Nature Preserve Wildlife and Plant Identification Project

Through the collaborative efforts of the Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island, the Naples Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, and FGCU Environmental Studies students, numerous wildflowers, plants, and wildlife in the Nature Preserve have been identified.  

The Marco Island Nature Preserve sincerely thanks everyone for the work and hours that were dedicated to this important identification project.  

Wildflower brochures will be available for visitors at the Nature Preserve in the near future.

2021 Educational Outreach Programs

The Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary presented conservation programs to four kindergarten classes at Tommie Barfield Elementary, five kindergarten classes at Manatee Elementary, the pre-K classes at St. Mark’s Episcopal, and the Marco Island YMCA.  The children learned about protecting wildlife, the significance of Earth Day, and basic conservation practices.  Each child received a 7” stuffed bald eagle at the end of the presentation.  The outreach program was well received by the children and rated excellent by the teachers.

A sincere thank you to Board Member Curt Witthoff and volunteer Kathryn Rogers for their excellent assistance and participation in making this educational program a great success.

The Nature Preserves receives LCEC Funding Award!

The Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary (MINP) is pleased to announce that it recently received a $1,000 Environmental Funding Award from the Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC).   The award fund will be utilized toward construction costs associated with the future Nature Preserve pavilion.  

In a statement made by LCEC, “Since the program’s inception in 2013, LCEC has awarded nearly $160,000 to local organizations for a variety of initiatives focused on protecting our precious environment”.

Meet our partner…the Community Foundation of Collier County!

The Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary (MINP) is pleased to announce that it recently received a $4,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County.  

The MINP is honored to be awarded this grant and most thankful for the Community Foundation’s partnership.  This grant will help supplement some of the loss of income that the Nature Preserve has suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

These funds, in accordance with our mission, will provide needed support to preserve the Nature Preserve’s natural landscape, protect the wildlife, and educate school-age children.   

The Community Foundation of Collier County, now in its 35th year, is a tax-exempt, public, charitable organization established in 1985 to increase and focus on local private philanthropy.

Soft Opening of Marco Island Nature Preserve Trail System – 03/01/2021

On a beautiful, sunny morning, the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird
Sanctuary held a “soft opening” of the new nature trail.

The trail was completed thanks to the time and hard work of the Nature Preserve’s volunteers who spread 80 tons of oyster shells that were dumped in piles along a cut out pathway. The 8 feet wide by 1800 feet long nature trail meanders through almost 12 acres of natural land that is dotted with butterflies, wildflowers, native plants, and trees.

Currently, an extensive wildflower and native plant identification program is underway with the skillful assistance of the Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island, the Naples Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, and FGCU’s Department of Science and Environmental Studies. Plans are also underway for the Nature Preserve’s future butterfly, native plant, and pioneer gardens.

This year, the Nature Preserve’s bald eagles are not nesting but they remain in the Preserve. The eagles use the nest to consume their fish and leave the nest when they finish their meal. It is not unusual to see osprey immediately swoop into the nest looking for leftovers.

Nest activities may also be seen on the eagle cam by visiting the Nature Preserve’s website, The eagle cam was made possible by donations from Marco Island’s Calusa Garden Club, citizens and tourists, with a fully matching donation made by local resident, Dave Gardner, in honor of his late wife Anne.

The nature trail, located at 665 Tigertail Court, is free to the public and
open from dawn to dusk. To protect the wildlife habitat, smoking, pets,
and bikes are prohibited.

The public is invited to stop by the Nature Preserve for a free “Coffee
With The Birds” on Saturday, March 13th from 8 AM to 10 AM.

The Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary is a 50l (c) (3),
100% volunteer organization. For additional information call 239 269-

NEWS FROM THE NEST – November 2019

It is bald eagle nesting season and visitors are frequently seen at the Nature Preserve looking confused and asking, “Where are Calusa and Herb?  Are they nesting?  Did they abandon their nest and fly away?”  The answer is… Mother Nature had a different plan for the eagle’s nest this year. 

At this point in time, the eagles would normally be sitting on eggs in their nest, producing eaglets by March.    This past September however, a pair of great horned owls beat the eagles to the nest and took up residency.  Calusa and Herb have been seen flying in and out of the Preserve, roosting in other trees , and watching the strangers squatting in their nest.

The great horned owls do not make their own nests but commonly adopt nests of other large birds.  They are the earliest nesting birds in North America and are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Their hunting activity takes place from dusk to midnight, then again from 4 AM to sunrise.   Their clutch size varies from one to four eggs, the incubation period is 30 to 37 days, and the nesting period is 42 days.  The average size of an adult great horned owl is 22” with a wingspan of 3’ to 5 ‘.  The females are usually larger than the males.  With their fiercely powerful talons, the great horned owls fight off predators and can crush their prey to make if more compact for carrying. 

If the great horned owls produce a successful clutch, it is most unlikely that Calusa and Herb will be using their nest this season.  A few years ago, the eagle pair at the Island Country Club Golf Course lost their nest to a pair of great horned owls but the eagles regained that nest the following year.  We look forward to the eagles visiting the Nature Preserve over the late spring and summer months as they have for many years, and to their return to the nest in the fall of 2020. 

The Nature Preserve is a bird sanctuary with  20 plus bird species on the property.  Viewing telescopes for adults and children are onsite so residents and visitors can enjoy viewing bird activity.  The eagle cam will be kept live so that great horned owl nesting activity can be viewed on the Nature Preserve’s website. 

Walking paths for a nature trail will be established in the Nature Preserve during the summer months. Of 2020   Commemorative pavers have been installed along the front of the preserve in honor of local residents and visitors.  Plans are in progress to build a gazebo that will serve as am outdoor classroom for our educational outreach program and as a  shelter. 

The Marco Island Nature Preserve is a 50l (c) (3), non-profit, 100% volunteer organization.  Additional information regarding the Preserve, eagle cam, commemorative paver project, or donations may be obtained by visiting the website at 

The public is welcome to visit the Nature Preserve at 665 Tigertail Court on Marco Island, Florida. 

Linda J. Turner
Director of Community Relations

About the Eagle Camera

One of the objectives for Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary is to educate the importance of preserving our island’s green space and protecting its wildlife. Broadcasting our eagle’s activity through this online eagle camera will make it easy for our school age children and eagle lovers everywhere to view these magnificent birds from anywhere in the world. We have all heard the adage, “a picture says a thousand words,” imagine how many words this eagle cam will say!

This camera is an important part of our overall educational commitment to our school age Marco citizens. Without your continued support by donating to the camera fund we would not be able to continue this valuable resource, so please make your donation today. We are very happy to have our camera up and running and look forward too many hours of watching our eagles as they return each nesting season.

Sad News

We are saddened to share the following news with all of you.  Last evening, we lost one of the eagles that makes the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary home.  We are working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and will continue to update you all as we receive more information.

Matching Donation Opportunity for Eagle Cam Project

Matching Donation Opportunity for Eagle Cam Project

Our eagle cam fundraising project has just received a matching gift opportunity from David Gardner in memory of his late wife Anne in the form of a dollar-for-dollar match of all donations up to $25,000. This means your contribution of $50 will be matched with an additional $50, thus making a total $100 contribution available. With your help this matching gift will make the eagle cam a reality at the Marco Island Nature Preserve before the next nesting season. So please donate NOW!

Don’t wait, make your donation today and help us reach our goal of installing the eagle cam this summer. To donate go to  and pay by credit card or PayPal, or mail your donation to:

Marco Island Nature Preserve
PO Box 983
Marco Island, FL 34146

This program is in affect for the next 30 days so show your support with your donation, no donation is too small.