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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Monthly eNewsletter
A large bird sitting on a nest.
Love is in the Air
‘Tis the season! Nesting season is under way for many birds that live at the Sanctuary. According to our volunteer naturalists, there are at least four nests along the boardwalk. Two Red-shouldered Hawks have nests high in the trees, while along the North Lettuce Lake, it is possible to see two Anhinga nests! The nest that is closest to the boardwalk does not have any visible chicks yet, but the other one (slightly farther away) has at least one chick. Who else might be nesting? We’re keeping our eyes peeled. Come out and enjoy seeing these “love birds” with your sweetie for Valentine’s Day!  Get tickets.
Nesting Anhinga. Photo: Donald Sawin
Seven people holding scissors cutting a ribbon in front of a water structure.
Audubon Helps Cut the Ribbon on New Water Control Structure
We're excited to share some great news for Corkscrew Swamp! A few weeks ago, the entire Big Cypress Basin Board joined officials from Collier County and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to cut the ribbon on a water infrastructure project to improve flood protection and regional water management. Audubon is partnering with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Big Cypress Basin to identify innovative ways to better manage water levels for wildlife and people. This structure should enable water managers to respond quickly to rainfall events to keep more water in the swamp while protecting neighboring communities from flooding. Read more about the new structure here. The results of our modeling study are providing new tools for regional wetland conservation
Pictured here is Sanctuary Director Keith Laakkonen (far left) with members of the Big Cypress Basin Board. Photo: SFWMD
Aerial view of wading birds nesting in the treetops.
Water Levels and Wood Stork Update
In Southwest Florida, we can usually count on two “seasons:” wet and dry. Even though we experienced a relatively wet summer, thanks in part to rainfall from Hurricane Ian, we are now well into the dry season and are seeing water levels continue to fall quickly. Monthly rainfall totals have been less than average since October. With Wood Storks actively nesting in the Sanctuary this year, we’re hopeful that water levels will fall slowly and steadily enough to support a successful nesting season.

The third Wood Stork survey flight of the 2023 nesting season was conducted on February 7. Nesting activity was observed at three of the five known colony sites in Southwest Florida. The three sites with activity were BC-29 (west of SR-29, north of Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge), Lenore Island (Caloosahatchee River west of I-75), and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Photos taken also confirm Roseate Spoonbills are nesting at Corkscrew Swamp. Along with Wood Storks and Spoonbills, Great Egrets were observed roosting and nesting in the cypress trees along the Sanctuary’s north marsh.

The fourth flight of the season will take place in early March.
Zoomed out photo of nesting Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (02/07/2023).
Promo graphic for fundraiser showing educational activities.
Save the Date for Give Where You Live Collier Feb. 15-16
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of only 37 nonprofits selected to participate in Give Where You Live Collier Day—a 24-hour, online fundraiser that encourages everyone to give back to the places that make the community special. This day of giving is hosted by the Collier Community Foundation and the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, who, together, have a $500k matching fund shared between participating nonprofits. Whether you live in Collier County or not, we hope you will consider participating and supporting Corkscrew Swamp. Watch your inbox for your chance to participate and have your gift proportionally matched.
Support education and more at the Sanctuary through Give Where You Live Collier
Scroll past the news for more information and events!
in the news graphic
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the News
Great Romantic Getaways In Florida
Florida has something for every type of couple, and this list includes some of our favorite spots. There's no better time to start planning your next long weekend escape – no passport required. Naples also has so much to offer in terms of exploring the wildlife of the region, from the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Audubon Names Keith Laakkonen as Director at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
National Audubon Society has named Keith Laakkonen as director for Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples. 

We Meet the New Director of Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Collier County has been an Audubon-protected site since the early 1900s and is considered a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance. We meet the sanctuary’s new director, Keith Laakkonen. Keith is a southwest Florida native with a background in watershed management, environmental policy, and more.

