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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Screen shot of white bird in water
Dry-down Underway!
Water levels are dropping quickly and the annual dry-down is underway! In this video, a Wood Stork and other wading birds grab breakfast as their prey fish concentrate in the shallow water. This video was filmed at South Lettuce Lake last week by boardwalk volunteer Keith Johnson. Unless we get rain soon, the dry-down and associated feeding frenzy should be at their peak in the next few weeks. Remember, online tickets are required to visit the Sanctuary. See rainfall amounts and videos from the dry-down.
Wood Storks and other wading birds at the Lettuce Lake.
Squirrel on a rock with plaque
Help Us Celebrate Our National Natural Landmark Designation on May 18!
On May 18, 1962, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall established the National Natural Landmark Program to recognize outstanding and remarkable natural areas. Secretary Udall designated Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in 1964 because the wetlands protected here include the largest remaining, virgin bald cypress forest in the world (approximately 700 acres). Please join us and enjoy FREE admission on Wednesday, May 18, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of this program. Online tickets will be limited and become available on May 1.
An Eastern Gray Squirrel on our National Natural Landmark designation plaque.
Sign thanking volunteers and sponsor
Thank You, Volunteers, For an Amazing Season!
With higher temperatures and humid weather moving in, Florida’s “snowbirds” are already beginning their northward migration. This means saying “see you next season” to many volunteers at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. To show appreciation for the 72 dedicated volunteers who contributed more than 10,000 hours over this past year, Sanctuary staff hosted a sunflower-themed appreciation event. Volunteers are critical to our mission and provide assistance with keeping the boardwalk free of debris, engaging and inspiring visitors, educating local students, and so much more.
Volunteers enjoyed a special, after-hours boardwalk stroll, complete with calls for reflection.
Boardwalk leading to amphitheater
Boardwalk Repairs are Underway
We are so grateful to the 103 donors who swiftly responded to our message last week and are helping to fund the repair of the Corkscrew Learning Amphitheater and Student Sanctuary loop – an offshoot of the boardwalk with a unique space for special public programming and youth education. Through their incredible generosity, we significantly surpassed our funding need of $15K and raised $30K! The additional funding will be used to purchase materials in preparation for hurricane season and will support ongoing maintenance required to preserve our beloved boardwalk.
The Corkscrew Learning Amphitheater and Student Sanctuary.
White birds in a wetland.
American White Pelican Flock at Our Restoration Site
During the last week of March, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary staff spotted American White Pelicans in one of our recently restored wetlands. When Restoration Technician Jacob Zetzer piloted our drone to survey the unit, his footage revealed as many as 80 white pelicans, as well as multiple Great Blue Herons, Roseate Spoonbills, and several other species of wading birds. This location is suitable for them now because our restoration effort has removed much of the Carolina willow and other woody vegetation that had been spreading across this marsh.
Drone image of American White Pelicans and other wading birds. Photo: Jacob Zetzer
Sediment cores on the ground
Addressing Threats to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s Wetlands
With rampant development downstream of the Sanctuary requiring increased flood control, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s wetlands are drying out faster and for longer each year, despite no apparent change in rainfall amount. These long-term trends are difficult for swamp visitors to see given the annual rise and fall of water levels, but the altered ecology of our region is clear when we look to the birds as indicators. Audubon staff has recently expanded hydrologic monitoring in the Sanctuary and downstream in Bird Rookery Swamp. This effort prompted a boots-on-the-ground survey by South Florida Water Management District to obtain better data about ground elevations across the Corkscrew basin.
Cores from the hydrogeologic exploration study.
Camp promo flyer
Wild Florida Adventure Camp
Calling all Super Swamp Sleuths and Insect Investigators! If your child is aged 6 to 10, loves the outdoors, and needs something fun to do this summer, our Wild Florida Adventure Camp is for you! Running June 6 through August 26, each of our camp weeks focuses on a different theme. Sign up for one week or more!  Learn more and register here.
Summer Camp promo
White bird reflected on water.
Upcoming Tours
Looking for a guided experience? We have several coming up! Registration is required and space is limited to only ten guests. 
Sunset Stroll 4/13
Early Birding Walk 4/19
Sunset Stroll 4/20
Family Sunset Stroll 4/21
Early Birding Walk 4/26
Sunset Stroll 4/26
Early Birding Walk 5/3
Night Walk 5/4
Ancient Forest Tour 5/19
Sunset Stroll 5/25  Book a tour.
Great Egret. Photo: Arnie Collens
Membership promo
Members Get In Free
As a reminder, Friends of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary members receive free admission to the boardwalk all year long. Thanks to our online ticketing platform, members and visitors can appreciate shorter wait times at the admissions desk and less crowding on the boardwalk. With our new online system, members no longer need to carry their membership cards!   Read more
Members get free admission.
earrings
Shop the Nature Store
Find books, photography, and wares by area artists, logo items like magnets and t-shirts produced by local businesses, there’s even hand-crafted jewelry, housewares, and more. We constantly receive new merchandise! Don’t forget to stop in on your next visit, or check out the offerings at our online store.   Check out our online store.
Environmentally-themed souvenirs and gifts.
in the news graphic
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary In the News
Outlet: Good Morning America
Outlet: Kake
Headline: 8-year-old lives out dream to photograph animals in the wild
Excerpt: One boy is living his dream to be a naturalist and photograph wildlife. "I love animals and nature because of my experiences in school," said Oban, who is 8 years old. Thanks to a partnership between Make-A-Wish Connecticut and Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, Oban was able to travel from Connecticut to meet National Geographic Explorer Carlton Ward Jr. for an exclusive tour through Florida's Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Outlet: MiamiCurated
Headline: Updated: Things to Do in Naples + Best Restaurants
Excerpt: Now is a good time to go to Naples, when the performing arts are in full swing, and before it’s too hot to visit the lovely gardens and nature attractions. Here’s an updated list of the top things to do in Naples Florida, including shopping and best restaurants, from a Staycation I took.  Journey into the heart of the Everglades ecosystem on Corkscrew’s famous boardwalk – a 2.25-mile adventure through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. Online tickets are required at www.corkscrew.audubon.org.visit.

