The Florida gopher tortoise is listed as a Threatened Species. Please look under your car when backing out of parking spaces, drive slowly and stay on marked trails or the boardwalk. 

PROGRAMS

Throughout the season, January to April, the Friends provide many educational opportunities.  See below for the details of our Saturday lecture series and the Naturalist lead walks and talks.

LECTURE SERIES

We offer a series of free lectures to the public beginning in January on Saturday mornings from 10 – 11:00 a.m. through April to promote an awareness and appreciation of the local flora, fauna, environment and history of SW Florida. Our audience consists of locals, tourists, senior citizens, and occasionally young children. Attendance varies from 40 – 85 people each Saturday. You may want to ask questions during the talk, but we ask the audience to hold their questions until the end of the presentation.

Our facility is an open-air thatched roof chickee hut.

January 8, 2022 - How the World Turned Green
Speaker: Jack Berninger
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center

 

Join us for our first lecture of the season where we will welcome our first speaker in our series – Mr. Jack Berninger.

Mr. Berninger topic is “How the World turned green”   He explores the process of how from water green algae to the first primitive land plants our vacant early Earth landscape slowly evolves into flora we enjoy today.

January 15, 2022 - Butterflies in Southwest Florida
Speaker: Tony Mauriello
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center

Butterflies inspire and amaze with their miraculous transformation from an earthbound caterpillar into a dazzling winged marvel. This metamorphosis will be explored, as well as the native food plants integral to the life cycle of these beautiful insects. Mr. Mauriello with introduce butterflies most common in Southwest Florida, their relationship with other pollinators, and how they contribute to the local ecosystem.

January 22, 2022 - Conservation Collier
Speaker: Summer Arague
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Come learn how Conservation Collier is following their mission: To acquire, preserve, restore and maintain vital and significant threatened natural lands, forest, upland and wetland communities located in Collier County, for the benefit of present and future generations.
January 29, 2022 - Before There Was a Road: How Collier County Was Born
Speaker: Thomas Lockyear
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Journey back with Mr. Thomas Lockyear, manager of the Museum of the Everglades, to discover its unique past.
Collier County was founded on May 8th, 1923 and is the largest county in the state of FL covering 2,305 square miles.
February 5, 2022 - A Day in the life of a Barefoot Preserve Ranger
Speaker: Jimmy Alaniz
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Park Rangers workday begins well before the preserve opens.  They are eager to educate the public about the importance of the environment and wildlife in Southwest Florida but once the beachgoers arrive you will learn how busy they are.
February 12, 2022 - Virtual Tour of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Speaker: Sandra Hollenhourst
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, and red-bellied turtles.  Florida Master Naturalist and Corkscrew Swamp Boardwalk Guides will share information on this protected wetland.
February 19, 2022 - Sea Turtles
Speaker: Maura Kraus
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Maura Kraus, Principal Environmental Specialist, and sea turtle program coordinator for Collier County, will share her wealth of knowledge on our sea turtle program.  We are excited to have her share her over thirty years of experience.  We will learn how sea turtles continue to thrive on area beaches despite so many obstacles.
February 26, 2022 - Inspiring Conservation
Speaker: Ranger Lori Maois
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
From Jackson Moran’s paintings to modern-day Instagram, society has used art in its many forms to convey appreciation and to push for natural and cultural preservation.  In the 21st century we can be transported to these places with the touch of a button. Join Big Cypress National Preserve Ranger Lori on a visual journey into art as a medium for conservation. 
March 5, 2022 - How you became you
Speaker: Jack Berninger
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Our engaging speaker, Mr. Berninger,  returns to discuss how from one cell under the influence of genes and environment each of us becomes a unique individual.
March 12, 2022 - Is Everything you read about Gopher Tortoises true?
Speaker: Becky Spears
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Learn about the observations at The Naples Preserve.  A video will show the behaviors that most people (including researchers) have not seen.  It dispels many things that people hear or read and shows that the gopher tortoises in Southwest Florida are different from those in the rest of the range.
March 19, 2022 - Curious Habits of Our SWFL Birds
Speaker: Tony Mauriello
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
This interactive and fun look at the quirky habits of our local birds. Some are especially unique in their behavior including mating rituals, hunting techniques and body language. We will look at some of these curious habits including videos.
March 26, 2022 - The status of the endangered Florida Panther
Speaker: Meredith Budd
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Florida Wildlife Federation believe we must protect, restore, and protect our remaining wildlife habitats in a rapidly developing state.  Come learn what they are doing to protect the Florida Panther.
April 2, 2022 - Living with Coyotes
Speaker: Jayne Johnston
Time: 10 am

