Naples Botanical Garden is home to a unique 90-acre nature sanctuary with habitats ranging from flooded brackish marsh to dry upland scrub. Less than three miles from Old Naples, the Preserve’s giant pines and ancient cypress, unspoiled marshes, and twisted mangroves, provides vital habitat for hundreds of species of animals – from eagles to otters and tree frogs to gopher tortoises. To date we have catalogued almost 300 species of native plants, some of them endangered, on our site. The David and Vicky Smith Uplands Preserve is approximately 33 acres of pine flatwoods and oak scrub.
Containing the highest natural elevation on the property, the Uplands is home to a community of over 50 gopher tortoises. These Threatened animals depend on the native plants of the Uplands to survive; the prickly pear cactus is a particular favorite. The Collier Enterprises South Wetland Preserve is our newest restoration project. The removal of thousands of invasive melaleuca and Brazilian pepper trees has been particularly rewarding as the native grasses, sedges, rushes and ferns are actively spreading, creating a much healthier habitat for wetland species. The open water in the South Wetland Preserve is also a critical stopping off point for migrating wading birds. Deep Lake is home to rookery island. This mound was probably created as a roadbed when the property was logged many years ago. Its isolated pine trees act as a net for air-borne seeds, creating a repository of many native epiphytes such as tillandsias and orchids. The James and Linda White Birding Tower is a perfect viewing point to watch birds on the Island as well as the neighboring marsh.
The White Birding Tower is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.