Want to be “batty” at knowing your bats? Join us November 29th

Have you ever wondered how scientists catch bats or how they determine what species of bat is flying above you?  Come learn about these fascinating creatures of the night in this hands-on, working seminar with a real bat biologist starting at 4pm on November 29th. Registration is required. You can sign up by clicking here. Be sure to get your tickets now.  This Strolling Science Seminar fills up fast!

junior bat girl

FL Fish & Wildlife Commission biologist, Kathleen Smith, will dispel myths about bats, teach you their importance in our ecosystem, and tell you how you can help. This evening outdoor workshop will describe native bat species found at CREW and their role in the ecosystem and includes hands-on activities related to bat capture and research. Bats are critically important to the functioning of the natural ecosystem by consuming insects and agriculture pests.

What to wear/bring: Bug spray/head nets/mosquito jackets.  Long pants, long shirt, and close-toed shoes that can get wet. You might want to double up on clothes, the more layers the less bites :).

This is part of the CREW Strolling Science Seminar series, an annual series of scholarly walking seminars designed specifically for adults to gain in-depth knowledge about the science of CREW. Become a CREW Member and get a discount on your ticket TODAY. Non-members may join CREW and become eligible to take advantage of the member discount for all workshops by going to http://www.crewtrust.org/become-a-member/ or by calling 239-657-2253.


Guided hike, tree coring, and more… December 4th 2015

Win everham

All of us have counted the rings on the cut stump of a tree when we were kids (or kids at heart).  Dendrochronology, or tree ring analysis, takes the patterns of growth visible in those wide and narrow growth rings and gives us clues about past climate and disturbance experienced by the trees in a forest.

You will be working alongside Dr. Win Everham, professor of disturbance ecology at FGCU, learning the techniques of coring trees and exploring some of the uses of this widely applicable research method. Come learn about research that has been going on out at CREW for over 10 year now, to sign up visit http://www.eventbrite.com/e/dendrochronology-tree-coring-science-with-dr-disturbance-a-crew-strolling-science-seminar-tickets-18217973449

Registration is required, if you have any questions call 239-657-2253.

Win everham


What you can do at CREW 2015-2016!

laura write up picture

Just in case you missed Laura Tichy-Smith’s great article on CREW Field Trips, here is what you need to know. The article titled “Field Trip” was released October 25th, 2015 in The News-Press Coastal Life. laura write up picture

  • We have 2 free primitive campsites with grills, picnic tables, and fire rings. Get your permit here: https://crewtrus.mystagingwebsite.com/2011/08/11/camping/
  • All events require registration through the CREW website or by phone 239-657-2253.
  •  Guided walks at the CREW Marsh Trail Start at 9 a.m.-noon on First and third Tuesday and second Saturday monthly (November- April)
  • Guided walks at Bird Rookery Swamp start at 9-11:30 a.m. every Wednesday and fourth Saturday monthly (November-April). As well as in the afternoons: 1:30-4 p.m. first
    Sunday monthly (November- April)
  • Our Strolling Science Seminars cost: $25 non-members; $15 CREW members. They are adult only:
    • Dec. 4: Dendrochronology (tree coring science) with Dr. Disturbance by Dr. Win Everham, FGCU
    • Saturday, Jan. 16: Snake in the grass: Not always a bad guy by Dr. John Herman, FGCU
    • Saturday, Feb. 6: Birding with the master by Dr. Bernie Master (international conservationist)
    • Friday March 11: Adaptation or extinction: The lives of CREW’s
      most interesting plants by Jack Berninger
  • Other specialty hikes:
    • Nature’s peace at CREW: A nature walk for early-stage Alzheimer’s patients at 10:30 a.m.-noon on the First Mondays monthly (November-April)
    • Get your vitamin N: A nature walk for families at 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Dec. 5
      and Saturday, March 19
    • Bike tours at Bird Rookery Swamp at 8 a.m.-noon on Friday, Jan. 8 and Friday, Feb. 12. You must provide own bicycle, and helmet.
    • CREW Concert & Silent Eco-Auction at 5-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13. Located at Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs
    • Spring wildflower walk with Roger Hammer at 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, April 2
  • We have 2 member-only events, you can sign up to be a member and get discounts on all events at https://crewtrus.mystagingwebsite.com/become-a-member/
    • Wine and Cheese Social on Thursday, Jan. 21
    • Campfire and S’mores Social on Thursday, Feb. 25

