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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary eNewsletter
Aerial view of the bald cypress canopy with lots of greenery.
Surveys Recording the Sanctuary’s Orchids, Bromeliads, and Ferns
The 2.25-mile-long boardwalk makes it easy for Sanctuary visitors to keep their feet dry when experiencing the swamp and its 500-year-old bald cypress forest. While giant trees are the most obvious stars of the show here, the orchids, bromeliads, ferns, and other species that drape from their branches are the supporting cast. Called epiphytes, these plants grow on the rough surfaces of trees instead of in soil.

Read on to learn about surveys underway by scientists and other experts to explore and better understand the diversity of rare and threatened epiphytes on conservation lands around the region.
 Follow along with the researchers on one of their treks.
Aerial view of the bald cypress canopy. Photo: Mac Stone
Black-and-white photo of two boardwalks through the swamp.
What Makes Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary So Special?
It could be the 500-year-old trees within the largest expanse of old-growth bald cypress forest remaining in the world, or it could be the biggest ghost orchid ever discovered. It could even be that the community came together in 1954 to protect this magical place from logging. But something else at the Sanctuary that is looked at daily is often overlooked. It has been walked on by more than a million people. It’s the 2.25-mile boardwalk that transports visitors into the heart of the swamp and offers them a glimpse of the spectacular Sanctuary that was saved so many years ago.
The boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was first constructed in 1956 (right) and rebuilt in 1996 (left). Photo: Clyde Butcher.
People on the boardwalk looking at nature.
Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss
Drink a beer for a good cause and join us Thursday, April 11, at Ankrolab Brewing Company (3555 Bayshore Drive, Naples, FL 34112) from 5 to 8 p.m. as we celebrate 70 Years of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The event includes remarks by Sanctuary Director Keith Laakkonen, raffles for 70th-anniversary swag, and stunning photography by our Photographer-in-residence R J Wiley. Plus, all day long, Ankrolab will donate $1 from the sale of each glass of their special-edition Wood Stork Stout in support of wetland conservation at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Every day in April, Ankrolab offers their customers the opportunity to make a gift to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and our conservation work right at the register.

Experts say that spending time in nature is good for the soul, and our Journey to Happiness Workshop on Earth Day (April 22) invites you to experience the healing effects of nature. During this three-hour workshop, Maria Felipe, renowned speaker and author of Live Your Happy, will guide you through the powerful 4 Steps to Happiness and more, including a happiness satsang, a gratitude walk on a private section of the boardwalk, and a guided meditation. The cost is only $7 for Corkscrew members ($10 for non-members) and includes Sanctuary admission.

PLUS, our Earth Day celebration includes a superb line-up of scheduled programming, with a bird walk, storytelling, swamp buggy tour, chalk mural creation, a presentation about climate solutions, and a film screening. You can also relax in a hammock and listen to the ukulele band playing throughout the day. Admission is discounted for all — $8 for adults, $4 for children, and free for Corkscrew members!

Finally, participate in the Audubon Florida Birdathon from April 20-26. Enjoy a guided bird walk on the boardwalk on Earth Day, or bird on your own or with friends for any 24-hour period. Help us see seven focal bird species in celebration of seven decades of conservation at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary for a chance to win a special prize.
Visitors enjoying the boardwalk. Photo: Sydney Walsh/Audubon
Two people smiling for the camera, one holding an award.
Celebrating Our Volunteers
Volunteers have always been important to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s success. Since last summer, 113 volunteers donated more than 7,500 hours to our land management, public engagement, facilities, and restoration programs.

To celebrate the amazing dedication of these individuals, the Sanctuary hosts an annual Volunteer Recognition Event. This year the theme was Volunteers and 70 Years of Wetland Conservation. On March 26, 2024, nearly 60 volunteers enjoyed a catered buffet, chilled drinks, and cheer with support from our event sponsors: Panther Island Mitigation Bank and Cerda, Llanos, and Cia. See photos from the event on our Facebook page.
Keith Laakkonen with Liz Hines, recipient of the 2024 Volunteer Impact Award.

