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RSW Living Magazine

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary - A Refuge For Wildlife, A Resource For The Community

Apr 26, 2022 11:41AM ● By Brian Hatley

Photo Courtesy of David Korte

Interview responses about Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary by Lisa Korte, PhD, Sanctuary Director

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a nature reserve near Naples, is owned and managed by the National Audubon Society. Its mission is to preserve, conserve, and restore natural ecosystems throughout the Western Everglades. In addition, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary protects the largest remaining virgin bald cypress forest in the world. These 700 acres are home to the largest nesting colony of Federally Endangered Wood Storks in the country.

In the early 1950s, a campaign began to save the swamp from logging companies. The National Audubon Society and others raised the support to purchase the last expanse of virgin bald cypress trees. In 1954, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was established.

Photo Courtesy of David Korte

Lisa Korte, PhD, Sanctuary Director explains the necessity of these wetlands to the overall health of the ecosystem. “Without functioning wetlands such as those at the Sanctuary, more nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen would flow directly into the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in harmful algal blooms: blue-green algae in freshwater and a significant increase in red tide in coastal waters.” She goes on to share that although conservation efforts are focused on birds, the Sanctuary also protects 13,450 acres of natural Florida habitats and wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther and delicate ghost orchids.

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary isn’t just a refuge for wildlife, though. It’s also a resource for people, a place where the community can unwind, relax, and reconnect with nature. You never know what you might encounter from Swallow-Tailed Kites in February to migratory songbirds in the spring. Since the Sanctuary is part of the Atlantic Flyway, visitors can watch the patterns and cycles of bird migration year after year.

Photo Courtesy of David Korte

The Sanctuary is so much more than just a swamp or just a boardwalk. Lisa adds, “We use science driven land management and education to protect wildlife and water quality. And, we can’t do this alone – our community of dedicated volunteers, donors, and members provide crucial logistic and financial support every day.”

If you’d like more information about their educational programs, guided tours, and brand new summer camp, check out their website. If you want to get involved and perhaps volunteer, please contact the Sanctuary at [email protected]. Make plans to unwind and relax this spring or summer at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary!