Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
E-newsletter | April 24, 2020
Sanctuary Director Lisa Korte.
From the Sanctuary Director
Happy Spring!

I hope this message finds you safe and in good health. The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives and how we view the world. Protecting natural resources at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary remains our top priority. Although we operate in new ways, our work continues.

As conditions allow, our land management team will advance with marsh and prairie restoration. May and June are when we typically implement the first phase of restoration. Ideally, this is done as close to the end of the dry season as possible, but before the rains. Again, this year, we plan to make progress on our goal of 1,000 acres by 2022. In the meantime, our land management team maintains critical fire breaks across the Sanctuary.

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary boardwalk has been closed to the public since March 16. We share your frustration that the boardwalk must be closed. During these times, we know that being outdoors can be a refuge. With the boardwalk closed, our education team is developing new ways to engage with the public virtually. I hope you can join us for our first virtual Lunch and Learn next Wednesday (see details below).Keep reading Sanctuary Director Lisa Korte's message.
Join Us for a Virtual Lunch and Learn!
While our on-site Lunch and Learn lecture series is suspended, we are pleased to start offering our lectures virtually via webinar. The first one, on April 29 at 12 p.m., is “The Logging History Of The Big Cypress” with South Florida historian Cesar Becerra.

“It all ended dramatically at the doorstep of a place called Corkscrew Swamp. Chainsaws buzzing heated up negotiations between the National Audubon Society and Lee Cypress Tidewater Company. In the end, luckily, the last known massive and intact strand of giants was saved.”

Register below to hear the entire story while seeing historic imagery of the logging industry on your computer monitor. We hope you can join us! More webinars will be planned shortly. 
Screenshot of a video showing the drydown at South Lake
The Drydown is Happening! Feeding Frenzy, Not So Much
While mid-April is typically the time we begin to see the peak of the drydown and the most impressive feeding frenzy by wading birds, this year, we are drying down quickly and we aren’t seeing the large aggregations of wading birds we’ve come to expect each dry season.

Part of the reason for the reduced bird numbers right now is due to our extremely dry fall, coupled with the driest March we’ve ever recorded.

Find more details about water levels here.

With less water in our system this season, there was less fish habitat and reduced fish production, resulting in fewer fish available for birds to eat. In this video shot just last week, Research Technician Lee Martin observed what he estimated to be 71 Wood Storks feeding at the South Lettuce Lake, along with an assortment of herons, egrets, White Ibises, and Roseate Spoonbills. This number of Wood Storks has not been seen in the Sanctuary since the video was shot.

According to Research Director Shawn Clem, Ph.D., tactile feeders like Wood Storks and Roseate Spoonbills are like sprinters: showing up under the very best conditions, eating as much as possible, and moving along to the next best spot. Herons, egrets, and ibis are more like marathon runners: they are in it for the long haul and stick around to get every fish.
This pin, designed by artist/volunteer Leslie Burgess, was awarded to volunteers in honor of their service.
Recognizing Our Volunteers
The sheer volume of hours that volunteers dedicate to the Sanctuary each year speaks to their love of this beautiful and unique place. At the Blair Audubon Visitor Center, a Volunteer Service Hours Plaque recognizes individual milestones. This year, 25 individuals received a special pin in recognition of amassing at least 500 service hours.

Additionally, program managers specifically recognized the following six volunteers (or volunteer teams) for their continued dedication to efforts furthering the Sanctuary’s mission.
A screen-shot of the live feed from Corkscrew on National Audubon Society Facebook page
Another Live Video from Corkscrew Shared on National Audubon Society Facebook Page
With everyone staying safe at home, Audubon strives to take the nature to you through technology like Facebook Live. Just last week, another live-stream video was shared by National Audubon Society and received approximately 56,000 views. Many viewers shared comments such as “Thank you, thank you for sharing this. It is food for my soul.”

Viewers from around the country and beyond heard the calls of Northern Cardinals and Pileated Woodpeckers over the patter of a gentle rain. They also saw fish gulping air at the surface of the pond. These fish, typically species such as brown bullhead catfish and other non-native species, are adapted to water bodies with low oxygen. They have evolved to use a process by which they gulp air from the surface and store it in their stomach where it can be absorbed into their blood.
Suggested Stay-at-Home Reading
Looking for some environmental reading to enjoy while staying at home? While the Blair Audubon Center and Nature Store remain closed to visitors, we assembled reading recommendations and favorites from Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s environmental education staff for children and adults. Favorites include Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax and The Everglades River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, to name a few. 
News & Updates
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the News
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was highlighted in several news outlets recently, including:

Garden & Gun: The Disappearing South: a photographic journey through the regions at-risk places

Ave Maria Sun: Spring is in Full Swing at Corkscrew Sanctuary

Florida Weekly (several editions): Enjoy Sights, Sounds of Corkscrew Swamp Through Video

Ft. Myers News-Press: Southwest Florida's parks, preserves face visitor, funding shortfalls amid COVID-19 pandemic
Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary comprises 13,000 acres of sensitive land owned and protected by the National Audubon Society since 1954. Its renowned 2.25-mile boardwalk winds through the world's largest remaining bald cypress forest. Up until the early 1900's few people outside of southern Florida had ever heard of Corkscrew. Learn more about the history of Corkscrew.
The mission of Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is to protect the natural resources of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, its surrounding watershed, and the Western Everglades, and to influence Everglades restoration, for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people through land management, science, education, restoration, and public policy advocacy.
DONATE
Now, more than ever, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary needs your support. In March nd April of 2019 alone, the Blair Audubon Center welcomed more than 31,000 visitors. General admission and membership directly support our operations and conservation efforts. Contributions made during this difficult time will lessen the financial impact on the Sanctuary. We thank you in advance for helping us continue to protect birds and the places they need.
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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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