Events & Volunteer Opportunities


Events
Brews on the Bay, May 13, 2017

Wading Trips
(2/20/17 – 5/15/2017)
Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve 50th Anniversary, December 2, 2016
National Estuaries Day Paddle, October 1, 2016
National Marina Day, June 11, 2016

Volunteer Opportunities
Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve Rookery Monitoring Program (1/9/17 – 4/19/17)
Charlotte Harbor Estuaries Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Network (CHEVWQMN)
Monofilament Madness, October 29, 2016
National Public Lands Day, September 24, 2016
International Coastal Cleanup, September 17, 2016
2016 July 5th Cleanup


Wading Trips in the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve

Participants will take a refreshing journey into the waters of the bay, wading into mudflats and seagrass beds at low tide to find many of the plants and animals that call this estuary home. Dip and seine nets will be provided for participants to collect organisms such as fish,shrimp, crabs and snails. The organisms will be placed in buckets or magnifiers for attendees to take a closer look and learn how each living creature plays an important role in the ecosystem.

Wading Trip

Wading trips are free, but registration is required. Register here.  Participants are required to wear closed-toed shoes that can get wet, such as old tennis shoes or diving booties, and a swimsuit or shorts

*Directions to the wading trip location will be provided upon registration.


 Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve 50th Anniversary, December 2, 2016
Dinner, Silent Auction &
Clyde Butcher Exhibition of Florida Aquatic Preserve Images
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa, Bonita Springs, Florida
5:00 pm

50th Logo

Tickets: $75.00

The dinner and silent auction will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Florida’s aquatic preserves and acknowledge the citizens involved in the grassroots movement to protect Estero Bay over 50 years ago. A historical retrospective, oral history footage and keynote speakers will take you back in time through the rich history of Estero Bay and the aquatic preserve program. Renowned photographer and longtime friend of the aquatic preserves, Clyde Butcher, will be in attendance, and all guests will receive a signed poster commemorating the 50th Anniversary, a t-shirt featuring the 50th Anniversary image, and a canvas tote bag with the 50th Anniversary logo.

Proceeds will benefit community outreach activities, internship opportunities and science-based education programs within the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and Estero Bay Preserve State Park.

Learn more about the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve

Learn about how to sponsor or donate to the 50th Anniversary Events

See the Silent Auction items


Charlotte Harbor Estuaries Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Network (CHEVWQMN)

MapLocations of EBAP sampling sites for the CHEVWQMN Program

Volunteers:
Volunteers are a fundamental part of the Charlotte Harbor Estuaries Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Network (CHEVWQMN) program. Estero Bay is 11,000 acres, and there are seven sites within the estuary that are monitored by Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve (EBAP) volunteers every month. Volunteers calibrate instruments and use them to measure water quality parameters, collect water samples and record data.

EBAP, natural resource managers and local and state officials use the data collected through CHEVWQMN to make regulatory decisions regarding submerged lands and surrounding areas, create water quality reports and models, set numeric criteria for nutrients and dissolved oxygen statewide, set a baseline for estuary conditions and educate the public on water quality and trends.

Sampling:
Monitoring takes place on the first Monday of every month within one hour of sunrise and requires two to three hours of volunteers’ time. EBAP provides all equipment needed for collecting samples and data. Volunteers are assigned a sampling site that they monitor every month for the following parameters:

• Physical: wind speed and direction, surface conditions, tide, water depth, color, clarity and temperature
• Chemical: salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH and nitrogen and phosphorous levels
• Biological: chlorophyll a and fecal coliform bacteria levels

Volunteering is not only a wonderful learning opportunity, but working in Estero Bay at sunrise also provides possibilities for wildlife sightings.

Tom+Dolphin

Left: Tom Winter is a longtime volunteer for the CHEVWQMN program.
Right: Bottlenose dolphins are often seen swimming in Estero Bay.

How Do I Sign Up?

If you would like to participate in the CHEVWQMN program, please contact Rebecca Flynn at Rebecca.Flynn@dep.state.fl.us or 239-530-1002.

Training:
Training will be provided at the EBAP office, as needed. Twice a year, volunteers will be required to attend a meeting to discuss quality assurance and any protocol updates.

Safety is a priority! Volunteers are responsible for deciding if weather and water conditions permit safe sampling at their site each month.

Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve office:
700-1 Fisherman’s Wharf
Fort Myers Beach, Florida 33931
Located on San Carlos Island
Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve

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Brews on the Bay, May 13, 2017
Buy Tickets Here
Snook Bay Yacht Club and Marina
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Brews On the Bay


Monofilament Madness, October 29, 2016
Keep Lee County Beautiful
Mound House, Fort Myers Beach
7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

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The Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve office and the Estero Bay Buddies will be participating in the annual Keep Lee County Beautiful Monofilament Madness event and would love for you to join us! Monofilament fishing line is pervasive in the marine environment and presents an entanglement threat for marine life as well as wading and diving birds. Please come out and take part in the event to help remove fishing line and other trash from the environment. Please bring gloves (to protect your hands from hooks), something to cut fishing line and wear close-toed shoes. And don’t forget to bring water, sunscreen, and insect repellent!

Space on the EBAP boats is limited so please let us know if you would like to participate with us.  Otherwise, see Keep Lee County Beautiful for additional ways and locations to participate.


