On a beautiful, sunny morning, the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary held a “soft opening” of the new nature trail.
The trail was completed thanks to the time and hard work of the Nature Preserve’s volunteers who spread 80 tons of oyster shells that were dumped in piles along a cut-out pathway. The 8 feet wide by 1800 feet long nature trail meanders through almost 12 acres of natural land that is dotted with butterflies, wildflowers, native plants, and trees.
Currently, an extensive wildflower and native plant identification program is underway with the skillful assistance of the Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island, the Naples Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, and FGCU’s Department of Science and Environmental Studies. Plans are also underway for the Nature Preserve’s future butterfly, native plant, and pioneer gardens.
This year, the Nature Preserve’s bald eagles are not nesting but they remain in the Preserve. The eagles use the nest to consume their fish and leave the nest when they finish their meal. It is not unusual to see osprey immediately swoop into the nest looking for leftovers.
Nest activities may also be seen on the eagle cam by visiting the Nature Preserve’s website www.MarcoIslandNaturePreserve.org. The eagle cam was made possible by donations from Marco Island’s Calusa Garden Club, citizens and tourists, with a fully matching donation made by local resident, Dave Gardner, in honor of his late wife Anne.
The nature trail, located at 665 Tigertail Court, is free to the public and open from dawn to dusk. To protect the wildlife habitat, smoking, pets, and bikes are prohibited.
The public is invited to stop by the Nature Preserve for a free “Coffee With The Birds” on Saturday, March 13 from 8 to 10 AM.
The Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary is a 50l (c) (3), 100% volunteer organization. For additional information call 239-269-1754.