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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Raccoon carrying baby through high water.
Photo from the Sanctuary Honored in International Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest
Illustrating the challenges faced by wildlife in our dynamic sub-tropical swamp ecosystem is no easy feat, but photographer Mac Stone’s image from Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary does just that. His was one of a record-breaking number of entries, submitted by professional and amateur photographers from 95 countries, chosen by the Natural History Museum in London for their 57th annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The awards are considered to be the Oscars of the wildlife photography world.
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Awarded in the Mammals Behavior category and titled “Come High Water,” a mother raccoon rescues her newborn after a deluge of rain likely flooded out her nest. Photo: Mac Stone
Aerial view of black bear in swamp.
Florida Black Bear Filmed Foraging in Restoration Area
Earlier this month, Restoration Technician Jacob Zetzer was taking aerial surveys in the marsh and prairie restoration area. While flying the drone, he captured video of a Florida black bear in an area that we began restoring earlier this year. While the drone remained far enough away to avoid disturbing the bear, this perspective allows a great opportunity to see the immense scale of the project. Four months ago, this area would have been extremely difficult for this bear to traverse, highlighting the improved value this habitat has for local wildlife.

In southwest Florida, black bears (Ursus americanus floridanus) use a variety of habitats, from cypress swamp to pine flatwoods, including corridors connecting these habitats. Especially in fall, bears begin exploring new areas when food resources like palmetto berries and acorns become available.

The patches of brown are areas of problematic plant species that have been treated. Our research team continues to conduct long-term monitoring to quantify both the changes in plant communities and the response by wildlife.
 
Aerial view of black bear in restoration area.
A swamp buggy.
Keeping Our Land Managers Rolling with a New Buggy
Getting around in soggy wetland habitats can be challenging for wildlife, like the bear, but imagine what it is like for our staff! We recently had to retire one of our swamp buggy vehicles and replacing it carries a hefty price tag of $75K. Last week we sent out a special fundraising alert for a new swamp buggy, and are thrilled to share that we surpassed our goal with nearly $100,000 raised! Our sincere thanks to advisory board chair Steve Nellis, The Ron Magill Conservation Endowment Fund, and more than 80 generous donors who stepped up to cover the cost of the swamp buggy. Additional funds raised will help support other equipment needs and long-term maintenance of our vehicles. We are humbled by those who care deeply for this special place and our staff.
 
Swamp buggy at the Sanctuary.
A researcher in a wetland.
Corkscrew Swamp is a Sanctuary for Wildlife and a Living Laboratory
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a critical part of the Western Everglades, protects 13,450 acres of sensitive wetlands, uplands, and other natural resources that provide excellent habitat for wildlife. These protected acres are also an ideal setting for scientific research. In addition to our in-house research program, the Sanctuary welcomes scientists from around the world to obtain research permits and conduct research that aligns with Audubon’s conservation mission and increases our collective understanding of our resident plants and animals and our region’s unique ecology.
 
A researcher wades into a wetland overtaken by water hyacinth at the Sanctuary.
Volunteer on the boardwalk.
Hundreds of Collier County Residents Enjoy Free Admission
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary typically attracts tourists visiting Naples, one of the wealthiest metropolitan areas in the state. We would like to welcome more families and visitors from nearby Immokalee, a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community that plays an integral role in the agricultural industry. In an effort to strengthen relationships with our neighbors, the Sanctuary's public engagement team piloted a plan to offer free admission to 500 Collier County residents on September 25. In addition to social media, promotion on traditional media outlets, and reaching out to existing education partners, Sanctuary staff distributed flyers in three languages in both digital and print formats in Immokalee. Our timed ticketing platform enabled visitors to stay safe and avoid crowding. It was a great success! We look forward to offering more free days in the coming year to include even more of our neighbors. Many thanks to volunteer Janet Eidem for snapping photos during this event. 
 
Volunteer Amy Swanson prepared the boardwalk for visitors.
in the news graphic
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the News
Outlet: Coastal Breeze News
Headline: Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Announces Fall Program Schedule
Excerpt: Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located in Naples, has announced a variety of guided walks to be hosted at the Blair Audubon Center for fall season. Guided walks on the boardwalk are some of the best ways to learn about and experience the Western Everglades.

Outlet: Southwest Florida Spotlight Magazine
Headline: Corkscrew SIGHTINGS: Southeastern sunflowers return to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Excerpt: While Southeastern sunflowers bloom throughout their range from August through November, at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the peak bloom is typically during the first two weeks of October. It’s a treat for the senses. During that time the bright yellow flowers open to dance cheerfully in the breeze. Their delicate scent floats along gentle winds, tickling noses.
 
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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
375 Sanctuary Rd., Naples, FL 34120 USA
(239) 348-9151 | corkscrew.audubon.org

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