WOW To Do List: Coral reef talk, Bible study, more

Marco Eagle


Lunch & Learn spotlights sea turtle program

The next “Lunch & Learn,” from noon until 1 p.m., Jan. 10, at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road, Naples, is presented by Jill Schmid, GIS specialist and Sarah Norris, environmental specialist and sea turtle nesting program team lead. They will discuss sea turtle nesting at the reserve with an emphasis on the important role interns play and their contribution to the program over the years. Cost is $15, includes lunch. Preregister (required) at

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Marco Island Bocce League

The Marco Island Bocce League is accepting registrations for the third season starting on Monday, Jan. 13. The purpose of the League is to provide a coordinated bocce activity for the residents and winter vacationers to the Island.  The teams may be made up of both genders. No experience is required; therefore, the skill level will vary. A registration form is available at or may be picked up at the Mackle Park front desk. Information, Charles Pineno at 540-336-4121.

A diver explores the coral reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo, Florida.

Coral reef talk

At 7 p.m., Jan. 17, Roxanne Boonstra presents “Coral Reefs” in Rose History Auditorium, 180 South Heathwood Drive, Marco Island. The “Coral Restoration Foundation” believes that large-scale, massive action is necessary to save the world’s reefs.  As a non-profit marine conservation restoration organization, their core mission is to restore coral reefs, educate others on the importance of our oceans and to use science to further coral research and coral reef monitoring techniques. Boonstra grew up in South Florida and on the local reefs, spending her educational formative years studying the sciences and natural history. You won’t want to miss her fascinating look at the state of our world’s coral reefs and the hope for their future. The program is free to Marco Island Historical Society members, non-members pay $10. Information: 239-389-6447.

Winter Bible Study

If you are a woman who is interested in learning more about what the Bible has to say, you are invited to a Bible study at Marco Presbyterian Church, 875 W. Elkcam Circle. This group will meet from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m., Fridays. The morning will include a video and a discussion in a small group over a cup of coffee. This is an opportunity to learn something new and meet other women, in a friendly setting. beginners are welcome; in fact, we’re hoping to have a group especially for those who are new to Bible study. No need to pre-register; just meet at the church on Friday, Jan. 17 to get your workbook (cost $20). We’ll spend eight weeks studying the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as told in the early chapters of the book of Mark. Information: 239-394-8186.

Festival of Birds

Friday, Jan. 17 through Sunday, Jan. 19 at Rookery Bay, 300 Tower Road, Naples. This annual event allows guests to explore the local environment through guided field trips to wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida, and features nature programs with expert speakers at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Festival of Birds attendees can customize their experiences by selecting from a variety of field trips, including birding walks, kayak tours, buggy rides, swamp “tromps” and boat rides. Trips range in price from $0-$150. Advance registration is required.

Gala of the Royal Horses

From 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 and 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19 at Florida Everglades Equestrian Center, 10811 Strike Lane, Bonita Springs. Equestrian Royalty presented at the highest level in a culturally rich and stunningly beautiful tribute to the Royal Horses. Cost: $40 per person, $15 for children 4-12. Information: 352-208-2244,

Art Fest Naples

Saturday, Jan. 18 and Sunday, Jan. 19 at Fleischmann Park, 1600 Fleischmann Blvd, Naples. Art Fest Naples is a juried show that offers Southwest Florida residents and visitors an opportunity to browse and purchase fine art that includes paintings in oil and acrylic, watercolors, drawings in graphite and pastels, art photography, blown glass, turned wood pieces, sculptures, metal works, ceramics and pottery, fiber art, hand-crafted fine art jewelry and a variety of 2D and 3D mixed media pieces. Information: 239-634-2337,

Silent observance

From noon until 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19, faith communities of Marco Island will gather along Collier Boulevard between CVS and Walgreens to silently and prayerfully show their support for the right to life of all human beings from conception to natural death. Non-graphic pro-life signs will be available at both parking lots. Information: 203-893-5556.

Coffee with a Cop

Join your neighbors and police officers for coffee and conversation from 8 until 10 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22, at Doreen’s Cup of Joe, 267 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island. Information: 239-389-5050.

Mullet Festival

Southwest Florida’s quirkiest and most fun festivals is coming to Goodland, from Jan. 24 until 26 (Friday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday). Enjoy fried and smoked mullet and lots of other fresh seafood and "good eats" along with arts and crafts. Great live music and of course, the annual Buzzard Lope dance contest, culminating with the crowning of the new Buzzard Lope Queen! The Mullet Festival celebrates Old Florida at its finest and carries on the traditions established by Stan Gober (may he rest in peace), whose offbeat music was the inspiration for the Buzzard Lope Dance and Queen Contest. Stan's Idle Hour is located at 221 W. Goodland Drive, Goodland. Information:

Winter Wonderland Dinner/Dance

The annual Winter Wonderland Dinner/Dance will be hosted by the San Marco Columbiettes from 6:30 until 10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25, at the San Marco Parish Center, 851 San Marco Rd., Marco Island. Dinner menu will include salad, prime rib dinner with all the trimmings, dessert and coffee with cash bar. Substitution for beef will be available upon request at time of ticket purchase. There will be a 50/50 drawing and fabulous raffle prizes. Entertainment for your listening and dancing pleasure will be provided by the duo of “Billy Dean & Dawn.”  Tickets are on sale at the Parish Office at $65 per person. Information:  Barbara DeRosa at 239-272-0158, or Mary Cay Moll at 239-394-1016, or Joan Pidherny at 239-642-1447. 

