Rookery ed coordinator speaks to CAP

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Sarah Falkowski, education coordinator, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve presented an informative briefing on the environment that Marco Island Senior Squadron (MICAP) flies over regularly. Rookery Bay – the area MICAP and its members call home.

Falkowski delighted the audience with factual content interspersed with interesting video and good humor.

Sarah Falkowski, education coordinator, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve presented an informative briefing on the environment to the Marco Island Civil Air Patrol.

She explained, RBNERR is managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Florida International University, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association.

The long history of area that now makes up Rookery Bay’ 110,000 acres dates back to the Calusa Indians. The Calusa were indigenous people who inhabited much of coastal Southwest Florida approximately 2,500 years ago. Evidence and artifacts of their culture and society are still being discovered in what is now Rookery Bay, a current sanctuary for sea and wildlife which began its inception in the 1960’s.

Rookery Bay’s human connections to the socioeconomic system helped define its mission: To practice and promote stewardship of our coastline, estuaries and coastal land through innovative research, education, and training using a place-based system of protected areas.

The goal of Rookery Bay is to ensure the resiliency of our estuaries (and coastal watersheds). Estuaries, otherwise known as nurseries for the sea life that is born here then relocate to the Gulf of Mexico and the Oceans.

Falkowski emphasized that by bridging science, management and community involvement the result will lead to resilient, productive and adaptable ecosystems and human communities.

She also explained that a visit to Rookery Bay has so much fun in store for kids and families and invited MICAP to visit the Environmental Learning Center, explore Rookery Bay with nature tours by boat and kayak or just take in a lecture given by staff biologists, ornithologists, and volunteer Master Naturalists.