Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters between Naples and Everglades National Park. From barrier island beaches and mangrove forests to cypress domes and freshwater marsh, the reserve provides habitat for wildlife and people. With a mission of promoting informed stewardship of the coast through research and education, Rookery Bay Research Reserve staff monitors water quality and weather, protects native biodiversity, educates students and engages the community through a vibrant volunteer program.
- Monday, December 18
- 10am – 12pm, FGCU Kapnick Center Buehler Auditorium at Naples Botanical Garden
- $15 Members / $20 Non-Members
Keith Laakkonen became the director of the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Naples, Florida in August 2015. He is responsible for administration and supervision of the 110,000-acre Reserve, working with more than thirty on-site employees involved in research, education, and coastal stewardship. Current priority efforts at the Reserve include watershed restoration, maintaining native biodiversity, and research and monitoring. Laakkonen also serves as the state’s Regional Administrator for aquatic preserves in Southwest Florida, supervising field offices and staff in Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Estero Bay.
Laakkonen returned to the Department after serving seven years as Environmental Sciences Coordinator for the Town of Fort Myers Beach. He has worked in resource management for eight years: at Charlotte Harbor State Buffer Preserve as a Land Management Coordinator from 2000 to 2003, at St. Martin’s Marsh Aquatic and Buffer Preserve and Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve as the Preserve Manager from 2004 to 2005, and at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as the Stewardship Coordinator from 2005 to 2007. He has extensive experience with watershed management, listed species management, land acquisition, prescribed fire management, hydrologic restoration, exotic plant and animal management, public access management, and environmental education and outreach. He began his career as an intern conducting research on American alligators with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Cooperative Research Unit in Gainesville after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida in 1998.
A native Floridian, Laakkonen received a B.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida, and is working toward a M.A. in Environmental Biology at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Registration for Lifelong Learning programs can be completed in person at the Chabraja Visitor Center or online via these links:
Purchase Member Tickets Purchase Non-Member Tickets
Certain programs fill up quickly and we accept registration on a first come, first served basis. Register early to ensure your program is not cancelled due to low enrollment. If a cancellation is required a refund will be issued.
Questions? Call us at 239.325.1354 or email us at LLL@naplesgarden.org.
Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.