Close your eyes and imagine a place where birdsong fills the air instead of traffic noise. A place where giant trees surround you; trees that have been growing since before America was born. A wild landscape where Florida panthers, river otters, and wading birds thrive. This is Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the cathedral of the Western Everglades.
NATURE PROGRAMS AND TOURS
Guided tours at the Sanctuary resumed in 2022, providing guests an up close and personal experience of the swamp. Offerings include Friday morning boardwalk tours, ancient forest tours, early birding walks, and sunset strolls. Monthly special events, including the recent Free Admission Day in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the National Natural Landmark Program, and the June Summer Solstice Sunset Celebration, have welcomed new visitors to experiences on the boardwalk. One of the most exciting happenings this summer is the new Wild Florida Adventure Camp for children ages 6-10 years at the Sanctuary. All summer long, weekly themes with fun, interactive, hands-on activities invite campers to explore the natural wonders of the swamp through activities that integrate science, arts, music, movement, drama, and more. Find the entire lineup of programs at Corkscrew.Audubon.org/programs.
SERVICE DAYS PROVIDE HELPING HANDS
We are so fortunate for the tremendous support we receive from corporate partners including Florida Power & Light Co. and Publix Super Markets. This spring, both companies each sent a team of enthusiastic employees ready to lend a hand. The volunteers painted our administration building, trimmed back branches and overgrown vegetation in the parking lot, and cleared vegetation around our sprinkler tank, among other duties. In exchange, they enjoyed spending free time on the boardwalk and left with the satisfaction of knowing their efforts were an investment in nature conservation.
TRACKING BIRDS IN FLIGHT
Staff at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary recently installed a Motus Wildlife Tracking System station as part of Audubon’s Migratory Bird Initiative. Located in the Sanctuary’s backcountry, the antenna picks up radio signals emitted from birds outfitted with tracking devices if their flight path takes them within seven miles of the tower. The station joins a growing network of 16 stations in the Audubon network and countless others around the world. The information collected by the antenna is uploaded to a database where researchers, who use tracking technology, can see the exact date and time when the tagged bird was in the vicinity of a tower.
By monitoring details about the timing and duration of migratory flights for individual birds of many species, scientists can gain a better understanding of the timing and seasonal duration of migration. The data also informs land managers about birds’ seasonal habitat preferences, helping our staff learn more about the role the Sanctuary plays as a stopover point of passage for migratory birds.
Friends of Corkscrew members enjoy free admission to the boardwalk all year and now get early bird boardwalk access at 7AM one day a month, from May to September. Not a member? Join today: Corkscrew.Audubon.org/friends.
This story was published in the Summer issue of Audubon Naturalist.