We accomplish this by simulating fire, research, preparing educational material and resources for visitors to understand and value the role of Gopher tortoises at Barefoot Beach Preserve.
ClICK HERE for the results of our Feb 13, 2016 work day.
Gopher tortoises live many years. They are listed as a “threatened” species in Florida primarily due to loss of habitat. They are in direct competition with humans since they use the same habitat to live as we do to build.
View these videos of the gophers@barefoot. Most were prepared by Jill Kusba, a DVM who frequents the Preserve. Others are chronicling the habitat enhancement initiative.
The Preserve is located just off Bonita Beach Road at the end of the Barefoot Beach Blvd. (You drive about 2.5 miles on cobblestone road through an area with multi-million dollar homes first).
Collier County Parks manages the preserve. This is the Management Plan.
The Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve are a vital part of the Preserve, and have an ongoing Gopher Protection Project that is the umbrella for this project.
They are wonderful stewards of the Preserve, spending time and money to protect the Gophers@Barefoot. They provide many of the resources for this habitat enrichment project.
To learn even more about Gophers, visit the Gopher tortoise council.
The project continues to flourish with the help of a number of Partners.
On February 13th, 2016, Ms Jen Macbeth’s Colloquium students from her virtual class will meet in person and add their signature to the project.
In October of 2015, Gophers@Barefoot had our First Week Of Welcome event with FGCU. Over 50 students, staff, and student naturalists joined with the Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve to provide service-learning hours equivalent to over $15,000! We helped beautify the Friends Cactus garden, and conducted more simulated burn in the area between parking lot 2 and the beach, mostly by cutting brush back, and pulling ragweed.
The summer of 2015 project was our first to work on ‘simulating’ fire. We pruned back sea grapes, brush, and raked up the blanket of sea grape leaves.
In June of 2014 the habitat enrichment project entered its 2nd year, with over 495 Service-learning hours contributed.
in June of 2013 we pulled beach ragweed from off the rest of mound at the end of parking lot 2.