Big Cypress Basin Completes Water Infrastructure Project to Improve Flood Protection and Regional Water Management
The entire Big Cypress Basin (BCB) Board along with officials from Collier County and Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary celebrated the completion of an upgraded water control structure in Naples Tuesday. It borders portions of the Bird Rookery Swamp and Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Spotting Alligators in Southwest Florida: 8 Places You Will Likely See the Large Reptiles
One question we see posted frequently on social media this time of year is: Where do I have the best chance to spot an alligator? This is not surprising considering the number of tourists who come here every winter and the fact that when people think of Florida, one of the first things they associate with the Sunshine State are alligators. 
A man with binoculars in a field.
Getting to Know Our New Director
Keith Laakkonen joined the Audubon team on January 9 and has hit the ground running. While we already know he has experience in local land management, policy, facilities maintenance, and visitor engagement, he is also very big on birds. We caught up with him to ask some personal questions about his background, the Sanctuary, his “spark” bird, and birding at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
Keith surveying the landscape at Panther Island. Photo: Shawn Clem/Audubon
View of fire in marsh habitat.
Restoration Complete on 68 More Acres Thanks to Prescribed Fire
Our prescribed fire season is well under way and off to a great start. One recent burn included 68 acres of wetlands that were mulched in 2017 and 2019 as part of our marsh and wet prairie restoration effort, beginning a cycle of long-term maintenance for this highly productive and biologically diverse habitat. Managing wetlands with prescribed fire promotes healthy plant and animal communities and protects our ecosystem and our neighbors from catastrophic wildfires. Healthy wetlands reduce excess nutrients from entering our estuaries, recharge our aquifer, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in our community, and hold floodwaters during severe weather events. They also provide crucial habitat to many threatened and thriving birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
Photo: Allyson Webb/Audubon
An aerial view of wetlands.
Member Lecture: Lessons from Ian, Irma, and Others on Feb. 10
The next members-only lecture on Feb. 10, “The Importance of Southwest Florida’s Wetlands: Lessons from Ian, Irma, and Others,” will be presented by Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s Research Director and Interim Director of Conservation, Shawn Clem, PhD. These free, monthly lectures are open to current Corkscrew members and take place from 11 a.m. to noon in the Sanctuary’s multi-purpose classroom.
Aerial view of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's wetlands. Photo: Jacob Zetzer/Audubon
Kids onboard a large vehicle.
Save Your Spots for School's Out and Summer Camp
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary offers day-long programs for children during the local teacher planning days. The School’s Out nature-based day program in March is themed  “Corkscrew Carnivores: Canines, Claws, and Mighty Big Paws” and invites kids ages 6 to 12 to discover the many carnivores that call Corkscrew home. Learn more about this program and register here

We’re also offering an exciting and action-packed Wild Florida Adventure Camp, a nature-based summer camp for children ages 6-12 years. Each week features a different theme with fun, interactive, hands-on activities for campers to explore the natural wonders of the Sanctuary.
Summer campers ready for an adventure! Photo: Donald Sawin
Events and Other News
Framed artwork hanging on a wall.
Nature Store Spotlight: John Costin Etchings
Looking for a gift for your Valentine?❤️ Check out our Nature Store for unique, nature-inspired gifts. Jewelry, wall decor, a t-shirt from the Swamp... let us help you find something.

The Nature Store is also pleased to offer a beautiful selection of etchings by printmaker John Costin, whose works have been displayed in exhibitions and in corporate and private collections around the state. According to Costin’s website, “no computers or photography are ever used; each piece is handmade and hand-painted, and though the editions may range from 1-250, no two pieces are the same.” 

The Nature Store is open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Many items are also available online. Shop online.
John Costin etchings on display at the Nature Store.
People on the boardwalk.
Upcoming Events
Check out these upcoming tours and events!
Early Birding Walk | Feb. 14
Ancient Forest Tour | Feb. 16
Early Birding Walk | Feb 21
Night Walk | Feb. 23
Guided Forest Bathing Meditation | March 3
Night Walk | March 6
Early Birding Walk | March 7
Ancient Forest Tour | March 9
Early Birding Walk | March 14
Ancient Forest Tour | March 16
Photography Workshop I | March 18
Family Sunset Stroll | March 22
Ancient Forest Tour | March 23
Photography Workshop II | March 25
School’s Out Day Program | March 27
Family Night Walk | March 29
Photography Workshop III | April 1
Family Sunset Stroll | April 3
Guided Forest Bathing Meditation | April 7
Earth Day Story Time | April 22
  View our calendar of events.
People enjoying the boardwalk. Photo: David Korte
Cafe staff with food offerings.
The Café is Now Open Five Days a Week!
We are excited to announce the reopening of the Corkscrew Café after a couple of years in hibernation. We welcome you to enjoy bagels, lox, sandwiches, salads, coffee, desserts, and more! Stop by before or after your Boardwalk visit. Our current Café hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
The Café is now open Wednesday through Sunday.
Promo graphic for Great Backyard Bird Count
Be a Part of the Great Backyard Bird Count
From Friday, February 17 through Monday, February 20, join in on the 26th annual Great Backyard Bird Count! This nationwide community science project engages birders of all abilities, from novices to experts, and encourages community participation in the collection of critical scientific data. Participation can mean watching for and recording bird sightings for as little as 15 minutes, or all weekend long.
  Get involved!
Promo graphic for Great Backyard Bird Count.
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
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
375 Sanctuary Rd., Naples, FL 34120 USA
(239) 348-9151 | corkscrew.audubon.org

© 2024 National Audubon Society, Inc.