Print Friendly, PDF & Email

PBS Documentary Celebrates Rookery Bay’s 40th Anniversary

Apr 23, 2019 | NERRS in the News, Reserves, Rookery Bay, Florida

Florida’s Rookery Bay Reserve celebrated its 40th anniversary in style this month with the red carpet premiere of the full-length documentary film Southwest Florida’s Mangrove Coast. Created in partnership with award-winning director Elam Stoltzfus and writer Nic Stoltzfus of Live Oak Production Group, this documentary is airing on PBS stations in Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico through June.

“We are really excited about this film,” Reserve Director Keith Laakkonen said. “The documentary shows the diversity of connections that people have made to this extraordinary place for over four decades.”

Rookery Bay Director Keith Laakkonen, center, celebrates the premier of Southwest Florida’s Mangrove Coast with NOAA Office for Coastal Management partners Erica Seiden and Matt Chasse.

The documentary tells the story of how a vision to protect the fragile ecosystem between Marco Island and Naples became the Rookery Bay Reserve we cherish today. The motivation for the Reserve came from local community members who were concerned about plans for a road extension and causeway to connect Naples with islands adjacent to the bay. What started out as a 3,000-acre sanctuary has grown to 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters, thanks to strong partnerships between the state’s Conservation and Recreational Lands Program, Preservation 2000, the Florida Forever Act, local families, and our partners at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management.

Today, Rookery Bay offers many programs and opportunities for exploration. These are highlighted in the film, along with the people who were instrumental in creating the Reserve and continue to help Rookery Bay meet its mission.

Interested in bringing this film to a PBS station near you? Contact them and suggest they consider picking the film up from WGCU-TV in Ft. Myers.

Amy Shumaker (email)
Associate General Manager of Content
WGCU Public Media
10501 FGCU Blvd. South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565

Share This
NERRS in the NewsPBS Documentary Celebrates Rookery Bay’s 40th Anniversary