March 23 , 2019
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Naples Preserve, Naples
Free Florida Gopher Tortoise Day Celebration at Naples Preserve on March 23
If You Go
WHAT: Florida Gopher Tortoise Day Celebration
WHEN: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 23
WHERE: The Naples Preserve, 1690 Tamiami Trail North, Naples, FL 34012
MORE INFO: 239-261-4290 or [email protected]
WHY: Local celebration coordinating with the upcoming statewide gopher tortoise day.
Bring your entire family to have fun learning about gopher tortoises during the free Florida Gopher Tortoise Day Celebration at The Naples Preserve. The preserve staff and volunteers have decided to hold their local tie-in to the statewide celebration on a Saturday to make it easier for families to attend.
Activities at the preserve’s free celebration will include:
Tour the boardwalk to see the preserve’s numerous gopher tortoises and learn about the Preserve’s research.
Explore a human-sized replica of a gopher tortoise burrow.
Paint a pet rock to look like a gopher tortoise and take it home.
Meet Trouper the Blind Raccoon and learn how raccoons are connected to gopher tortoises.
Meet rabbits from the Southwest Florida House Rabbit Rescue.
Learn how wild rabbits are connected to gopher tortoises.
Learn how the Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida helps gopher tortoises.
Learn about recycling from Cycler the Robot, courtesy of Waste Management and Keep Collier Beautiful.
Participate in games and craft activities.
Try to win a door prize.
Enjoy a free cup of Rita’s Ice (first 50 children).
See “Re-writing the Books on Gopher Tortoises, Gopherus polyphemus – in Southwest Florida, Anyway.”
The 9.5-acre size of the city-owned property makes The Naples Preserve an ideal place to see the threatened gopher tortoises because there is a large, multi-generational population living within the safety of the small, contained preserve. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission declared Florida Gopher Tortoise Day to help the public become educated and aware of this threatened species that is so critical to Florida’s ecosystem. The gopher tortoise is a keystone species because 360 other species of animals depend upon the tortoise burrows for shelter.
The commission chose a spring date for educating the public because the tortoises leave their burrows this time of year searching for food and mates, which can lead to them attempting to cross roads. On its website, the commission states that people can help by watching out for tortoises crossing the highway. If you see a tortoise crossing the road, and if it’s safe to stop and do so, pick it up and place it on the roadside in the direction it was heading. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that tortoises are land animals so don’t put these terrestrial animals into the water. For more information about gopher tortoises, see the commission’s website at http://gophertortoisedayfl.com.
Gopher Tortoise closeup.jpg
Learn about nature through free, fun activities at the free Florida Gopher Tortoise Day Celebration at The Naples Preserve on Saturday, March 23. Courtesy photo.