To see the full article visit: http://www.news-press.com/story/life/coastal-life/2015/10/24/crew-offers-recreational-opportunities/74490760/

Thank you Laura Tichy-Smith for such a great article

ACT NOW- Upcoming CREW Events

Pine lily

CREW kicks off this season with three great Saturday events:

Fungi/Mushroom Hunt with Ben “Mykes logos” Dion- September 26th 

Ben Dion leads mushroom walkThis walk will feature an in-depth introduction into the world of fungi, a discussion about fungi and their roles at CREW, and hands-on mushroom hunting and field identification. It takes place at the CREW Marsh Trails off Corkscrew Road. Benjamin Dion is the founder of the Southwest Florida Mycological Society. Known as “Mykes logos” in the mushroom world, Dion is a local expert on the identification, use, and ecological role of various fungi in the Southwest Florida area.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fungimushroom-hunt-with-ben-mykes-logos-dion-


Fall Wildflower Walk with Brenda Thomas- October 3rd 

Join FGCU instructor and wildflower expert Brenda Thomas for this fabulous walk to identify fall-blooming flowers and grasses along the CREW Marsh Trails. The fall flowers are always spectacular after the wet growing season of summer. This is your chance to learn from someone whose passion for plants is unsurpassed!Pine lily

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fall-wildflower-walk-with-brenda-thomas-registration-18247392442




Florida’s Fabulous Spiders: A CREW Strolling Science Seminar- October 10th 

 This is CREW’s first Strolling Science Seminar- We are starting off the season with one of the top Spider Specialist, Dr. G.B. Edwards.

Do you know how many types of spiders are in the Florida and in world?  Do you know what the role of spiders are in nature?  Can you identify the few types of spiders that are medically important?  Do you know how to safely catch and release spiders in the home?  If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then this  program is for you.

We will go on a hike, looking for different kinds of spiders in their natural habitat.  In the fall, we should find many large orbweavers, but many other types of spiders as well.  Participants are encouraged to take photos, and in some cases, feed the spiders to observe their prey-capture behavior.  We will discuss do’s and don’ts of handling spiders!  Get all your questions about spiders answered!

2015-2016 Strolling Science Seminar Series



We have an exciting line up of experts this year. Be sure to sign up in advance on our website by clicking here or selecting the specific event below:

October 10th 2015- Florida’s Fabulous Spiders by Dr. G.B. Edwards

November 13th 2015- Florida Black Bears: The Bear Necessities by Kathleen Smith FWC

December 4th 2015-  Dendrochronology (Tree Coring Science) with Dr. Disturbance by Dr. Win Everham

January 16th 2016- Snake in the Grass: Not Always a Bad Guy by Dr.John Herman

February 6th 2016- Birding with the Master by Dr. Bernie Master

March 11th 2016- Adaptation or Extinction: The Live’s of CREW’s Most Interesting Plants by Jack Berninger

To register, select the event above. To  become eligible to take advantage of the member discount for the Strolling Science Seminar Series go to https://crewtrus.mystagingwebsite.com/donate and clickon the DONATE button or call 239-657-2253.

mosquitos of the marsh
SSS with Neil Wilkinson 2015



Strolling Science Seminars 2014-2015

We had a great Strolling Science Seminar (SSS) series this season (say that 5 times fast). The SSS series started in 2011-2012 to provide adults with scientific knowledge from local experts. The experts engaged the participants in outdoor scientific study and enabled them to conduct citizen science as part of local, national, and global projects. Each event is filled with laughter, science, and new knowledge.

