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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary to Host Monthly "After Hours" Beginning Oct. 18
Corkscrew Introduces New "Landmark Trees Project" During the Event
Naples, FL (October 4, 2012) - "Corkscrew After Hours" is a new series of monthly night events beginning Thursday, October 18, when Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's environmental educators will offer guided and independent excursions through an ancient forest under a bright moon; quiet zones to hear a cacophony of chattering bats, hooting owls and croaking frogs; a telescope to glimpse planets and stars, and the opportunity to espy glowing alligator eyes and night herons.
The Sanctuary's Blair Audubon Center and renowned 2.25 mile boardwalk will stay open until 9 p.m. on each month's "After Hours" event. Working with the Everglades Astronomical Society, Corkscrew scheduled "After Hours" on nights when the moon is close to earth and appears brightest. The 10-month series extends through July 12, 2013. There is no additional charge beyond the regular admission of $12 per adult; $6 for college students with ID; $4 for children 6 to 18 years old, and free for children under 6.
In addition to boardwalk experiences, visitors will enjoy live music, art exhibits and environmental educational programs that combine discussion with exploration. Each "After Hours" offers a different educational theme from bats and bird migration to winter and summer solstices. On October 18, the focus is on bats. Esteemed wildlife photographer Ralph Arwood will use acoustical monitoring equipment to locate bats on the boardwalk, and Panther Island Resource Manager Allyson Webb will lead a bat-focused boardwalk tour from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m., using a bat detector to eavesdrop on bats as they navigate and forage.
"Landmark Trees Project" Debuts
An "After Hours" highlight is the introduction of Corkscrew's new "Landmark Trees Project" that identifies unique bald cypress trees within the ancient swamp forest where the oldest residents are more than 500 years old. Visitors will learn about each tree's history and role within the active and thriving preserve. A different tree will be inducted into the "Landmark Trees Project" during each monthly "After Hours" event.
Landmark Tree I is a massive giant with an 80-foot height that belies its expansive girth. It is notable for the twisted tangle of a living strangler fig draped at its base and scaling the main trunk, producing succulent fruits each season to feed mixed flocks of migratory birds. More than 50 years ago hurricane Donna topped this tree, depositing a 30-foot section of trunk in the peat to become a nursery log for a new and diverse generation of plants. Visitors are encouraged to lie on their backs on the boardwalk to appreciate the tree's huge branches.
Sanctuary Manager Jason Lauritsen, who conceived the "Landmark Trees" project, comments, "This is a beautiful tree, an iconic resident of Corkscrew, the likes of which have populated this ground for more than 5,000 years."
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary comprises nearly 13,000 acres of fragile land owned and protected by the National Audubon Society since 1954. It is Southwest Florida's premier outdoor environmental learning center, with a 2.25 mile meandering boardwalk traversing three major habitats, and a visitor center that features a nature store, tea room, theatre with a running show about the region's environmental history and challenges, and classrooms for students and private events. It is located in the heart of the western Everglades, just northeast of Naples, 15 miles from I-75 on Immokalee Road (Exit 111). Hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. year-round. Entrance fees cover two consecutive days of admission and are $12 per adult; $6 for college students with ID; $4 for children six to 18 years old, and free for children six and under. National Audubon Society members who present their ID card are offered a 50% discount of $6 for two consecutive days' admission.
"After Hours" Educational Themes
Thursday, October 18, 2012: Bats
Wednesday, November 28, 2012: Bird Migration
Friday, December 21, 2012: Winter Solstice
Wednesday, January 23, 2013: Stars & Planets
Wednesday, February 20, 2013: Stars & Planets
Wednesday, March 20, 2013: Stars & Planets
Wednesday, April 17, 2013: Bird Migration
Wednesday, May 22, 2013: Reptiles & Frogs
Friday, June 21, 2013: Summer Solstice
Friday, July 12, 2013: Moths, Fireflies & Ghost Orchid