The Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed (CREW) is a private non-profit organization that manages a land area encompassing 60,000 acres that straddles Lee and Collier counties in SW Florida. The South Florida Water Management District owns the land which is used as a water recharge area and the South Florida Water Management District which enforces the laws regarding hunting and wildlife.
I became aware of CREW when I took a naturalist course through the Florida Master Naturalist Program offered through the extension office in my county. (Lee) About 25 of us took a full day class every week for about 8 weeks examining the “Wetlands” in South Florida and learned about the importance of keeping water resource areas such as swamps, lakes, ponds and other fresh water bodies of water safe and protected. Wetlands provide a natural recharge place for rain water to filter back into the ground, and recharge aquifers where we get most of our drinking water. Our class shown above took a field trip to CREW one day and our nature walk took us through different ecosystems of trees, plants, dry and wet areas. Our experienced nature guide explained the different kinds of plants and animals that lived in this 60,000 acre region and what areas get particularly flooded during rainy season.
CREW has a staff of volunteers that work there at different times of the day and week that can offer visitors chances to take guided nature walks through the area. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning more about Florida’s natural areas and inland regions. Visit their website to learn more about this watershed and how to take advantage of its learning and ecotourism opportunities.