father and son in kayak
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road. During April, hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Saturday. From May 1 through Oct. 31, the center is closed on Saturdays. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for members, unless otherwise noted for special activities. For more information, call 239-417-6310 or visit rookerybay.org and facebook.com/friendsofrookerybay.
Guided Kayak Tours of Rookery Bay, Henderson Creek and mangrove tunnels. During April, kayak trips will run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday through Friday. From May 1 through Oct. 30, kayak trips will run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday only. Cost is $40/members and $45/non-members and includes kayak, all equipment, paddling instruction and admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center on the day of the tour. Paddlers must be 12 or older. Advanced registration is required at rookerybay.org or 239-417-6310 x401.
Guided Boat Tours during April. Explore the unique Rookery Bay Reserve ecosystem during small boat tours that offer an up-close and personal experience. With a maximum of six passengers, these on-the-water adventures are the only Rookery Bay tours actually conducted by Reserve staff. Dates and times vary. Advanced registration is required at rookerybay.org or 239-417-6310 x401.
NOTE: Boat tours will resume in November.
April 2 through May 1 Collier County Public Schools Art Show
Elementary, middle and high school art students in Collier County present 2-dimensional works on the theme of “Where River Meets Sea” as they learn about an estuary such as Rookery Bay Reserve. Subjects will likely include mangroves, birds, rookeries, beaches, fish, crabs, oysters and seagrass. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place based on artistic knowledge of composition (elements and principles of design), creativity and scientific accuracy to the theme of the show. The awards ceremony takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on April 18.
April 3 (noon to 1 p.m.) – Lunch & Learn Lecture.
Geoff Trager, an alternative energy consultant, will discuss “Free Energy: Myths, Maybes, and Facts.” This discussion will go beyond established sources of clean, green, free energy already known to work – such as solar and wind power – to consider sources on the fringe of leading research, including Earth batteries, electricity from air potatoes, harnessing cosmic rays for power, magnetic “perpetual motion” generators and Tesla coils. Lunch and dessert provided by Carrabba’s and Costco. Lectures are free for members and $8 for non-members Reservations are strongly recommended by calling 417-6310 x401.
April 6 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) – Everglades Day. Enjoy buy-one-get-one free adult admission on this special day in celebration of the Everglades. Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Administrator Gary Lytton will welcome guests at 1 p.m., followed by brief remarks by local dignitaries. From the viewing platform along the Snail Trail, reserve research staff will then demonstrate and discuss their water quality monitoring efforts and how they related to the neighboring Everglades ecosystem. At 2:30, the one-hour nature film documentary Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida will be shown in the auditorium. The reserve’s typical Saturday programs will also be held, including a guided trail walk at 11 a.m. and a naturalist-led Manatee Marvels presentation at 2 p.m.
April 13 (8 a.m. to 12 p.m.) Wing It! A Beginning Birder Workshop
Learn basics of birding, including how to use field guides, plumage, flight patterns, behavior and field marks in bird identification. This class also provides an overview of binocular styles and functions, including adjusting the diopter and other “tricks of the trade.” The classroom session will be followed by a field trip to a nearby park to practice new skills. Cost is $25 for non-members, members $20. Limited to 20, and pre-registration is required by calling 417-6310 x401 or registering online at rookerybay.org.
April 18 (5:30 to 7 p.m.) Collier County Public Schools Art Show Awards Ceremony
Through May 1, elementary, middle and high school art students in Collier County present 2-dimensional works on the theme of “Where River Meets Sea” as they learn about an estuary such as Rookery Bay Reserve. Subjects will likely include mangroves, birds, rookeries, beaches, fish, crabs, oysters and seagrass. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place based on artistic knowledge of composition (elements and principles of design), creativity and scientific accuracy to the theme of the show. The ceremony is open to the public at no charge.
April 22 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) – Earth Day
In celebration of Earth Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission.” Daily programs include a guided trail walk at 11 a.m. and a naturalist-led Manatee Marvels presentation at 2 p.m. Higher price prevails. Cannot be combined with other offers.
May 2 through Nov. 14 – Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida Exhibition
Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida, a collection of 29 black-and-white photographs by preeminent Florida photographer Clyde Butcher, will be on exhibit from May 2 through Nov. 14 at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center art gallery, 300 Tower Road in Naples. Since 2004 the artistic and educational exhibition has traveled the state to increase awareness of and appreciation for Florida’s 41 aquatic preserves. The 110,000-acre Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses two of those aquatic preserves and part of more than five million acres of diverse water landscape and coastal areas that are critical to Florida’s future. In conjunction with the exhibit, Rookery Bay will show the companion one-hour nature film documentary, “Living Waters: Aquatic Preserves of Florida.” The film includes an introduction and closing remarks by Butcher and was produced and directed by cinematographer Elam Stoltzfus. Call 239-417-6310 or visit rookerybay.org for more information about the exhibit and film viewing schedule.
May 17 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) – Endangered Species Day
In celebration of Endangered Species Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one, get one free admission.” Throughout the day, enjoy a film festival showcasing local endangered species in the 140-seat auditorium.
JUNE and JULY
June 7 through July 26 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) – Kids FREE Fridays
Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Activities will include stories, crafts, a touch tank, face painting, nature film and presentation on topics such as sea turtles, manatees, sharks, and skulls and bones. The aquariums, interactive exhibits, walking trails and art gallery will be open. A food vendor will be on-site to sell lunch.