An amazing world exists only 15 minutes (by car) from downtown Naples. Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands, rivers and streams meet the sea at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Stretching across 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands, and protected waters and encompassing up to 40 percent of the Collier County coastline, this vital estuarine habitat is home to myriad wildlife, including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals.
The reserve is a national treasure committed to preservation through research, education, and land protection. It is also home to the environmental learning center, a two-story, 16,500-square-foot facility with four research laboratories, classrooms, and a 140-seat auditorium, offering a variety of hands-on experiences and exhibits.
During the month of February, the reserve is offering lectures and workshops that help capture the beauty and art in nature. Learn how to take the best pictures possible and understand your digital camera’s features in the Essentials of Digital Photography workshop taught by Sonny Saunders on February 18.
The 2023 lunch and learn lecture series focuses on key conservation projects occurring at the reserve; on February 8 the discussion, led by Rookery Bay biologists and researchers, will address fisheries. On February 9, spend a morning painting the beauty of coastal Naples and the wildlife of estuary waters in a watercolor painting class on manatees with local artist Jan Deswick.
If you would rather learn from home, take part in a one-and-a-half-hour Zoom session on February 22 on how to identify birds and their amazing migratory journeys.