Guest Commentary: Nest Fest supports our feathered friends

The Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation (MESF) is celebrating their first annual “Nest Fest on from 4:30 to 7 p.m., May 1, at Marco Island’s Art League Center for the Arts, 1010 Winterberry Drive.

This wine and hors d’oeuvres fundraising event will focus on the protection of Marco Island’s bald eagles and the preservation of their 11.6 acre habitat, the Marco Eagle Sanctuary located on Tigertail Court. The guest speaker is Randy McCormick, Environmental Manager at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve who will discuss native and environmentally friendly landscaping.

Naples’ well known nature photographer, Dennis Goodman, has graciously donated beautifully matted eagle photographs for this event which will be raffled off to Founding Members. Admission is $15 per person but free to all founding members.

Less than 50 years ago, Marco Island was a quiet tropical, four by six mile island located in a sunny paradise. It was surrounded by mangroves, abundant with wildlife and was once known as an eagle sanctuary as it was home to many bald eagles. After years of dredging canals, residential building and increasing commercial development, Marco Island currently is left with minimal green space, dying mangroves and only two bald eagle nests.

MESF, a 501 (c) 3, began as a small group of concerned citizens dedicated to the protection of bald eagles as well as the preservation and conservation of green space. It is the goal of MESF to create an eagle sanctuary in an eco-park environment with newly planted Slash pines, native flowers, plants, and park benches. The MESF will partner its’ efforts with local schools for education of wildlife while serving the community, nature enthusiasts and visitors as a nature and wildlife attraction. To learn more about MESF, visit

Bald eagles mate for life and return to their traditional nest by October 1st to produce from one to three eggs. Around Dec. 18, two eaglets hatched at the Marco Eagle Sanctuary nest site. By March 11, both eaglets ventured out on their first shaky flights over the entire Tigertail Court habitat as onlookers nervously watched and cheered. During this current nesting season, the Marco Eagle Sanctuary nest site has been a very busy attraction not only to local residents but also many Collier County residents and tourists. A significant increase of traffic has been observed with visitors from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe.

All citizens, nature enthusiasts and conservational advocates are invited to come celebrate at the May 1 Nest Fest as MESF and the fledglings each take flight in their new journey. Checks are to be made payable and sent to MESF, P.O. Box 983, Marco Island, FL, 34146. There is no admission charge for Founding Members; however RSVP is still requested. To become a Founding Member or for additional information, call 239 394-9285 or email

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