This year we were lucky to have:

  • Mad Batters of CREW- Kathleen Smith, FWC Biologistbat sss
  • Mosquitoes of the Marsh: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- Neil Wilkinson, FGCUmosquito
  • Fire & Water: Primal Forces Shaping CREW Wildlife Habitats- Jim Schortemeyer & Joe Bozzo, SFWMD


  • The Gopher Tortoise: How Protecting One Species Actually Protects Hundreds- Dr. John Herman, FGCUjohn herman and group
  • Birding with the Master- Dr. Bernie Master & Tiffany Thornhill, FWC

Birding with the master 2015

We will start planning the 2015-2016 series of strolling science seminars this summer. If you have any ideas, comments, or contacts that you would like to share  for a SSS event please email Jessi Drummond at education@crewtrus.mystagingwebsite.com, or call 239-657-2253. All ideas are welcomed!

February Strolling Science Seminar: Gopher Tortoises

Get ready to meet one of Florida’s most important keystone species – the Gopher Tortoise – at CREW’s Strolling Science Seminar (SSS) on Saturday, February 7th at the CREW Cypress Dome Trails . This exciting strolling seminar – The Gopher Tortoise: How protecting one species actually protects hundreds – will be led by FGCU biology instructor, Dr. John Herman. Registration is required, sign up here.

john herman with gopher tortoise
Dr. John Herman works with gopher tortoises

Dr. John Herman’s enthusiasm for reptiles is contagious and his first-hand knowledge is vast. Don’t miss this chance to learn science from one of the best.

Gopher Tortoises are called ecosystem engineers because they fundamentally change the environment where they live by digging burrows. Their burrows provide critical habitat for over 300 other species. We will investigate these burrows and get to know many of these co-inhabitants. Whether you love reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, insects, or plants; this seminar will have it all, thanks to the mighty Gopher Tortoise!

Gopher Tortoise

What to wear/bring: Wear comfortable outdoor walking clothes and closed-toed shoes. Please bring water to drink and to use to rinse hands. Also please avoid putting sunscreen, lotion, hand sanitizer, or any other chemical on the palms of your hands during this session.

Are there age limits for this event? Yes – this walking seminar is for adults, ages 18 and over.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? No. We like to conserve resources, so print tickets will not be issued. Just check in with the CREW staff when you arrive.

Mosquitoes of the Marsh: A CREW Strolling Science Seminar- December 5th

Join Neil Wilkinson – FGCU instructor and current President of the Florida Mosquito Control Association – for our second strolling science seminar of the season, Mosquitoes of the Marsh: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly – on Friday, December 5th, 9 AM to noon at the CREW Marsh Trails. Registration is required. Register on our Eventbrite page here.

This seminar is about one of Florida’s most famous living creatures – mosquitoes. Learn the life histories of fresh floodwater and natural container species of mosquitoes common to southwest Florida. You will be surprised by the fascinating diversity of species and behaviors. We will begin with samples of adult and larval mosquitoes and learn about their life histories then hike into the preserve to check  for adult mosquitoes caught in traps set the night before. We will use aquatic dip nets to survey for mosquito predators in ditches and depressions and be on the lookout for other amazing wildlife that the CREW marsh protects.

Enhanced knowledge at the species level is the basis for a greater understanding of the whole watershed system. We will have ample time to discuss issues related to controlling mosquitoes, types of control, and consider the impact of NextGen mosquito control products. Mosquito control, like watershed management is a classic environmental science case study. Humans impact the environment, often in harmful ways and as awareness and science progresses new options arise for ameliorating our actions.

Neil Wilkinson

Neil Wilkinson, is an instructor in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. Wilkinson is currently the president of the Florida Mosquito Control Association. He is an environmental educator with extensive classroom and field teaching experience at the elementary, middle, high, and university levels. He spends half of his time teaching a science outreach program to classes in the local school district. He acts as a liaison between FGCU, the Lee County School District’s Environmental Education Program, and the Lee County Mosquito Control District facilitating interagency cooperative and collaborative efforts among students, faculty, and staff.

CREW Strolling Science Seminar Series Resumes November 13th

Strolling Science Seminars 2013 - 2014On November 13th, 2014, the fourth year of CREW’s popular Strolling Science Seminar series for adults will launch with a much-requested repeat of “Mad Batters of CREW” – a science workshop about bats, led by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Kathleen Smith.

