Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters on the Gulf coast near Naples. This expansive amount of acreage requires a large team of staff members and volunteers to keep the area pristine. Rookery Bay Reserve is seeking 10 to 15 new volunteers who are year-round Florida residents.

Volunteering allows participants to learn about the local environment while helping the state of Florida preserve natural resources and cultural heritage for future generations. Volunteers at Rookery Bay Reserve have the opportunity to assist in many areas including research, education, resource management, facilities and administration.

“We provide training to all volunteers,” says Donna Young, visitor services and volunteer coordinator at Rookery Bay Reserve. “We are especially looking for people who wish to share their passion for the environment by providing daily programs on topics such as manatees, sharks and shells. Other tasks include feeding the aquarium fish and showing off the marine life in the Touch Tank, as well as leading guided walks on the Snail Trail.”

Volunteers can also assist with special events, workshops and art gallery receptions, help staff at the front desk and assist the Friends of Rookery Bay in maintaining the merchandise in the Palmetto Patch Nature Store. The Environmental Learning Center also has a Florida-friendly garden in need of maintenance volunteers.

Volunteers provide a much-needed work force that can expand and enhance the reserve’s potential achievements. Year-round Florida resident volunteers are needed to meet the commitment level that is crucial for many of the volunteer positions. Shifts are flexible and hours vary per position.

The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center serves as an interpretive gateway into the 110,000-acre reserve. It features interactive exhibits, aquariums, a nature store, art gallery, observation bridge, walking trails and daily programs. Volunteers help shine a spotlight on the unique native plants and animals, while guided walks and kayak and boat tours provide opportunities to explore the estuary.

Volunteers are encouraged to contact Donna Young, visitor services and volunteer coordinator at 239.530.5974 or email volunteer@rookerybay.org. For more information about Rookery Bay Reserve visit www.rookerybay.org.


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