Every year Audubon Florida recognizes the state's leading conservationists with a suite of annual awards. This year awards were presented both virtually and as part of a small, local ceremony in Southwest Florida held at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary on December 2.
Guy Bradley - an Audubon Warden in the Everglades - was murdered by wading bird poachers in 1905. His death galvanized the conservation movement, eventually resulting in the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Each year, Audubon Florida recognizes an individual for their contributions to bird conservation with an award in Guy Bradley’s honor.
Michael Longo earned this year’s Guy Bradley Award for his tireless protection and monitoring of nesting Least Terns on the roof of his business, Naples Floral Designs.
As their historic nesting habitat on dunes and beaches has been developed, state Threatened Least Terns have flocked to gravel rooftops to successfully raise their chicks away from human disturbance. Unfortunately, these islands in the sky pose their own dangers, and enthusiastic chicks following parents flying off to feed frequently end up down gutters and in parking lots below. Least Terns began nesting on the rooftop of Longo’s Naples business in 2020, and since then, Longo has rescued fallen chicks, called local rehabbers when needed, allowed his roof to be “chick-proofed”, assisted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with their protection of these colonies, alerted staff when workers need to access the rooftop, and so much more. Thank you, Michael, for giving these birds a safe place to nest and breed!