Location: Learning Center
Join Jayne (Wildlife Assistance Biologist) from the FWC for a talk about coyote management in Florida. We’ll discuss the history of coyotes, their biology, presence in coastal communities, and the best approaches for dealing with them.

WALKS & TALKS

Each week January through April (excluding holidays), naturalist guided walks and talks are sponsored by the Friends. Naturalists have completed the Florida Master Naturalist program and enjoy sharing their knowledge with our guests. Park in the first parking area on the right and meet at the Learning Center. For our walks, it is suggested to wear walking shoes, sun protection, and bring binoculars and drinking water. These Programs are FREE, but reservations are required. Please use the forms below to reserve a spot. We kindly ask that parties larger than 10 please contact us directly at naturalist@friendsofbarefootbeach.org to ensure we can accommodate you. There is an $8.00 entrance fee into the park for those who do not have a current Collier County beach parking permit.

Weekly programs are subject to change. Please check this website for any current information regarding cancellations or rescheduling.

Beaches Alive!
Day & Time: Fridays at 10 am
Depart From: The Learning Center
Duration: Approximately 2-hours

 

What do wrack lines, beach hoppers, ghosts, sea pork, or beans have in common with skimmers, ruddy turnstones, oats, or goatsfoot that we see on the beach? Come find out at this Naturalist guided walk on Barefoot Beach. (Approximately a 2-hour beach walk guided by a Naturalist)

Beaches Alive! Reservation Form
If your party has 10 or more people, please email us at info@friendsofbarefootbeach.org.
Email List

Exploring Coastal Habitats Walk
Day & Time: Wednesdays at 10 am
Depart From: The Learning Center
Duration: Approximately 2-hours

Enjoy a Naturalist guided walk to the estuary and along a sandy trail to the beach. Explore one of the most productive ecosystems in nature and the unique coastal habitats at the Preserve.

Exploring Coastal Habitats Walk Reservation Form
If your party has 10 or more people, please email us at info@friendsofbarefootbeach.org.
Email List
Beachcombing & Shelling Talk
Day & Time: Fridays at 10 am
Location: Learning Center
Duration: Approximately 1 hour

Where and when do you find beach treasures? What are drifts from the Amazon? What did Herman Melville have to do with Beachcombing? Come find out at this talk in our Learning Center about Beachcombing & Shelling.

Beach Combing and Shelling Reservation Form
If your party has 10 or more people, please email us at info@friendsofbarefootbeach.org.
Email List

Guided Nature Walk
Day & Time: Saturdays at 9 am
Depart From: The Learning Center
Duration: Approximately 45 minutes

Enjoy a guided walk along the boardwalk through a maritime forest and coastal strand. More than a nature walk, it’s an educational experience! Learn the importance of barrier islands, how our ancestors used Florida’s state tree and native plant communities on barrier islands of Southwest Florida.

This walk is ADA accessable.

Guided Nature Walk Reservation Form
If your party has 10 or more people, please email us at info@friendsofbarefootbeach.org.
Email List

For activities sponsored by Collier County Parks and Recreation for ALL parks and our preserve, be sure to check the current R.E.A.L. guide at the County’s website. Click here or pick a copy up at most Collier County Parks.