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Spend time in nature at Corkscrew Swamp or CREW trails

Morning light on boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Morning light on boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Visiting Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary or spending time on the CREW trails will enlighten all those who wish to take advantage of Southwest Florida’s nature and wildlife.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Explore the Western Everglades with a guided experience or educational program at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The sanctuary, located in Naples, has announced the return of boardwalk naturalists, knowledgeable staff stationed throughout the 2¼ -mile boardwalk as a resource for guests.

“Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the few places where you can experience an ancient bald-cypress forest without getting your feet wet,” said Renee Wilson, senior communication coordinator at Audubon Florida & Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located at 375 Sanctuary Road W., Naples off Immokalee Road).

Early Birding Walk
Jan. 24, 31; Feb. 7, 14, 21; March 7, 14, 21.
8a.m. – 11a.m.
Cost: $30 per person (online registration required)

Bike the Loop at Bird Rookery Swamp Trail, a CREW trail.

Bike the Loop at Bird Rookery Swamp Trail, a CREW trail.

Experience the sights and sounds of the awakening swamp with a sanctuary naturalist guiding you to look for birds. Learn about the birds’ life habits and the importance to these birds of the native upland and freshwater wetland plants and habitats that occur at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Plus, learn what you can do to help improve habitats for birds.

Register at corkscrew.audubon.org/guided-walks.

Sunset Stroll
Jan. 4, 23.
Program times vary with sunset times.
Cost: $40 per person (online registration required)

This naturalist-guided tour on the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary boardwalk leads you into the swamp as the day draws to a close. As twilight approaches, many creatures are winding down their days as nocturnal creatures are beginning theirs. Watch sunset from the observation tower, then listen to the sounds as the day changes to night. Search for nocturnal creatures on the way back to the visitor center and learn about some of their adaptations that enable them to be nocturnal.

Register at corkscrew.audubon.org/guided-walks.

CREW Land & Water Trust

A mosaic of ecosystems make up the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW). “CREW wants to introduce people to nature whether they are new to the area or would like spending time enjoying different aspects of the environment here in Southwest Florida,” said Julie Motkowicz, education coordinator with CREW. The following events require registration. Go to CREWTrust.org for more details and to register.

Family hike
Jan. 7.
9 a.m-11 a.m.
Cost: Free

This two-hour (1½ miles on the yellow trail) hike is offered the first Saturday of every month from November through April.

Get to know the extra-wide paths of the marsh — perfect for kids to explore – with an experienced guide this season. These new family-focused guided walks will engage everyone in your household. The trails are home to hands-on experiences like wildflower smelling, bug identification, and good old-fashioned running in the woods.

Where: CREW Marsh Trails, 4600 Corkscrew Road, Immokalee.

Bike the Loop
Jan. 7.
9 a.m.-noon
Cost: $10

This is offered the first Saturday of the month from December through March. An adults-only guided trail bike ride with CREW Trust takes riders around the CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Loop Trail. Explore the CREW Bird Rookery Swamp with the wind in your face and elevation to your advantage as you cruise around the 12-mile loop famous for its locals – an abundance of alligators. Join CREW Trust volunteers and experienced bikers for a unique three-hour trail biking experience with a lot of wildlife viewing. Prepare yourself: Bring water and snacks, and your bike for an off-road adventure complete with photo stops along this remote trail. Where: CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trails, 1295 Shady Hollow Blvd. West, Naples (via Immokalee Road).

Winter Birding at CREW
Jan. 9.
8 a.m.-11 a.m.
Cost: $20 (member) to $30 (future member)

Join Angel, bird nerd and environmental educator at CREW Trust, on a winter birding hike through CREW Flint Pen Strand Trails. During this hike, search for and discuss the winter residents and common birds at CREW. As the seasons change here in Southwest Florida, numerous birds are traveling into and out of our region. Hikers will discuss how CREW plays a role in the success of these birds as well as how birds provide valuable services for us. Walks are for beginners and serious birders.

Where: CREW Flint Pen Strand Trails 15970 Bonita Beach Road.