Sunday , September 21 2014
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Tag Archives: Rookery Bay

Butterfly Gardening in Florida

Monarch butterflies. photoS BY MIKE MALLOY

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy [email protected] It’s summer in Florida. It’s hot, and the butterflies are in full swing. Florida has a year-round butterfly season because of the usually warm weather, much to the delight of all those crazed butterfly enthusiasts living here in Southwest Florida. Some migrate in the winter like Sulfurs (yellow butterflies) and monarchs, but many stay here and flourish. I am going to write a six-part series on the butterflies of Florida. Starting with the Monarchs — probably the most recognized butterfly in the country. Monarchs, Queens and Soldiers, all are in the Danas genius, and their ... Read More »

Conservancy of Southwest Florida 2014 Red Snook Tournament set for Oct. 24-26

An angler participates in the 2013 RedSnook Tournament to benefit Conservancy of Southwest Florida water quality and gamefish research initiatives.

This year’s tournament features lower entry fees, new kayak division and honorary chair Oliver White The 2014 RedSnook Catch and Release Charity Tournament will be held Oct. 24-26, and supports the water quality protection and gamefish research conducted by Conservancy of Southwest Florida. New this year is the kayak fishing division, which has become increasingly popular in Southwest Florida for recreational fishing. Anglers will enjoy lower entry fees than in years past.  Also new this year is the honorary chair, Oliver White.  White is a famed salt water fly fisher and entrepreneur. Brands from Costa Sunglasses to G. Loomis have endorsed ... Read More »

US Coast Guard Auxiliary Celebrates 75 Years

Flotilla 95 coxswains kept boaters and racers safe during the recent MIYC Regatta. SUBMITTED PHOTO

By Noelle H. Lowery [email protected] On June 23, 1939, the United States Congress authorized the act founding the Coast Guard Reserve as an organization of civilian volunteers to promote boating safety and to augment the local activities of US Coast Guard. It was a non-military service composed of unpaid, volunteer U.S. citizens who owned motorboats or yachts. Two years later, Congress amended the 1939 act with passage of the Auxiliary and Reserve Act of 1941. Passage of this act designated the Reserve as a military branch of the active service, while the civilian volunteers, formerly referred to as the Coast ... Read More »

Kids Free Fridays at Rookery Bay


Submitted The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting its annual summer program, “Kids FREE Fridays,” at its Environmental Learning Center through Aug. 1. This summer education program provides free admission for children ages 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult (up to 5 children per adult). Educators will present a different topic each week following a central theme around the rookery. Lunch will be available for purchase from 11 AM-1 PM. June 6 and July 11: Water Let’s begin building a Rookery! We will have to start with water, the most important part of this habitat. ... Read More »

Rookery Bay Nets 15-foot Sawfish


Submitted March 7 was a big day for Rookery Bay Reserve Fisheries Biologist Pat O’Donnell and his volunteers. The team captured three endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) in Fakahatchee Bay while out on its monthly shark monitoring and tagging program. The biggest — a female measuring nearly 15 feet — is the largest sawfish captured by Rookery Bay since May 2000. It is no secret that many species of shark come into shallow, protected estuarine bays of the Ten Thousand Islands to give birth to their young. These back bays provide young sharks with plenty of food and protection from ... Read More »

“I Heart Estuaries” Campaign

The “I Heart Estuaries” campaign is an effort to show Congress and the Administration that there is a LOT of love for estuaries and to let our leaders know that protecting estuaries means protecting our future! We hope that this effort will raise awareness of the importance of estuaries and secure support for funding key programs that will help protect our them. If protecting estuaries like Rookery Bay is important to you, please join us in this movement and send a letter of your support to our state leaders! Thank you for supporting Rookery Bay by considering being a part of the “I Heart Estuaries” campaign. For more info ... Read More »

