Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Exploring Keewaydin Island for FMNP

While I take my Florida Master Naturalist classes to Keewaydin Island every year, the experience never gets old, and is always unique. My most recent trip last Friday was certainly no different (I can say it was the wettest trip I ever led thanks to late afternoon rains!)Keewaydin or Key island is an unbridged 8-mile-long barrier island off the coast of Naples, Florida. Over ninety percent of the island is managed by Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The island makes for an excellent outdoor classroom to teach about barrier island ecology as well as the importance of balancing resource protection with public access. My colleagues and I lead our students on a walking transect of the southern end of the island where they can see how quickly the island's different plant communities switch based on various environmental conditions such as elevation, soil types, wind exposure, and temperature to name a few. In a matter of a few hundred yards, we walked through a tidal mangrove creek, coastal strand community, primary and secondary dune system, and of course Keewaydin's beautiful beach.  Enjoy the pictures!
Arriving at the island
Examining the low energy shoreline of Key Island
Me pointing out the pneumataphores associated with black mangroves

Our ride to the island

Mangrove identification practice

Traversing through a mangrove creek

A quick lesson on how mangroves deal with salt in the estuarine environment

One of many fiddler crabs found

Got fiddler crab?
Moving into the coastal transition (aka strand) zone

Marco Island in the distance

The flower of the Prickly Pear Cactus

Examining the wrack line (looks like they found a Lightning Whelk egg case)

So many cool finds along the beach

A horse conch egg case on the left and a lightning whelk

Renee Wilson from Rookery Bay talks to the group about the "fish stunning" abilities of the Jamaican Dogwood tree

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