This seminar will take place at Bird Rookery Swamp from 4:30 – 7:30 PM. Space is limited, so register early at https://crewbatsss2014.eventbrite.com .

The full Strolling Science Seminar series includes:

  • November 13, 2014 – Mad Batters of CREW (Bats) w/ Kathleen Smith
  • December 5, 2014 – Mosquitoes of the Marsh with Neil WIlkinson
  • January 9, 2015 – Fire & Water: Primal Forces Shaping CREW Wildlife Habitats with Jim Schortemeyer & Joe Bozzo
  • February 7, 2015 – The Gopher Tortoise: How Protecting One Species Actually Protests Hundreds with Dr.John Herman
  • March 10, 2015 – Birding with the Master with Dr. Bernie Master & Tiffany Thornhill

Each seminar includes hands-on activities and in-depth scholarly discussions about the science of the topics and their relationships to the CREW watershed and southwest Florida. Registration is open for all the strolling science seminars at http://crewtrust.eventbrite.com . CREW Strolling Science Seminars are for adults 18 years and older.


CREW Strolling Science Seminars: Lessons Learned

We’re wrapping up the third year of the CREW Strolling Science Seminars – our scholarly walks for adults – and we want to publicly thank our seminar leaders who planned and led these fun, hands-on walks at CREW. Much thanks to Kathleen Smith, FWC’s CREW biologist for her session on Florida Black Bears; to FGCU student, Ben Dion, and Dr. William Sanders for their session on The Lives of Fungi at CREW; to Dr. billY Gunnels for his all-day scientific method session called Science in A Day; to Mike Duever for showing us how plant communities respond to Hydrology; to Jack Berninger for a fun seminar about Ferns; and to Ian Bartoszek for his lively session on the American Alligator.

We also want to thank the 113 folks who registered and attended these seminars. Their participation makes it all work!

  • 98% of participants rated the Strolling Science Seminars as Excellent or Very Good
  • 93% would recommend these seminars to a friend
  • 98% rated our seminar leaders as Excellent or Very good
  • 65% said they would share what they learned with others

So, what did they like and learn? As we scanned the participant surveys, we were delighted to discover these insights:

“This was my first attendance at a CREW event (and very definitely not the last). I appreciated the warm welcome and the introduction to other attendees. Three hours packed with information, enthusiasm and laughter. Thoroughly enjoyed it.”

  1. From the Bear seminar: “Kathleen Smith, FWC biologist was well prepared, knowledgeable and pleasant. She answered all questions even if they were off topic. Very informative. I learned a lot about black bears that I didn’t know before.”
  2. From the Fern seminar: “I had never heard of the Azolla event. Learned this is a very important and helpful fern. We saw 15+ different ferns. We learned how ferns reproduce. He also gave us hints on how to tell them apart. We saw that the spores are in different places depending on the type of fern.”
  3. From the Hydrology seminar: “I learned that in Florida two feet of change in elevation can take you through five different ecosystems. (Excellent visual evidence) Maintaining constant water levels is not a good idea even if possible because diversity of plant life needs periods of drought and flooding to create various species that acclimate to changing conditions.”
  4. From the Fungi seminar: “Don’t eat the blue latex ‘shrooms, and orchids need mycelium to grow.” And… “Lichens incorporate cyanobacteria to fix nitrogen.” and “Most of the fungi is underground. What is seen is only the reproductive part. This underground part is being used to further several ecological goals such as filtering pollutants and replacing Styrofoam packing materials.”
  5. From Science in a Day: “As a longtime hiker I finally took the time to stop and understand the spiders in the canopy..prior to this they were just something I brushed away. Then I learned about Cabbage Palm “Boots’ , Wax Myrtle, etc. I also learned I can write a rap song in 5 minutes.” And…”I would have loved to have billY [Gunnels] for a professor, and I wished I had been exposed to these kinds of experiences and these sorts of people when I was a student, as I feel my life would have been much different.” And…”The scientific process is complicated Learning is easier when you are having fun.”

“Nature attracts a diverse, curious population.”

Thanks to CHNEP for partial funding of this environmental education program and to all our participants for making this year’s Strolling Science Seminars such a great success!

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