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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Monthly eNewsletter
Two owlets in a treetop
Earth Day Owlets
Spring is a magical time of year. The feeding frenzy has subsided, and we are turning our eyes to the canopy for another natural phenomenon: Barred Owl branching. Before young Barred Owls (or other birds) are ready to fly, they begin exploring their surroundings on foot— climbing along branches and making short hops. These two cuties were photographed during our Earth Day celebration at the north Lettuce Lake, where visitors could sometimes even hear them calling out to their parents.See highlights from our Earth Day event.
Barred Owlets. Photo: Dan Ault, Corkscrew member and volunteer.
A group of people standing on a platform with blue sky and an antenna
St. Johns River Water Management District Collaborates with the Sanctuary on Best Practices
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary recently hosted staff from St. Johns River Water Management District to share best practices and showcase our wetland restoration units. Their team has been studying and developing willow control methods in Northeast Florida for many years, and they were very impressed with our work in the Sanctuary thus far. 
In the coming months, Sanctuary staff will visit some of their restoration sites in northeast Florida to continue discussions and see the results of different shrub removal methods that have been successful.

Landowners throughout Florida have seen Carolina willow and other native-nuisance shrubs spread across grasslands and prairie habitats, triggered by land use changes, altered freshwater flows, and inadequate fire. If left unchecked, these species become a monoculture that reduces wildlife habitat and can drastically alter wetland ecology. The site visit was part of a collaborative effort to develop a working group of scientists and land management practices to address this growing problem. Sharing our habitat stewardship practices is an important priority and allows our team to impact conservation beyond our region. 
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and St. Johns River Water Management District staff at the Observation Tower.
Promo for Endangered Species Week
Endangered Species Week – Next Week!
Join us for a fun-filled week and learn about vulnerable species from May 15 – 19. Enjoy guided tours, an interpretive table, a presentation on threatened species, music by the Four Strings Ukulele Band, and more, included with regular admission (free for members). For the adventurous, we’re also offering a Night Walk! All week long, visitors can also enjoy a 10 percent discount on any Florida panther merchandise in the Nature Store – just say “panther” at the check-out counter.
Event promo graphic. "Super" ghost orchid photo by RJ Wiley.
Aerial view of stork nests
Wood Stork Monitoring and Water Level Update
On May 3 we conducted the sixth Wood Stork survey flight of the 2023 nesting season. This season, we observed nesting at three colony sites in Southwest Florida, with Wood Storks fledging from the Corkscrew colony by early April. Wood Stork nesting continues at two sites: BC-29 (west of SR-29, north of Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge), and Lenore Island (Caloosahatchee River west of I-75).

Chicks typically fledge eight weeks after hatching and must fledge before the onset of the rainy season to be successful. Wood Stork numbers were lower this month than last month at the two remaining colonies, a sign that storks have begun to fledge and leave the colonies. The final monitoring flight of the nesting season will be conducted in early June.

Our team recorded 4.5 inches of rainfall at the Sanctuary in April 2023, which is almost twice the monthly average for April. Still, water levels remained below zero into May.
Wood Stork chicks at Lenore Island in the Caloosahatchee River. Photo: Jacob Zetzer/Audubon
Scroll past the news for more information and events!
in the news graphic
Wading Birds Repopulating Everglades in Near-record Numbers
Wading birds going about their business in our swamps may not seem like a spectacular sight, but experts say we’re lucky to see them. “The biggest threat to wading birds in the Everglades [was] plume hunting,” said Dr. Shawn Clem, director of research at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Florida Birding Trail
The West Section: Some of the most popular birding sites in this section include the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and the Sanibel Island Lighthouse Park.

It’s Nesting Season at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Around SWFL
February 24 marked the first official sighting of a Swallow-tailed Kite at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. These majestic raptors spend the fall and winter in South America and are now making their way back to breeding areas in Florida and the southeastern U.S. Kites make their nests in tall trees near a water source and sometimes nest at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

‘Path of the Panther’ Documentary Aims to Spark Recovery for Florida Panther Population
Deep in the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, we met up with Carlton Ward Jr. He’s the man behind the high-definition trail cameras there, whose sole purpose is to spot the elusive cats that live there.

100 Things We Love About Naples
36. Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to a variety of creatures, from alligators to deer to turtles to sundry bird species. Venture into the heart of the Everglades ecosystem on a 2.25-mile boardwalk that traverses multiple habitats.

Corkscrew SIGHTINGS: Partnerships make prescribed fire safe and successful
By Allyson Webb - Every year, fire practitioners from throughout North America meet in the southeastern U.S. in partnership with the National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center (NIPFTC). The goal? To build relationships, improve skills, and expand our collective knowledge of prescribed fire operations. This was the first time Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s Prescribed Fire Team engaged with the NIPFTC.

Publix, Associates Focused on the Environment

Last year, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the western Everglades and the saline glades region in the eastern section of the Everglades National Park began seeing the effects of a portion of Publix’s $2 million donation — water has returned to areas that needed it, allowing wildlife to survive and thrive in their natural habitat.
A man standing next to a poster.
Corkscrew Sanctuary Staff Participate in Annual Everglades Conference
The Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) Conference was held from April 17 to 20 in Coral Springs this year. This technical forum showcases the latest in ecological research by the best scientists, engineers, and environmental managers working on the largest ecosystem restoration in the world. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s research team, including Shawn Clem, PhD, Jacob Zetzer, and Alex Meinders, attended this important conference. They shared information on our marsh and wet prairie restoration project, evaluation of its success, and how we are monitoring mammal populations as a line of defense against python intrusion.
Research Technician Alex Meinders at the poster session.
A bird pulling a worm out of the ground.
Members-Only Early Admission Days
The early bird catches the worm! Members can visit the Sanctuary on Saturdays in June and enjoy early access to the boardwalk starting at 7 a.m. with an Early Morning Admission ticket. Dates include June 3, June 10, June 17, and June 24. Members can reserve early admission tickets for free here.
American Robin. Photo: Pixabay
Events and Other News
A man in a field with binoculars.
Final Members-Only Lecture and Birding Tour
Join Sanctuary Director Keith Laakkonen for the final lecture in our member series, “All About Birds,” at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 19.

This short presentation will be followed by a guided birding tour on the boardwalk with Keith, an avid birder.  Learn more about Keith.
  Register for the lecture and tour here.
Keith birding.
a barred owl in a tree
Upcoming Events
Check out these upcoming tours and events!

Endangered Species Week | May 15 – 19
Endangered Species Presentation | May 16
Night Walk | May 18
Ancient Forest Tour | May 19
Member Lecture: All About Birds | May 19
Early Birding Walk | May 23
Guided Forest Bathing Meditation | June 2
Summer Solstice Evening | June 21
Early Birding Walk | June 24
  View our Calendar of Events.
Barred Owl. Photo: Arnie Collens
Collage of summer camp images
Get Ready for a Summer to Remember!
Campers will explore the magic of the Sanctuary’s ancient forest and animals through fun and exciting activities that integrate science, arts and crafts, sports, water play, and more. Camp runs June 5 through July 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with four different weekly themes. Sign up for one week or four! 
  Enroll today!
Wild Florida Adventure Camp
colorful socks
Sublimation Socks!
Back in stock! Awesome sublimation socks with some of our favorite friends of the Swamp! These socks are lightweight and have a soft and comfortable feel to them. Grab your favorite and a few for gifts. Plus, find nature gifts, clothing, books, and more! Your purchase from our Nature Store is a great way to support the Sanctuary while taking a piece of it home with you. Shop online.
Sublimation socks.
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.