National Estuaries Day Paddle, October 1, 2016
Estero River Outfitters
2991 South Tamiami Tr. Estero, FL 33928
8:30 AM intermediate paddle (two-hour downstream paddle)
9:00 AM beginner paddle (one-hour downstream paddle)

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Join the Estero Bay Buddies and Estero River Outfitters as we enjoy National Estuaries Day by paddling down the Estero River.EBB Boat Trip-4

Since 1988, National Estuaries Day has celebrated the many ways these special ecosystems enrich our lives.  Organizations across the country organize clean-ups, hikes, workshops, and more to support and appreciate their estuaries.  More importantly, National Estuaries Day gives veterans and newbies alike the perfect excuse to spend time on the water.

To RSVP, please call Estero River Outfitters at 239-992-4050.

On the day of the paddle, please arrive 20 minutes early to check-in and get equipment.  Also, dress for success in clothes that can get wet and bring a hat, water bottle, sunscreen, and insect repellent. 


Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve Rookery Monitoring Program
Estero Bay: 700-1 Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 (located on San Carlos Island)
Lover’s Key: 8700 Estero Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134

Fig. 1

Figure 1: Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) incubating. Photo by Melissa Groo.

About: Volunteers play an integral role in the Rookery Monitoring and Protection Program. They help conduct nest count surveys, record data and, with proper training, captain the boat. Regardless of bird watching experience, this is a great opportunity to learn! The data volunteers collect are published and used to make management decisions within the bay and across the state.  Surveys would not be possible without the contributions of our volunteers! Help us conduct nest counts, record data, and with proper training, captain the boat. The data we collect is published in the annual South Florida Wading Bird Report, Florida Scientist, Estero Bay State of the Bay Report, and is used to make management decisions within the bay and across the state. Join us for a fun experience and learning opportunity!Rookery Schedule

Methods: Perimeter surveys of 25 islands throughout Estero Bay are conducted from a 17-foot Boston Whaler once a month. Primary and secondary observers count active nests while the captain slowly circles each island. The recorder tracks all nests called out by the primary and secondary observers.

Survey counts indicate the number and nesting status of active nests. Nests are grouped into three categories: “incubating” if the adult is in an incubating posture (Figure 1) or if eggs are visible; “chick” if a chick or chicks are present at or near the nest (Figure 2) and are still being cared for by an adult (Figure 3); or “unknown” if an adult is present at the nest but no eggs or chicks are visible (Figure 4), if the pair is copulating or if adults are observed presenting sticks for nest building.  Birds not on nests are not recorded; nests with multiple chicks are recorded as one nest. The average of the two observers’ counts is reported.
Fig. 2&3

Figure 2: (left) Adult Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) with chick. Figure 3: (right) Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) adult teaching chicks how to fly. Photos by Melissa Groo.

How Do I Sign Up?

Training is provided to volunteers on site on the day of the survey. Surveys take approximately 6 hours. If you would like to participate in the Rookery Monitoring and Protection program, please contact Kelsey Lang at kelsey.lang@dep.state.fl.us or call 239-530-1003. Please notify staff of cancellations as soon as possible. If surveys must be canceled due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, volunteers will be contacted as soon as possible with details and backup dates. 

What to Pack and Where to Meet:

Please bring bottled water, food, binoculars, sunscreen and rain gear. The boat leaves from one of two launch sites:
Estero Bay: 700-1 Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931 (located on San Carlos Island) Lover’s Key: 8700 Estero Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134 (located on the east side of the road across from the main entrance to Lover’s Key State Park)

Fig. 4

Figure 4: Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), nesting status unknown. Photo by Geri Biggs.


23rd Annual National Public Lands Day, September 24, 2016
Estero Bay Preserve State Park: Winkler Point
Time: TBA

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About 30% of America’s land is public land–from our national and neighborhood parks to our beaches and more.  National Public Lands Day, in its 23rd year, is the largest, single-day volunteer event in support of public lands.  Join the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve office and the Estero Bay Buddies as we work to protect, connect community members with, and inspire environmental stewardship for the Estero Bay Preserve State Park.  Please bring gloves  and wear close-toed shoes. And don’t forget to bring water, sunscreen, and insect repellent!


International Coastal Cleanup, September 17, 2016
Ocean Conservancy
New Pass in Bonita Springs – parking is available on both sides of the road
8:30 a.m.

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The International Coastal Cleanup has been going on for nearly 30 years. Volunteers remove trash that threatens marine wildlife, human health, and local economies from their local beaches and waterways. The trash collected is used to generate data on the prevalence of different types of trash and amounts found in different regions of the world. It provides a global snapshot of the debris on our coasts and in our waterways.

Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and the Estero Bay Buddies would love for you to join us as we take part in this year’s cleanup!

Please bring gloves and wear close-toed shoes. And don’t forget to bring water, sunscreen, and insect repellent!


2016 July 5th Cleanup!
New Pass in Bonita Springs – parking is available on both sides of the road
9:30 a.m.

Join Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve staff and the Estero Bay Buddies as we cleanup the bay after the July 4th celebration. The July 5th cleanup offers the opportunity to help the bay by getting out and cleaning up discarded trash from fireworks and festivities.

Please bring gloves and wear close-toed shoes. And don’t forget to bring water, sunscreen, and insect repellent!


 National Marina Day, June 11, 2016
Fish-Tale Marina
7225 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, Florida
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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National Marina Day is nationwide boating event dedicated to grow boating participation across North America. Marine businesses collaborate to hold events to introduce the public to boating through on-water and land-side activities at marinas in every corner of the country.

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Fish-Tale Marina is excited to participate in the 2016 National Marina Day program. They welcome boaters and non-boaters to their marina to experience the marina lifestyle. Educational experiences will be offered by Ostego Bay Marine Science Center and Turtle Time, and the Fish-Tale Marina staff will be available at no cost to the public.  Dolphin Cruise tours will be discounted as well. They hope you join them!