Saturday, November 27, 2021

National Estuaries Day



By Erin and Amelia Perchalski

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve celebrated National Estuaries Day on Saturday, September 26 by offering many unique, free experiences.

Boat tours of the bay were given throughout the day, along with opening up the research lab. Many vendors filled the Environmental Learning Center with displays from Collier Mosquito Control District, Florida State Parks, the Audubon Society, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Marco Sportfishing Club, Marco Shell Club and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, just to name a few. Kids and adults alike enjoyed the touch tank, filled with living sea creatures, and many got to try out paddle boarding and kayaking right behind the center.

Local student correspondent, Amelia Perchalski, who is in 5th grade at Everglades City School, particularly enjoyed the lab tour. In her words,


We went on a lab tour at Rookery Bay, and the group and I entered the lab and it was on dun dun dun dun! Just kidding. The interpreter talked about all different kinds of things. He talked to us about what they do in the lab, then

Patrick O’Donnell, fisheries biologist, talks about his shark research.

Patrick O’Donnell, fisheries biologist, talks about his shark research.

he showed us a probe they use for finding the different qualities of the water. Then we went on to another researcher, he is one of the people who works there that goes out on one of their boats and does research on sharks and other fish. He also takes volunteers out and does his research with them. He does it at nighttime. If you are interested in volunteering, visit the website at, then sign up to be a volunteer, then look at some programs. He focuses on mostly shark research. He showed us charts of the places he does research in. Then he let us go around his part of the lab and look at the different types of fish and sharks he had preserved in glass jars. These animals were some of the ones that unfortunately did not make it, when they were collecting the data on it.

If you go:

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center

Open: Monday-Saturday 9 AM to 4 PM

Admission: Adults $5. Children, ages 6-12 $3

Children under 6 are free. Check the website for information on boat and kayak tours.



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