Friday, December 3, 2021

‘Batfish Bash’ to honor Ted Below

Friends of Rookery Bay announces that Ted Below of Naples is the Honorary Chair and honoree for the 3rd annual Batfish Bash for the Bay from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road in Naples.

The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserved hired Below as its avian ecologist from 2003 through 2009. Below, 87, was the National Audubon Society’s warden for the Rookery Bay Sanctuary from 1982 to 1994 and also worked for five years as the resource manager at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. From 1978 to 1983 he was a director, president and vice president of the Florida Ornithological Society. Below began an annual count of brown pelicans and other coastal waterbirds in 1972. He has conducted more than 4,000 censuses identifying more than 9 million individual birds, a breadth and depth of work that is immeasurably valuable.

Tickets for Batfish Bash are now on sale. The event features a cocktail hour, “wild” silent auction, Old Florida fare food stations, and dancing to the Raiford Starke Band. A pre-event Patron Party will be held March 1 at Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a private sunset cruise aboard luxury yachts. Tickets are $175 for the Bash and $250 to include the Patron Party event, with proceeds benefiting youth science education, environmental research activities and community outreach programs. Call 417-6310 x410, visit or for more information.

David Gordley of Iberia Bank is Event Chair, and Jennifer Varoski is Patron Party Chair. Committee members include Liz Black, Clay Brooker, Amelia Horadam, Judy Hushon, Shalyn Ormsby, Bruce Robertson, Sharda Spahr, Mike Tighe, Emily Watt, Paul Westbury and Claudine Wetzel.

Fifth Third Bank is Title Sponsor. Additional sponsors are Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club, MarineMax, Naples Illustrated and Artistic Science.

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