Blog Description

Mound House Happenings shares the latest in ongoing projects, site improvements, scheduled programs and events, plus interesting facts and photos on our unique archaeology, history and ecology.

Mound House

Mound House
October 15, 2013

Friday, September 21, 2012

Moment(s) of Zen...

...In the Wake of the Calusa!

Mound House - Calusa Blueway Festival 2012

This year, the Mound House will participate in the 2012 Calusa Blueway Festival on November 1st, 2012. We will be hosting a back bay paddle in Estero Bay, launching from the Mound House at 9am. Spaces are limited, so please call to reserve your spot today!

Prices are $30.00 per person, $15.00 with Festival Wristband, No Charge if you bring your own equipment.

Call 239-765-0865 or email to reserve your spot
 ...In the Wake of the Calusa!

Information on the 2012 Calusa Blueway Festival can be found at

Friday, September 14, 2012

Moment of Zen...

Want to Volunteer?

Volunteer at Mound House!
Mound House is an archeologically and historically significant property, where the William H. Case House, the oldest standing structure on Estero Island (Ft. Myers Beach), sits atop a 2,000 year old Calusa Indian shell mound. The site itself employs a small staff and relies extensively on its volunteers. Volunteers at Mound House bring history to life “from the ground up” through tours of our “Plants and Peoples” trail and taking visitors into our incredible underground exhibit, “Stories Beneath Our Feet.” These tours take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. In addition, volunteers assist with kayak tours and environmental programs, lend a hand with school groups, set up and staff special events and festivals, help in the office, provide maintenance of the grounds, and assist with a variety of other exciting projects. 
New volunteers undergo a short training program where you will get the opportunity to learn about Southwest Florida’s unique ecology and history. The training includes a few lectures and field trips to some of our cultural partners throughout the region. Previous field trips have included Manatee Park, the Museum of Southwest Florida History, and J. N. Ding Darling National Wild life Refuge. Volunteers are a vital part of Mound House.  Training is critical because the volunteer may be the only Mound House representative with whom visitors interact. It is the image of the volunteer and the tour experience that visitors take away with them. Volunteers are truly the ambassadors of Mound House to the visiting public. Volunteering offers a great way to expand your horizons, meet new friends, and improve your health. So if you are friendly, enthusiastic, and reliable help put a smiling face on Mound House and the Town of Fort Myers Beach for our many diverse visitors every year by contacting Brent Newman, Education Coordinator,, or (239) 765-0865.

Volunteer Jobs currently offered:

Green Team
Office Help
Docent/Tour Guide

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Underground Exhibit Unveils New Custom Mural

Stories Beneath Our Feet
– Underground Exhibit Unveils New Custom Mural

The Mound House on Fort Myers Beach is offering guided tours of the newly renovated underground exhibit – Stories Beneath Our Feet. The exhibit has been undergoing numerous changes in the last few months and the Town of Fort Myers Beach would like to share them with the public.

The improvements began with construction of a new wall along the north and east side of the exhibit. The east side was fitted with a door for authorized access to the exhibit. Then, the new wall was primed and prepared for a 44’ long, custom Calusa Indian Mural – a true sight to behold. The mural depicts a peaceful and serene scene from what artists believe life was like for the Calusa Indians who lived on the Mound House property over 1,000 years ago. Funding for completion of this project was generously given to the Mound House by the Florida Humanities Council.

Other improvements to the exhibit include the staining and coloring of the concrete floor turning it into a warm tan and terra cotta. This treatment on the floor compels visitors further into the space, which suddenly now feels more warm and inviting. The color chosen for the floor complements the raw exposed surface of the Mound’s layers of stratification.

Please stop by Mound House for your chance to see the improvements. Tours are offered every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9:00am – 12:00pm with the last tour leaving the picnic tables at 11:30am.

For more information about Mound House, please visit

Golden Silk Orb Weaver Spider

The GOLDEN SILK ORB WEAVER also commonly known as the ‘banana spider’ in Florida are common throughout warmer regions around the globe. Here on Estero Island, they can be found working on their intricate webs spanning them between trees and shrubs to capture insects. The photos shown in our blog were collected right here at Mound House. Note the complex web and the zig zag pattern within the web which gives this spider its other common name “writing spider.” The web of a banana spider can reach 3 feet or more across. Typically, these spiders weave a non-sticky outer spiral with in between spirals sticky spirals to capture prey. Interestingly, some webs are built with a haphazard network of guard strands that may hold plant detritus or insect carcasses. Scientist believe that these strands serve to alert birds of the presence of the web and avoid flying into and destroying the web.

The venom of the banana spider is potent but non- lethal to humans. The bite causes local pain, redness and blisters… so avoid them.    

Monday, September 10, 2012

Plants in Profile #18

Plants in Profile #18 - GOLDENROD (Solidago sp.)

There are three species of goldenrod growing around the Mound House property. These include the giant goldenrod, seaside goldenrod and slender goldenrod. These species of solidago all have become well adapted to surviving on the shell mound that comprises Mound House with the giant goldenrod often reaching heights of 12 feet or more. In the fall ,their vivid, bright yellow flowers decorate the road around the site and on the meadow.

Goldenrod is often blamed for causing hay fever and this is inaccurate. Historically, goldenrod has been used for making tea to treat kidney stones, and was chewed by native Americans to treat sore throats .Goldenrod produces a spicy tasting honey. Looking for a domestic source of high quality, inventor Thomas Edison utilized goldenrod to produce rubber, and the tires on the Model T given to him by Henry Ford were made of goldenrod. While producing a very high quality product ,this production was soon supplanted by the invention of synthetic rubber from petroleum products.       

Creature Feature #18

Creature Feature #18 - AMERICAN WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus)

Visitors to the Mound House frequently encounter flocks of white ibis wading the rocky shoreline, perched in the mangroves or patrolling our freshly mowed lawn in search of grubs and insects.
A very distinctive wading bird, the white ibis sports a long curving orange bill, orange legs and brilliant white plumage with black wingtips when mature. Younger white ibis are a brownish white.
The American white ibis can be found throughout the Gulf and South Atlantic coastal regions of the United States ,Mexico and Central America as well as the Caribbean. They are found in a variety of habitats from muddy pools to mangrove swamps, mudflats, cypress forests and even the manicured lawns here on Estero Island.

Feeding primarily on small fish, crabs and crayfish as well as insects, the white ibis readily adapts its feeding behavior to match availability. During the breeding season, ibis gather in large flocks. They are territorial and defend their nests against intruders with elaborate displays of bill snapping ,lunging and biting.

Sometimes, the American white ibis can be found foraging in mixed species flocks that include the glossy ibis, the scarlet ibis and even wood storks. Many of the white ibis observed on Estero Island will move inland to the coastal marshes as waters recede with the onset of the dry season. These lowered water levels concentrate forage species such as minnows and crayfish into much smaller areas making feeding easier for the ibis.

Native American folklore holds that the white ibis is the last bird to seek shelter before a hurricane and the first to emerge after the storm, making the ibis a first a harbinger of danger and later optimism as the “all clear” sign that the hurricane has passed. Fittingly, the white ibis is also the mascot of the Miami Hurricanes.