Center presents chalk art

Marco Island Center for the Arts presents Chalk Art from 2 until 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Marco Island Center for the Arts, 1010 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island. The center will host this event, for all ages, in its adjacent parking lot. Even though this is a free event, call or RSVP online today. The Art Center welcomes kids, adults, families and groups. Be prepared to get creative, down, and dusty with us.  All materials are provided free of charge. To let us know you will be attending call the Art Center at 239-394-4221 or visit

McConville presentation

At 7 p.m., Jan. 28, Naturalist Bob McConville returns to Rose History Auditorium, 180 South Heathwood Drive, Marco Island, for another fun and fact-filled presentation: “Out with the old, in with the new.” This fascinating program is a look back at 2019 and a peek at what’s happening in 2020. Dolphin births in north Marco continued to soar this year, turtle hatchlings set a record and some migratory birds took center stage in our area. So, what can we expect in 2020? Come to Rose History Auditorium and hear McConville address dolphins, turtles, sharks, Everglades heath, migratory birds and many other popular topics of the day. The program is free to Marco Island Historical Society members, non-members pay $10. Information: 239-389-6447.


‘The Dixie Swim Club’

In this hilarious, touching comedy, five unforgettable women, whose friendships began on their college swim team over 30 years ago, set aside a long weekend every year to recharge those relationships. Written by trio Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, “The Dixie Swim Club” is set at the same beach cottage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks where the friends meet to catch up, laugh, and meddle in each other’s lives. Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York, is on stage now through Jan. 19, at The Marco Players Theater, Marco Town Center Mall, 1089 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island. Shows are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. and are $32 or $34.  Attend the first week of the show and automatically be entered in a drawing to win a dinner cruise for two on The Marco Island Princess. Tickets are on sale at or by calling the box office at 239-642-7270. 

‘Ms Conceptions’ exhibit

The Florida Chapter of the National Association of Women Artists has been invited by the curator and museum manager of the Marco Island Historical Museum and Gallery to exhibit its members’ work. The exhibition, titled “Ms Conceptions,” is on display now and closes on Jan. 30, at the Museum’s Marco Island campus, located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island.  The exhibit was juried and judged by respected gallerist, Joseph Panarelli of Quidley and Company, Naples, Boston, Nantucket, and Westport. 

Parkinson support

The Marco Island Parkinson care partner support group will resume at 1:30 p.m., each Tuesday during season at United Church of Marco, 320 Barfield Drive, Marco Island. Spouses, parents, children, relatives or friends dealing with Parkinson disease or similar neurological diagnoses are welcome. Marco Island exercise class for persons with Parkinson’s is every Tuesday and Thursday. No need to pre-register. 

Art at the Marco Island Library

The Marco Island Public Library and the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts work cooperatively to provide art shows at the Marco Library branch on Heathwood Drive. Through January features a collection of original watercolors by Marco Island artist Wanda Coady. Coady has painted exclusively in watercolor for 40 years. Inspiration for many of her paintings comes from travel in a variety of countries around the world. 

JCMI Bingo winner Flor Gutierrez with member Dr. Herb Kern.

Monday Night Bingo

Bingo is played every Monday evening at the Synagogue located at 991 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; Bonanza is posted at 6:15 p.m. and the game is called at 7 p.m. A complimentary supper is served to each player consisting of a Kosher hot dog, a special roll, relish, sauerkraut, pickles, chips, coffee, tea, pastry, ice cream and fruit. The cost of a two pack is $17, and a three pack is $24. The game is open to the public. Information: 239-642 0800.

On Jan. 2, the Knights of Columbus San Marco Council #6344 hosted a Bingo Night in the San Marco Parish Center. The winner of the Coach bag was Ryan Custer from Massachusetts.

K of C Bingo

The Knights of Columbus San Marco Council #6344 hosts a Bingo Night every Thursday through April 2 in the San Marco Parish Center with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and Bingo starting at 7. This event was open to the public and everyone was invited for an evening of fun and games. Information: 239-389-5633 or

Farmer’s market at Veterans Community Park

The popular Marco Island Farmer’s Market has returned to Veterans Community Park, held from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays, at Veterans Community Park, 901 Park Avenue. Local Southwest Florida vendors will be selling home good items and crafts Items include: fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, salsa, sauces, fresh flowers, seafood, soaps, and much more. Information:

Rookery Bay

Touch, see and explore Southwest Florida’s coastal environment at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Experience hands-on, interactive exhibits including marine-life touch tanks and habitat displays. Enjoy trails, naturalist-led programs, nature-viewing bridge over the water and more. Kids and adults alike can explore the center and discover the plants, fish and wildlife that call Rookery Bay Research Reserve’s 110,000 acres home. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 6. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located at 300 Tower Road, Naples. Information or 239-530-5940.