Scroll past the news for more information and events!

in the news graphic
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the News
Ancient escape: 2024 marks 70 Years for Timeless Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/environment/2024/04/07/florida-corkscrew-swamp-sanctuary-an-international-gem-heres-why/72747629007/
About a 30-minute drive inland from Naples, the swamp is home to the super ghost orchid (and lots of other orchids), endangered Florida panthers, black bears, herons, egrets, gopher tortoises and alligators. "It really goes back to the overall role of Audubon in Florida in helping protect our resources and lands and wildlife for 124 years now," says current sanctuary director Keith Laakkonen."

Corkscrew SIGHTINGS: Prescribed Fires Have a Reason for Being
Both fire and water have shaped the Florida landscape for millennia. We conduct prescribed fires (which are small and planned) here to reduce fuel loads (thus minimizing the risk of catastrophic wildfires), regenerate marshes and wet prairies, perpetuate fire-dependent plant species, and ensure healthy habitat for animals such as Northern bobwhite quail, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Turns 70
This is not a celebration with a rock band, a Champagne fountain and enough fireworks to power a rocket to the moon. Don’t look for a fete with floor-length dresses, filet mignon dinner and valet parking. Those all have their place. But the 70th birthday of Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is being celebrated by simply reveling in its unique natural beauty and expanding a commitment to protect it.

8 Ways to Enjoy Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary 
This spring, head to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (375 Sanctuary Road West) in Naples for guided tours, Earth Day celebrations, and more.

Rainfall and Water Level Update from Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary plays a central and critical role in the network of conservation lands within the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) and the Western Everglades.

Endangered Florida Panthers Can Recover, and This Bill Will Help
Large-scale developments, such as the proposed 10,0000 home Kingston project in Lee County, adjacent to Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Sanctuary, continually multiply traffic on roads that wind through primary panther habitats.
A woman standing on a boardwalk smiling for the camera
Welcome, Heather Gienapp!
Heather Gienapp joins the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary team as our education manager. She is an environmental educator and amateur ethnobotanist and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environmental Science from Muskingum College. She moved to Florida in 1998 and discovered the beauty of its ecosystems. Heather worked for 18 years at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve as an environmental educator and supervisor. Heather is passionate about teaching people of all ages the importance and beauty of Florida’s natural areas.

Welcome, Heather!
Heather Gienapp, our new education manager.
View of a room with decorations and people mingling
Wedding Professionals Gathered at Blair Visitor Center
The National Association of Wedding Professionals of Naples held its March meeting at the Blair Visitor Center. Dozens of industry professionals gathered to share details about the services they provide and network. During the event, guests enjoyed saxophone music, appetizers, and cocktails—the festivities looked smashing against our beautiful backdrop! If you're looking for a small venue for your next special event, look no further than Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. 

Email us to learn more about pricing and availability.
The Blair Visitor Center, transformed for this special event.
Programs and Events
Summer campers looking through binoculars.
Wild Florida Summer Camp is Filling Up - Register Today!
Join us for an exciting, nature-based summer camp for children ages 6 to 12 years old. Each week features a different theme with fun, interactive, hands-on activities for campers to explore the natural wonders of the Sanctuary. 

Scholarships and sibling discounts are available.

Summer camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with before-care and after-care available for an additional fee. See the schedule and register.
Summer campers engaged in outdoor activities.
Photo of a woman standing outdoors smiling for the camera.
Upcoming Events
April 16 | Early Birding Tour
April 18 | Ancient Forest Tour
April 22 | Earth Day
April 22 Happiness Workshop 
April 22 | Swamp Buggy Tour
April 23 | Early Birding Tour
April 24 | Corkscrew Night Tour
April 29 | Corkscrew Night Tour
May 1 | Sunset Stroll
May 3 | Guided Forest Meditation
May 21 | Early Birding Tour
May 23 | Corkscrew Night Tour
May 28 | Early Birding Tour
May 29 | Sunset Stroll
May 30 | Ancient Forest Tour
June 20 | Summer Solstice and Wellness Event

Registration is required for all programs.   Find the entire schedule here.
Maria Felipe, author of "Live Your Happy."
Donations and memberships provide crucial support for conservation work at the Sanctuary. We're open at 8 a.m. 365 days a year! From December 16 through April 30 the last admission is at 3 p.m. and in summer the last admission is at 1 p.m. Online tickets are recommended 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.