Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located in Naples, Florida, is one of 41 National Audubon Societies. Audubon societies “protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.” Corkscrew Sanctuary covers about 13,000 acres and has a 2.25-mile boardwalk. The walkway takes visitors through pine flatlands, a wet prairie, a marsh, and the largest and oldest Bald Cypress forest in North America.
Because we love nature, we have been to this sanctuary many times and during all seasons. Regardless of when we visit, we have never been disappointed! Since 1998, there have been recorded sitings of 182 types of birds. Many live there year-round, some spend part of the year there, while others stop while migrating. There are 34 species of mammals and 142 native reptiles and amphibians living there. Based on the fish and insects we have seen, there are many of those too! For these reasons, you can spot something new to you each time you go!
Birds of Corkscrew Sanctuary
The birds above are just a few that we have photographed while walking along the boardwalk. The first collage pictures wading birds. Specifically, the endangered wood stork, roseate spoonbill, juvenile little blue heron, green heron, and great egrets. The second slide shows limpkins, painted bunting, and the snowy egret. In addition, we have seen anhingas, barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, and more!
Some of the Other Animals We Have Seen at the Sanctuary
Pictured in the first collage are a raccoon, a white peacock butterfly, a tiny green tree frog, anole, an eastern lubber, and a banded water snake! Without a doubt, you will see alligators when your visit! We have even seen 21 babies at one time!
One of our favorite experiences was encountering a symphony of sounds before even rounding the corner to a breathtaking sight! In the swamp were huge alligators, baby alligators, and many, many of the birds pictured above! Each animal was splashing around and making its individual sounds!
Plants of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
This sanctuary is home to the largest old-growth bald cypress forest in North America. These huge trees are related to the redwoods. On the cypress, you will find bromeliads (air plants), lichen, mosses, and ferns. If you are lucky enough to visit in the summer you just might see the largest ghost orchid ever discovered hanging on its cypress! In fact, there are over 4,200 identified plants at the sanctuary.
If you want to learn more about the sanctuary and see the animals in action, watch this short video.
Learning and Teaching Ideas
The sanctuary itself has naturalist-led tours, including educational tours for students. Scavenger hunt checklists are also available for kids.
The Audubon Society webpage has a page specifically devoted to students. It is called Adventure for Young Nature Lovers. There are many readings, puzzles, games, quizzes, and more for kids. These activities appear to be best for upper elementary and middle school grades, based on the reading level required. Moreover, the site includes a “teacher’s lounge” that explains how to use the site, has resources for teachers, and lists the standards covered for each area of study.
Here are some resources from our shop that can also enhance the study of birds, habitats, and adaptations that plants and animals need to survive in given environments.