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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


It's official, GovernOr Scott approved funding for the completion of Mound House in the amount of $445,000.00. We were ranked 8th on the list for Cultural Facilities and have been approved! CONGRATULATIONS to Mound House and a very big THANK YOU to all who wrote letters of support and worked so hard to get this passed!


Click HERE to see it with your own eyes :)

Fort Myers Beach Artists

Carole and Sandy enjoyed the Mound's features on Wednesday April 18th. They spent the better part of the morning capturing the most beautiful parts of the site, and even used a little artistic interpretation to relocate plants to more ideal locations :)

Sandy Zimmerman painting at the Mound House

Sandy Zimmerman

Carole Roemer painting a banana tree flower at the Mound House

Carole Roemer

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our Strangler Fig

Strangler Figs are cousins of the Banyan Tree. Often seeds are dispersed by birds into the crevices of already established trees. The seeds will mature and grow into their roots downward into and around the tree, effectively "strangling" the existing tree.

Here is our strangler fig today:

Moment of Zen

Friday, April 13, 2012

What is an Estuary?

Location, location, location. The Mound House sits in one of the most advantageous sites on Estero Island. But why? Because it is located on high up on a mound, overlooking an estuary. But, what is an estuary?

An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal water body where freshwater runoff from the land mixes with the salty ocean. Entire watersheds contribute freshwater to the estuary through gradual ground water seepage, streams, and rivers, and thus events and activities far inland can influence an estuary. The estuary is one of many environments participating in the larger hydrological cycle.
Freshwater run-off is rich in nutrients from eroded top soil and other plant and animal sources. These nutrients coupled with other food sources and protective habitats offered by sea grasses and mangroves create an ideal environment for many species of wildlife. Estuaries are vital nurseries for salt water fishes and over 90 percent of all oceanic creatures spend part of their life cycle in estuarine waters. The estuaries are an equally important habitat for birds that fish the shallow waters and take roost along the mangrove shoreline. Sub-tropical estuaries are the most biologically productive environments in the world.

Water salinity within an estuary varies widely due to the mixing of fresh and salt water. Generally, the water is saltier near the ocean side, brackish in the middle, and fresher near river outflows. This variation, coupled with water depth gives rise to diverse micro-environments within the estuary, which in turn influence the distribution of wildlife and, in particular, the distribution of relatively immobile shellfish.
Change is constant in estuary ecosystems. Cycles of day and night, high and low tides, and annual rainy and dry seasons all influence the size and distribution of micro-environments within the estuary. In addition, tropical storms and hurricanes can dramatically reshape micro-environments within an estuary. For example, the opening and closing of barrier island passes can influence greatly local salinity characteristics.

Mound House Tours - Cancelled

Mound House tours will continue to be cancelled from April 15th up to and including April 21st due to construction on the ADA pathways onsite. For questions or more information please call 239-765-0865 or email

Monday, April 9, 2012


As you may know, the “Mound” we stand on at Mound House is made up of thousands upon thousands of shells, brought here over a span of hundreds of years by the Calusa, who used these shells for food, tools and ultimately, building material for the mound. And if you have ever been to a Mound House educational program, group tour, or even the Mound House festival display table, then you know that touch tanks holding the living examples of these shells and other marine life give a “hands on” experience to educate our students and visitors. In order to provide that experience, fish, crabs, conchs, whelks, clams, pen shells, oysters, hermit crabs, ark shells, cockles, horseshoe crabs and other creatures are harvested under a collectors permit and kept on site in special holding pens where they live and grow. Some specimens, such as fish or crabs are collected beforehand and released shortly after display, but other specimens such as mature lighting whelks and conchs, or clams, may be kept indefinitely since they are able to thrive in a back bay holding pen.

As an added benefit, long term data is now being collected by Mound House staff that provides information as to the seasonal availability and abundance of various sea creatures in our back bay and on our beaches. We know that storms, or changes in water temperature or salinity, as well as the life cycles of various species have always influenced their abundance in our waters and this may be evident in the archaeological record.  Furthermore, our holding pens can help provide  basic information about the feasibility of aquaculture that may have been used by the Calusa to harvest some species in times of abundance, and saving them in their own “holding pens” for future use.    

- story written by Parke Lewis

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mound House Tours Cancelled

Mound House tours will continue to be cancelled from April 8th up to and including April 21st due to construction on the ADA pathways onsite. For questions or more information please call 239-765-0865 or email

Moment of Zen

And now, for your moment of zen....

Mound House closed week of April 1st - April 7th

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused visitors, but regular tours at Mound House were cancelled this week, April 1st - April 7th, due to construction on the ADA sidewalks that surround the property. For a "before" picture, see below. We will soon be posting "after" pictures, stay tuned!!