Saturday, June 23, 2018

Celebrating Marco’s Wildlife


Jon and Suzan Busch, Linda Turner and Dr. Gerald Swiacki. Photos by Maria Lamb

Jon and Suzan Busch, Linda Turner and Dr. Gerald Swiacki. Photos by Maria Lamb

Marco Island turned 20 on August 28, 2017, and what better way to commemorate its 20th anniversary than to also celebrate its wildlife.

People visit Marco Island for its pristine beaches and proximity to wildlife. We have it all. From the charismatic burrowing owls, to the prehistoric gopher tortoises that populate vacant lots in the Estates area, to the loggerhead sea turtles that come ashore from June to Au- gust to lay their eggs, to the gentle manatees that enjoy our warm waters. Marco Island is blessed with an abundance of wildlife.

Celebrating Marco’s wildlife comes with a sense of duty to protect and preserve these great gifts for future generations to come. It is a call for all of us to get involved, to inspire and to forge a world where wildlife is celebrated not just once in 20 years, but everyday. The sad truth is that as we celebrate our wildlife, the gopher tortoises on our island are experiencing a dramatic drop in their population due to vehicle strikes; burrowing owls are losing their habitats to an island construction boom; manatees are encountering polluted canal waters, and sea turtles come ashore disoriented by bright lights on the beach.

J.J. Stinchcomb, artist commissioned by the City of Marco Island to create the Celebrate Wildlife banners for its 20th Anniversary celebration.

J.J. Stinchcomb, artist commissioned by the City of Marco Island to create the Celebrate Wildlife banners for its 20th Anniversary celebration.

It is up to all of us to raise awareness to the benefits of having these wildlife amongst us. It is what makes out little island paradise unique.

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