Science Saturdays

Rookery Bay’s Science Saturdays are now year-round and free for kids 12 and under. Different coastal theme each Saturday. Admission $5 for adults, free for kids 12 and under. Enjoy eco-crafts, a presentation, a featured film and our “Lessons in Laboratories” program from 11-11:45 a.m. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located at 300 Tower Road, Naples. Information or 239-530-5940.

Friends of Rookery Bay expands eco-tour offerings

Friends of Rookery Bay now offers guided boat trips in addition to guided kayak trips that explore the 110,000-acre Rookery Bay Reserve in Naples. All tours are small groups led by active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors with Rising Tide Explorers, the Friends of Rookery Bay’s exclusive eco-tour partner. Learn more and book at or call 239-530-5972.

Key Marco Cat 

The Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) celebrates its 25th Anniversary with the culmination of their quest to bring home the enigmatic Key Marco Cat and other rare 500 to 1,500-year-old Pre-Columbian Native American artifacts discovered on Marco Island in 1896. The artifacts return on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. They will be showcased in an exhibit at the Marco Island Historical Museum from now through April 2021. The Marco Island Historical Museum is located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free. For information, call 239.389.6447 or visit

Naturalist-Led Kayak Tours

Join Rookery Bay Research Reserve for a kayak adventure into the beautiful back waters of Rookery Bay Reserve with our exclusive ecotour partner, Rising Tide Explorers! All the guides are active local biologists, certified naturalists and certified kayaking instructors making them the most qualified guides in the region. The whole family can enjoy a memorable and educational adventure into the estuary. With our kayak tours, guests paddle through beautiful mangrove tunnels, teeming mudflats and intricate oyster reefs while searching for amazing wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphins and manatees! Get out and explore the backwaters Rookery Bay Research Reserve. Visit to register for tours today. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and is located at 300 Tower Road, Naples. Information or 239-530-5940.

Calling all friends over 60

Join the Marco YMCA and Our Daily Bread Food Pantry for a free lunch the third Wednesday of each month at Marco Lutheran Church. With the support of local restaurants, businesses and sponsors, a luncheon (free of charge) is open to all area residents “60 or better.” Each monthly event includes a time for networking, lunch, a program, and door prizes.  Rides are also offered. Information: 706-566-8532.  

Lupus support

The Marco/Naples lupus support group meets the third Saturday of each month at Physicians Regional Medical Center, 8300 Collier Blvd, Naples. Meetings are held from 10:30 a.m. until noon in the Palm Dining Room.  Open to all patients, families and interested parties. Learn to live and cope with Lupus, get current information. Contact Marilyn, 239-398-4800 or Jan, 239-389-2749.

Round Robin Tennis

Round Robin Tennis is available at various times and days for men and women at the Greater Marco Family YMCA, 101 Sand Hill Street, Marco Island. Eight clay courts are available. Round Robins are free to Marco YMCA members and $15 for community participants. Players must register to play in Round Robins. Registration or information: 239-394-3144, ext. 224.


Women’s group to honor Fiala

The Marco Island chapter of P.E.O International will honor long-time Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala as “Woman of the Year,” Feb. 5, at a gala event that will do double-duty as a fundraiser for a variety of educational assistance programs for women. Guests will have two separate opportunities on Feb. 5 to enjoy this event, a preview party and an evening gala. The event will also include a silent auction of high-end items and services. The preview party, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., will include complimentary sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres.  Preview Party tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. The evening gala with Donna Fiala begins at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at  7 p.m. Evening gala tickets are $125.  For ticket information, call 239-231-3972. The event will be held at Marco Lutheran Church, 525 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.

Imagination Ball

The American Cancer Society presents “A Celebration for a Cure,” the 2020 Imagination Ball, March 6, at the JW Marriott Marco Island. This celebration of life will feature both live and silent auctions, fine food, music and so much more. The celebration will burst with hope and good cheer as the prestigious Grado Award is presented to Curt and Jacquie Koon of CJ’s on the Bay in honor of their dedication and support of the American Cancer Society. For more information: 239-642-6217 or

Become a better boater

America’s Boating Club – Marco Island (ABClub-MI) recently announced its boating education program for the 2019-20 season. The curse meets for five 2.25 hour sessions over two and a half weeks. It will be offered on March 9. Information: Peggy Reiss at 239-213-8686.

For more event listings, navigate to the Entertainment section and click on the WOW To Do List at Calendar items must be emailed to and should be submitted at least a week before desired publication.