rather pieces of a loom discovered in a junkyard. Since then there have been floor looms, table looms, back strap ... Read More »