Outlet: WGCU (NPR) Ft. Myers
Headline: Invasive willows gone, wading birds back at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Excerpt: Roseate spoonbills and other wading birds are digging Florida Audubon’s efforts to remove invasive Carolina willows that have overtaken vital wet prairies inside the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary east of Naples. “Our marsh and prairie restoration efforts are helping bring birds back to areas within the sanctuary that had been overtaken by Carolina willow,” Lisa Korte, director of the sanctuary, said Friday. “Nature’s response to our restoration process is rapid.”

Outlet: The Guardian
Headline: ‘We’re saving the last of the last’: what Florida’s endangered panthers need to survive
Excerpt: Traveling with photographer Carlton Ward Jr through southwestern Florida, driving through a busy highway outside Naples. Palm and pine trees flank the roads, and the morning humidity is thick. Ward and I drive into the backcountry of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to visit another piece of the corridor puzzle. Corkscrew is a 13,000 acre refuge with 500-year-old cypress trees and wetlands managed for wildlife. At 21 square miles, the sanctuary isn’t large enough for a panther’s home range, but female panthers are known to raise cubs there. I sit down at a shaded picnic table to talk with the sanctuary’s director, Lisa Korte. “We believe in maintaining corridors,” Korte says. “Animals shouldn’t be dead-ended. We’re a place where a panther can feel safe.”

Outlet: WDRB.com Louisville
Headline: Publix Associates Go Green for Publix Serves Week
Excerpt: Throughout this week, more than 6,200 Publix associates across the company’s seven-state operating area will be volunteering at more than 220 state parks and other nonprofit organizations focused on environmental sustainability. In 2021, Publix donated funds to remove invasive trees and plants from portions of the Florida Everglades. 

Outlet: Progressive Grocer
Headline: Publix Serves Environmental Week Is Underway
Excerpt: As part of the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Publix has embarked upon long-term collaborations to support freshwater restoration in its home state of Florida. Last year, the grocer pledged $2 million to save the Florida Everglades. 

Outlet: ABC-7 News Ft. Myers
Headline: FPL volunteers help preserve swamp sanctuary in Naples during Power to Care week
For the past week, FPL company volunteers have been taking part in its Power to Care week. They rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty to help make the communities they serve even better places to live, work, and raise families. On Wednesday, March 2, more than 20 FPL volunteers were at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples. They spent the day preserving the swamp sanctuary by cleaning up, landscaping around the property, painting the administration building, trimming vegetation, and maintaining the boardwalk area.

