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Swamp Sanctuary receives $30,000 towards watershed research amidst water shortage

Posted at 5:51 PM, Dec 10, 2023

NAPLES, Fla. — The Corkscrew Audubon Swamp Sanctuary is home to many species of plants and animals. Plus, it is a peaceful oasis for many who utilize its miles of walking trails and bird watching. Now, a grant by the Collier Community Foundation is helping keep this place the sanctuary it is and helping more people learn about the watershed amidst a county-wide water shortage.

While development continues to grow inland in Collier County, a retired biologist and now volunteer at the sanctuary, Jerry Jackson, says it is becoming more important to keep our sanctuaries preserved for our endangered species.

"Slowly they have been marching toward extinction and we are preserving them here, protecting them here, and teaching people about the importance of the way they contribute to the quality of our lives," said Jackson.

With the $30,000 grant, Keith Laakkonen, sanctuary director, says they will be able to use this money to hopefully learn more about the watershed in the area and be able to educate their partners in county water management for the next county-wide water shortage. Helping both the citizens of Collier County and its wildlife.

“The better we understand how water actually flows in and out of the sanctuary in and out of the swamp helps us better plan for the future," said Laakkonen

A project Laakkonen says they have been working towards for more than 20 years and attracting people like Jerry Jackson to the sanctuary to be a part of.

 “All of the volunteers out here are people who have an interest in protecting Corkscrew and protecting the wildlife, plants, and other things that are native here," said Jackson. "They are all from all walks of life. I happen to be a biologist, and I teach them and they teach me about the things that they're doing.”