We're on the lookout for ghost
orchids and mating alligators!
Don't miss what spring brings at the
May 22 After Hours 
May 2013
In This Issue
After Hours
Alligator Mating Season
In Bloom
Ghost Orchid Watch!
Invitation for Volunteers
Support Conservation at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Hours & Admission
The Sanctuary is now open year-round from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., every day. 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 under six. National Audubon Society members who present their ID card are offered a 50% discount of $6 for two consecutive days' admission.
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Hop to
Corkscrew for the May 22 After Hours, featuring Reptiles & Frogs   

Experience Corkscrew's moonlit boardwalk and ancient bald cypress forest at the next After Hours event themed "Reptiles & Frogs," on Wednesday, May 22, when the Sanctuary remains open until 9 p.m., past its regular 5:30 p.m. closing. Guided walks, reptile learning stations and live music are among the highlights of the event. Visitors are also invited to attend a "Frogs and Toads in Collier County" talk with Becky Speer, a naturalist from the Naples Preserve at 6 p.m. as well as a "Bat Walk & Talk" with naturalist and photographer Ralph Arwood at 7:30 p.m., which includes acoustic bat monitoring on the boardwalk. More highlights of the event include: 

  • Live original Florida folk music at the Blair Audubon Center by Valerie C. Wisecracker from 6 to 8 p.m. 
  • Naturalist-guided "frog walks" starting at 7:15 p.m.  
  • Stars & Planets with Linda Jacobsen from Night Sky Tours, who will have her telescope trained on the heavens from 7:30 to 9 p.m.  
  • Reptile interpretive station starting at 5:30 p.m., and Corkscrew naturalist interpreters along the boardwalk throughout the day and evening.  
*Please Note: For best night vision, we recommend that visitors bring a red light, or cover their flashlights with red cellophane before using them on the boardwalk.

Corkscrew's scheduled After Hours are part of a 10-month series which extends through July 12, 2013, when the Sanctuary will stay open until 9 p.m., past its normal operating hours. Latest admission time is 8 p.m. 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 Friends of Corkscrew Members and children under 6. Admission covers two consecutive days.

Upcoming After Hours Events 
Friday, June 21, 2013 Summer Solstice 
Friday, July 12, 2013: Moths, Fireflies & Ghost Orchid
With Warm Weather Comes a Heated Alligator Mating Season 

The warm weather of May marks the start of alligator mating season, a 'bucket-list' must-see at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Alligators are often solitary animals but during spring, when the water is warmer, they are on the hunt for mates. Male alligators become territorial and will defend their area against other males. They like to make their presence known to others by arching their backs, raising their tails and letting out a long, earth-shaking bellow. The bellow causes underwater vibrations that can create a unique appearance to the surface of the water.

The female alligator constructs a nest in a marshy area by pulling vegetation together. After laying about 30 eggs, she covers the nest with more vegetation to incubate the eggs. The number of male or female offspring is determined by the temperature of the nest: the warmer the nest the more male offspring. After approximately 65 days the eggs begin to hatch and the female alligator will open the top of the nest to help the hatchlings out into the water.

In Bloom
May kicks off the blooming of wild flowers. Among the flowers is the scarlet hibiscus. The scarlet hibiscus, native to Florida, emerges in early spring and grows along marshes and wet-soil habitats. The flower has five crimson-red petals measuring 8-12 inches across. Each flower lasts only one day, but new flowers continue to open throughout summer and fall. The leaves are often mistaken for marijuana leaves. The scarlet hibiscus has five leaves, although the outside two are often divided, leading unaware admirers to mistake the flower for the seven-leafed marijuana plant.
Left: Scarlet Hibiscus.
Right: Marijuana
We're on Ghost Orchid Watch! 
Photographer and writer Connie Bransilver's homage to Florida's orchids: 
"I never thought of myself as a flower photographer -- until I met Florida's native orchids, enigmatic, sensual, usually hidden deep in the swamp. They are the eye candy of the swamp, and exist in profusion in isolated pockets despite poaching and the effects of water deprivation. The orchid, some say, is the perfect flower, both male and female in form and shaped to perfection by an unseen hand." By Connie Bransilver from "Florida's Unsung Wilderness: The Swamps"

Corkscrew's staff is on "orchid watch" and updates the Sanctuary website and Facebook page on a regular basis with ghost orchid news. See the ghost orchid page on our website.

Bee Swarm Orchid


**All orchids were photographed in the field where they grew, and none were damaged by my photography.
Volunteer Opportunities
We are looking for volunteers to serve as guides and interpreters on our 2.25 mile boardwalk. The commitment is a minimum of one four-hour day per week between 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. totaling 60 hours per year. Corkscrew provides training for new volunteers, and ongoing learning opportunities. Volunteers use Audubon's conservation message and information about local flora, fauna and habitat to enrich and expand the visitor experience at Corkscrew. They engage visitors through interpretation along the boardwalk, helping them sense things that they might otherwise miss, enrich and expand the visitor experience, encourage questions and help to patrol and enforce Sanctuary rules and boardwalk safety. For more information please contact Amy Kessler at 239-348-9151 ext. 111 or go to Corkscrew.Audubon.org and click on the Learn & Explore tab for information on all volunteer opportunities.
Corkscrew Mission
To protect the natural resources of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, its surrounding watershed and the greater Everglades through land management, science, education, restoration and public policy advocacy for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.


About the Sanctuary

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 under six. National Audubon Society members who present their ID card are offered a 50% discount of $6 for two consecutive days' admission.