Bougainvillea — Kaleidoscope of Color


PLANT TALK Mike Malloy [email protected] Native to Brazil, Bougainvillea is truly one of the showiest shrubs we have during the fall and winter months here in South Florida. Its spectacular color comes from its heart-shaped papery bracts. The tiny flower itself is usually white and located in the center of the colorful bract. A sprawling shrub with long thorny branches, Bougainvillea is commonly mistaken as a vine. Unfortunately, it lacks the tendrils that allow it to attach itself onto fixed objects. Bougainvillea’s come in a myriad of colors, including orange, pink, purple, red and white. Bougainvillea begin blooming after the ... Read More »

Crotons: Colorful Indoor or Outdoor Plants

Gold Dust Croton

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy [email protected] Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum) were used years ago to decorate East Coast Florida hotel lobbies, as flower arrangements and planted extensively in Florida landscapes for their beautiful tropical color. They come in a kaleidoscope of colors: yellows, pinks, reds, greens, rusts and an occasionally purple and black. They also come in a multitude of leaf sizes and shapes. Flowers of the Crotons are small in size and are secondary to the more ornate colorful leaves. Crotons make wonderful year round colorful container or landscape plants without a lot work. Popular in the 1940s and 1950s, the Croton ... Read More »

Giving back to wildlife, our way of life

Friends of the Fakahatchee Tram Tours. SUBMITTED photo

PROTECTING & PRESERVING Nancy Richie [email protected] As the rest of the country is shoveling snow, commuting dangerously on icy roadways and bundling up in scarves and coats, we are walking the sunny Marco Island crescent beach in flip-flops or even barefoot, gift shopping in shorts and t-shirts and asking for an iced peppermint latte to cool off. What a wonderful time of year! Most of us, if not all of us, live and visit here for the beauty and wildlife life that is just out our backdoors. From boating, fishing, beachcombing, tennis, golf to just our easy way of living ... Read More »

What’s lurking in your Garden

Datura Devils Trumpet

PLANT TALK Mike Malloy [email protected] Are there dangerous plants lurking in your garden? That pretty flower or leaf, or even the colorful bark you’ve been admiring, may cause redness, itching, blisters or even death! Because many tropical plants are toxic, those of us in South Florida have to be knowledgeable about selecting safe plants for our gardens. And, if children and/or pets frequent your garden, then you need to be extra vigilant of what’s growing out there. I’m going to first dispel the age-old assumption that the Poinsettia plant is poisonous. It’s not. It was proven in a well-known university ... Read More »

Rookery Bay Welcomes New Staff

Kevin Cunniff. Julie Drevenkar. Submitted Photos

By Natalie Strom [email protected] Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is more than just a great place to enjoy one’s day and learn about our areas ecosystems. Guest speakers, art exhibitions and outdoor exploration are all a part of the great experience that is RBNERR. The facility’s main focus, however, is on research. Research staff study myriad subjects within the 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters protected by the reserve, including water salinity, mangrove health, fish sampling and much more. As such, RBNERR is always looking for qualified scientists to assist and coordinate in said research. This is where ... Read More »

Caring for Holiday Plants after the Holidays

Christmas Cactus.

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pilcherrima) is probably the best known holiday plant. In the past years they have hybridized this plant into many different colors, but I still believe red is the most popular. I have been asked hundreds of times how to care for them after the holidays so they will bloom next year. The price of poinsettias are so reasonable that most end up in the garbage after the holidays and new ones are bought next year. But if you’re like me, as I hate to see any plant being thrown away, here’s what you have to do to ... Read More »

Rookery Bay Programs


By Joan Kelly Manatees, unique mammals that inhabit the waters of Southwest Florida, are the subject of one program offered at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The thoroughly enjoyable presentation was given by Captain Nancy Anderson. Even long time residents will learn new and important concepts about these endangered creatures. Rookery Bay members have the opportunity to learn more about local habitat and environment throughout the week in the learning center. Numerous educational and entertaining presentations are also offered. To find out more about this program calendar log on to or call 239-417-6310.   Read More »

