Back in Florida. The Rookery Bay Preserve lies southeast of Naples.
It protects 110,000 acres at the northern end of the Thousand Islands.
Up a Creek Kayaking Tours leads kayakers in tours through Rookery Bay,
along miles of mangrove forests.
Mangroves provide hiding places and food for birds, fish, oysters, barnacles, shellfish and other animals. In turn, these animals provide food for larger critters, like these ibises.
Mangroves grow on top of oyster beds.
Along the way, Susan -- the owner of the kayaking company and a naturalist -- stopped to show guests a big horse conch with its bright orange body. The horse conch is the state shell of Florida.
Later Susan showed a cluster of oysters, explaining the vital role oysters have in
filtering the water and providing the base for mangroves to grow on.
A morning spent kayaking in Rookery Bay is a peaceful way to get some exercise,
enjoy the natural world and learn a bit.