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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

  • Fifteen years ago, there was no noticeable problem with the Carolina willows at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Slowly, the native plant species grew to the extent of being considered invasive.This particular willow, almost by itself, has expanded the definition of “invasive species” to include particularly aggressive plants that are native to Florida, not just faraway exotics.
  • A rare orchid, which uses the skills of a magician to appear from nowhere and seemingly float in the air next to its host tree, is in bloom at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The “ghost orchid” is the largest one ever discovered, and its blossoms draw international attention among the uber-enthusiastic world of orchid lovers.
  • The lack of access to drinkable water is devastating communities around the world, and Southwest Florida's water managers are working to make sure the same thing never happens here.
  • Roseate spoonbills and other wading birds are loving Florida Audubon’s efforts to remove invasive Carolina willows that have overtaken vital wet prairies inside the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary east of Naples. “Our marsh and prairie restoration efforts are helping bring birds back to areas within the sanctuary that had been overtaken by Carolina willow,” Lisa Korte, director of the sanctuary, said Friday. “Nature’s response to our restoration process is rapid." Wet prairies are a vital part of the Everglades. The low-depressions fill with moving water, grasses thrive, and critters crawl and swim in the shallow marsh. That, in turn, brings wading birds and other creatures to enjoy the cool water and poke around for a meal." The Carolina willow is among the plants and animals native to Florida that are expanding the definition of “invasive species.”
  • Audubon Florida, a well-known environmental group dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats, published a report on the health and success of 43,680 wading bird nests last year from Fort Myers to Lake Okeechobee and south to Florida Bay at the southern tip of mainland South Florida.
  • Growing ever-closer to the public area in the 13,500-acre Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a forest of extremely thirsty, ecosystem-changing, shape-shifting, pollen-producing Carolina willows that have invaded the wet prairies. The Carolina willow is selfish, and a lousy neighbor. The plant, which can also grow as a bush either before or after it’s a tree, sends a shallow root system into the soaked soil, and takes a never-ending gulp. Long, serrated, spear-shaped leaves sprout out from branches and criss-cross one another, denying animals access to wet prairies that provide excellent foraging and a place to cool off. The plant produces a strong pollen, and is filled with pests.
  • Awarded in the Mammals Behavior category and titled “Come High Water,” Mac Stone's photograph shows a mother raccoon rescuing her newborn after a storm likely flooded out her nest. Hear how Stone captured this award-winning image and learn more about his journey through wildlife photography.
  • Welcome to this week’s Environmental Roundup! Here are the environmental stories this week that caught our eye.
  • The widespread quarantine brought on by COVID-19 is affecting how we interact with nearly everyone. Even wildlife. With many of us humans not being out…
  • The Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s Director Emeritus, Ed Carlson, began his career at the sanctuary the day after he graduated high school. Since…