Outlet: iHeart Radio/WNDH Ohio
Headline: Young Boy Gets To Be Nat Geo Photographer For A Day
Excerpt: An 8-year-old boy diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma has lived his dream of being a nature photographer Oban Birmingham got hooked up with National Geographic photographer Carlton Ward thanks to Make-a-Wish South Florida They spent the day taking photos at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Southwest Florida. Ward spent serious quality time with Oban, even showing how to use trail cameras for shots of undisturbed wildlife.

Outlet: iHeart Radio/Bobby Bones Show
Headline: TMSG 8-year-old Becomes National Geographic Photographer for a Day
Excerpt: 8-year-old Oban Birmingham from Connecticut was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and he just had his Make-a-Wish dream come true. Birmingham was first diagnosed in October 2020, but that didn't stop his passion for nature. He's always wanted to be a wildlife photographer, he particularly loves endangered Florida panthers. Make-a-Wish South Florida stepped in to make Birmingham's dream a reality. He got to spend a day with National Geographic photographer Carlton Ward at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Southwest Florida.

Outlet: Brobible.com
Headline: Doorbell Camera Picks Up Huge Florida Panther Walking Past Front Door Of Naples Home Like It Owns The Place
Excerpt: One of these extremely rare wild panthers showed up on a doorbell camera in Naples and the footage was shared on social media for the world to see. The current range of the Florida panther and the historic range are pretty different but these wild panthers have always called Naples home.These days, wild Florida panthers are located primarily throughout Southwest Florida across an area of five counties (Collier, Hendry, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Monroe). Naples, FL is in Collier County which is also home to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a wildlife preserve where wild Florida panthers are occasionally spotted.

Outlet: Jacqui Thurlow-Lippsich.com
Headline: Old Growth Cypress, Old Friends-Corkscrew Swamp
Excerpt: Long before our waters were impaired, our state’s most stately trees were cut for timber. But in Collier County, a portion of Florida’s original old-growth bald cypress forest remains. Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary boardwalk allows access into this majestic place considered the world’s largest old-growth bald cypress forest. Amazing!Hundreds of thousands of gorgeous wading birds, often with chicks, were slaughtered.  This of course is what brought Audubon to action. Audubon realized that even though so much was already lost; they must now fight not just to save the birds, but also the birds’ habitat.

Outlet: Gulfshore Life Magazine
Headline: Protecting the Florida Wildlife Corridor
The photo Carlton Ward Jr. worked for nearly two years to capture happened in the backcountry of Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary along a tree-shaded path that dead-ends at a barbed-wire fence. Ward, a conservation photographer, National Geographic Explorer and founder of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, wanted to document a Florida panther crossing between the ranch and Audubon’s land to deliver this message: We need undeveloped land—millions more acres of it, public and private alike—to ensure wildlife, like the Florida panther, survives. In Collier, about 55,000 privately owned acres in the eastern portion of the county—an area known as the Rural Lands Stewardship Area (RLSA)—have been placed under stewardship easements, I learn from Brad Cornell, Southwest Florida policy associate for Audubon Florida and Audubon of the Western Everglades. His organization and others are pushing to protect another 79,000, encouraging the county to adopt new incentives for farmers and improvements to the rules governing the RLSA.

Outlet: Travel Awaits
Headline: 7 Incredible National Parks And Preserves To Visit In Southern Florida
Excerpt: Mysterious. Intriguing. Restored. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of the beautiful network of wild and wonderful parks protecting the fragile ecosystems in South Florida. Present-day travelers can experience slices of this tropical paradise and are awed by its beautiful diversity.Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of southern Florida’s hidden gems. I took a personal tour with Professor Jerry Jackson, who spent 3 hours walking through the four ecosystems with me. I have been coming to Naples, Florida, for over 25 years and, until recently, had never been to this beautiful part of Florida. It became the crown jewel of parks for me.

Outlet: Traverse City Record-Eagle
Headline: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary: A stroll through time and nature
Excerpt: While visiting Florida in winter I’ve written a few columns on outstanding outdoor adventures in the Sunshine State visiting snowbirds might try. Most have been about kayaking, but a few, like the columns on Sanibel Island’s Ding Darling Preserve and the Okefenokee Swamp in northern Florida, were more about hiking. Here’s another hiking experience in southwest Florida that I highly recommend. On the outskirts of Naples, not far from Sanibel and Fort Myers, a visit to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is well worth the time.

 
DONATE
Donations and memberships provide crucial support for conservation work at the Sanctuary. The Blair Audubon Center and boardwalk are open daily with timed admissions from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online tickets are required at www.corkscrew.audubon.org/visit
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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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