Field Trips

NAISMA hosts the only conference to bridge geographic divides across North America in invasive species management. Network with natural resource managers, researchers, and leaders in the invasive species field. 

2022 Annual Conference Field Trips

The Ft. Myers/Naples area and Sanibel Island are home to some of the best wildlife and unique habitats in North America — as well as numerous invasive species challenges and successes. Many thanks to co-hosts Florida Invasive Species Council for connecting us with tour sites and guides that showcase invasive species management in such a verdant environment.

All field trips except the Edison and Ford Winter Estates include a box lunch.

two-story house with palm trees and a white arbor, The Edison And Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers, Florida

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Monday, November 7th, 1:30 pm – 4:30pm

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates include 20 acres of world renowned gardens with more than 1,700 plants representing more than 400 species from six continents. This is a National Register Historic Site and is one of the most visited historic home sites in America. In 1927, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone were concerned about America’s dependence on foreign rubber sources for its industrial enterprises. The three men formed the Edison Botanic Research Corporation (EBRC). Under Edison’s leadership, the corporation sought a source of rubber that could be grown and produced quickly in the U.S., in the event of a foreign supply shortage. After testing more than 17,000 plant samples, Edison eventually selected Goldenrod as the most suitable. The Laboratory was operational until 1936 (five years after Edison’s death), when the project was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This tour will be led by Debbie Hughes, Horticulture Director, who will talk about the estate’s work to maintain the unique gardens while managing invasive plants. You will have time to tour the gardens on your own and visit the gift shop before returning to the hotel.

man holds python larger than he is

Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Naples

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm

For more than 50 years, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has been a leading environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the water, land, wildlife within southwest Florida. The Conservancy uses the synergy of four teams to meet this mission; Environmental Policy, Environmental Science, Environmental Education and Wildlife Rehabilitation.
 
The Conservancy recently expanded their nature center to include a dynamic invasive species exhibit featuring live Burmese pythons, cane toads and lion fish. The new center also includes an interactive science on a sphere exhibit. The campus tour also includes an electric boat ride through the mangrove habitat along the Gordon river in Naples.
 
Join Wildlife Biologist Ian Bartoszek for a tour of the invasive species lab and observe a necropsy of a large Burmese python. Learn about the research and removal efforts behind a radio-telemetry project that started in 2013 and to date, has removed over 25,000 pounds of python from the area.
birds in water at sunset with strip of land in back

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

Tour the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel. The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order creating the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge in 1945 and in 1967 was renamed in honor of Jay Norwood Darling. The refuge consists of over 6,400 acres of mangrove forest, submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes, and West Indian hardwood hammocks. The refuge is world famous for spectacular migratory bird populations. Participants will learn the history of the conservation heritage on Sanibel Island, visit the Visitor Education Center, tour Wildlife drive to view migratory birds and other wildlife. Participants will visit a recently acquired parcel that is infested with various exotic invasive plants and animals that is scheduled for wetland restoration, as well as view other recently restored areas of the refuge.
Koreshan State Park pine tree and lush vegetation

Koreshan State Park and Estero Bay State Parks, Ft. Myers

Wednesday, Nov. 9. 10:00 am – 2:30 pm

This field trip will bring you to two Florida State Park sites that show the contrast between an area with 50+ invasive species at Koreshan State Park and restored Florida mesic flat woods and scrub habitat at Estero Bay. The tour will highlight the unique habitats of the area, the cultural importance and history of the Koreshan settlement, the challenge of effective public communications about invasive species management in a densely populated area, and integrated plant management techniques including fire, manual removal, and herbicide.

Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples

Thursday, Nov. 10, 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm

Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a journey into the heart of the Everglades ecosystem. Discover the rugged beauty of this famed natural area on Corkscrew’s famous boardwalk. There are two options with this tour. You can either take an easy walking 1.5 mile walk on the boardwalk or take a rugged buggy drive (limited to 10 people and is not ADA accessible) through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. Located about 30 minutes east of Naples, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, and red-bellied turtles. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, and raptors can be seen throughout the year, while the fabulous Painted Bunting is one of many winter visitors.