Vines of Southwest Florida


PLANT TALK Mike Malloy [email protected] There are many flowering vines that do well here in Southwest Florida. You can grow them on an arbor, a trellis or a fence; you can also let them climb up one of your least favorite trees. There are three different types of vines. Climbing vines use tendrils or small roots to attach themselves. Example: Passion Vine. Twining Vines use new growth, twining upward to encircle a structure such as a tree or pole. If you want to help them along remember that they usually twine themselves counter clockwise, following the earth’s rotation. If you ... Read More »

Butterfly Time of the Year


PLANT TALK Mike Malloy [email protected] May is here and what does that mean? Summer time in Florida is upon us. But it is also the start of the full blown butterfly season. In Southwest Florida we have a year-round butterfly season, while numbers of butterflies like Monarchs and Yellow Sulfurs will migrate, many of the same and others stay in South Florida and prosper year round, much to the delight of all those crazed butterfly enthusiasts living here. In spring, summer and fall the numbers of these little flying flowers rise dramatically because the temperatures are warm – just like ... Read More »

Hummingbirds return in winter


Years ago, when I began my quest to attract butterflies to my garden, little did I know that butterfly gardening came with a bonus! After years of removing turf grass from my yard and replacing it with colorful flowering plants to attract wildlife, particularly butterflies, I now no longer have any grass left to mow. During the past couple of fall seasons, I’ve been seeing numerous hummingbirds competing for nectar with our year-round friends, the butterflies. This is such a great thrill! It started a few years ago, with one or two hummingbirds arriving every once in a while. Today, ... Read More »

Honoring National Everglades Day


By Natalie Strom [email protected] In honor of the Second Annual National Everglades Day, April 6th, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR) was ready to throw a party. Just last year the date was chosen as it is the birthday of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, a champion of the Everglades, known best for her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass.” She was at the forefront of the fight towards redefining the Everglades as a treasured river rather than a useless swamp. Much has been learned about “The River of Grass” since Douglas wrote the book in 1947, but the devastation to ... Read More »

Florida’s Kaleidoscope of Color: Bougainvillea


Native to Brazil, Bougainvillea is truly one of the showiest shrubs we have during the fall and winter months here in South Florida. Its spectacular color comes from its heart-shaped papery bracts. The tiny flower itself is usually white and located in the center of the colorful bract. A sprawling shrub with long thorny branches, Bougainvillea is commonly mistaken as a vine. Unfortunately, it lacks the tendrils that allow it to attach itself onto fixed objects. Bougainvilleas come in myriad colors including orange, pink, purple, red and white. Bougainvilleas begin blooming after the rainy season; when the length of days ... Read More »

Rookery Celebrates Batfish


“Scientists from around the world have come to Rookery Bay to study the batfish. They are a relatively little known species worldwide,” explains Renee Wilson of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. A bottom feeding fish with fins that help it “walk” across the sea floor, it uses an “esca” or fake lure attached to its forehead (think “Finding Nemo”) to lure fish for food. Chosen for its rather rare worldwide status, but found frequently in the waters of the Reserve, the batfish is the mascot of the Friends of Rookery Bay’s annual fundraiser. The Fourth Annual Batfish Bash for ... Read More »

Rookery Bay Hosts Juried Photo Exhibit

Collaboration is a beautiful thing, especially when it gives people a chance to see beautiful things. The United Arts Council of Collier County has teamed up with Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for the “Seventh Annual Florida Juried Photography Exhibit.” The exhibit runs through March 21st, at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. “Close to 100 entries from 62 photographers were received,” explained Elaine Hamilton, Executive Director of the United Arts Council. All photographs entered represented either flora or fauna of Florida’s unique landscape. Twenty-five Florida-based photographers were chosen by internationally acclaimed photographer and juror for the show, Clyde ... Read More »