Comment

Sanibel Sea School’s Octifest Supports Ocean Outreach

Students from the Heights Foundation enjoyed a scholarship-supported educational outing with Sanibel Sea School. 

Students from the Heights Foundation enjoyed a scholarship-supported educational outing with Sanibel Sea School. 

Octifest on the Beach, Sanibel Sea School’s annual ocean celebration and fundraiser, will once again be held bayside on Causeway Island A. The event will take place on Sunday, March 11th at 6:30 PM, and will support the many outreach programs offered by the nonprofit organization, including scholarships for local children to attend ocean summer camps and day programs.  

“There is a remarkable need for high-quality experiential ocean education in our region,” said Dr. Bruce Neill, executive director and co-founder of the organization. “Each year, we receive many scholarship requests from teachers and individuals who want to give their children a meaningful learning opportunity. We hold Octifest to ensure that we can always say yes.” Sanibel Sea School provided more than 2,000 scholarships in 2017, and has never allowed financial circumstances to prevent a student from participating.

Over the past decade, Sanibel Sea School has forged strong partnerships with fellow non-profits including the Heights Foundation, Pine Manor Improvement Association, Gladiolus Center for Learning and Development, and the PACE Center for Girls, bringing hundreds of at-risk kids to experience Sanibel’s waters each year. They also work with numerous schools in Lee and Hendry Counties. “We call these our landlocked kids,” said Neill. “They live near the coast, but many have never set foot on the beach. Showing these kids a jellyfish or teaching them to surf for the first time is an incredible thing. It opens their minds, helps them build confidence, and enhances their classroom success.”

It is thanks to support from the local community that Sanibel Sea School is able to provide these outreach programs, which are funded by donors. Octifest is the single largest source of funds for the organization each year. “We hope you will join us for sunset views, a delicious and sustainable meal, and a few opportunities to support a very good cause,” said Neill. 

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. To learn more about Octifest or to purchase tickets, visit octifest.org or call 239-472-8585.

 

Comment

Comment

Kids Can Fish or Surf After School at Sea School

Sanibel Sea School will offer after school fishing and surfing lessons in March and April. 

Sanibel Sea School will offer after school fishing and surfing lessons in March and April. 

Sanibel Sea School will once again offer After School Programs for local students in March and April. Activities will include fishing and surfing, and participants will have a chance to learn a new sport or improve their existing skills.

Fishing classes are open to children ages 8-13 and will cover topics such as cast netting, knot tying, and fish finding. Students will have a chance to practice what they learn in a field-based setting. Surfing lessons are open to participants ages 6-13, and instructors will demonstrate how to paddle, turn, “pop-up”, and catch a wave. Each student will receive individual attention and instruction.

“It’s easy to get caught in the cycle of homework, evening routines, and television, but we think it’s important for Florida kids to make time to explore the ocean that is right in their backyard,” said Nicole Finnicum, the organization’s Director of Education. “Our After School Programs are designed to give students the basic skills they will need to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water,” she added.

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. Fishing will be held on Wednesdays in March, and Surfing will be held on Wednesdays in April from 3:30 to 5:30 PM at Sanibel Sea School’s Flagship Campus (455 Periwinkle Way). Cost is $36 per student per session. To learn more and register, visit sanibelseaschool.org/afterschool or call (239) 472-8585. 

Comment

Comment

Sanibel Sea School Offers River Class for Adults

A series of classes about rivers at Sanibel Sea School will look at how these bodies of water shape our world. 

A series of classes about rivers at Sanibel Sea School will look at how these bodies of water shape our world. 

Sanibel Sea School’s series of Winter Workshops for adults continues in February with Rivers: The Great Connectors. Led by the organization’s executive director, marine biologist Dr. Bruce Neill, the classroom-based, four-part course will examine how rivers near and far connect and shape ecosystems and human communities.  

“Rivers form the connection between so many things in our world,” said Neill. “They connect lakes to oceans, people to water, and inland habitats to coastal communities. It is fascinating to think about the biological, social, and political impacts they have had in Florida and around the world.” 

Session topics will include how rivers evolve over time and geography, how climate affects river ecosystems, how humans are changing rivers, and the important role that rivers have played in civilization throughout history. 

Sessions will be held 2/21, 2/28, 3/7, and 3/14 from 9 AM – 12 PM at Sanibel Sea School’s Flagship Campus (455 Periwinkle Way). The cost is $75 per session. Students are invited to sign up for individual topics, or to register for the entire series. To learn more, visit sanibelseaschool.org/sanibel-adult-programs or call (239) 472-8585. 

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.

Comment

Comment

Pine Manor Students Visit Sanibel Sea School

Participants prepared for a stand up paddleboarding lesson. 

Participants prepared for a stand up paddleboarding lesson. 

Students from the Pine Manor Improvement Association visited Sanibel Sea School on a windy Saturday morning to learn about marine science and enjoy a day at the beach.

Activities included using a seine net to catch fish, swimming, and stand up paddling lessons. “Many of our Pine Manor students rarely have an opportunity to visit the coast, despite living right over the bridge in Fort Myers,” said educator Johnny Rader. “It’s always fun to see how excited they are to learn new ocean facts and skills,” he added.

Some participants learned how to use a stand up paddleboard for the first time, and each received one-on-one guidance from Sanibel Sea School’s instructors. By the end of the day, every child successfully paddled a course, despite heavy winds and rough waters. Other highlights included catching shrimp, jellyfish, tonguefish, and other unique creatures in the seagrass, and a picnic lunch at the Sea School.

IMG_4808.JPG

This and other outreach programs are made possible by Sanibel Sea School’s donor-supported scholarship fund, which ensures that no individual is turned away from ocean learning due to cost.

IMG_4852.JPG

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. The Pine Manor Improvement Association is a private non-profit agency that provides services to approximately 3,000 children and families that are at risk in the Pine Manor area of Fort Myers. Learn more at sanibelseaschool.org. 

IMG_4804.JPG

Comment

Comment

Staff Spotlight: Char Cadow and Emmett Horvath

Sanibel Sea School is growing, and we are happy to welcome two new marine science educators to our team. Char Cadow hails from Norwich, VT and loves avocados. Emmett Horvath is our first former Sanibel Sea School student to join us as a full time, year-round employee! Learn more about Char and Emmett below...


Char Cadow, Marine Science Educator

Where are you from?
I’m from the wee little town of Norwich, VT, known for King Arthur Flour, Dan and Whits General Store, and the Saturday Farmer’s Market.

fullsizeoutput_c.jpeg

Where did you go to school and what did you study? 
I studied Environmental Science at Colorado College. CC is a small liberal arts school situated at the base of Pikes Peak, Colorado.

Is there something about working at Sanibel Sea School that you are looking most forward to?
There is so much to learn about marine ecosystems, and I am super jazzed to share the ongoing discovery process with kids, adults, and the groovy team at Sx3. 

What do you like to do during your time off? 
I love to run, bike, longboard, explore, hike, paddleboard, read, practice yoga, journal, watercolor, play the guitar, and cook! Sometimes I sleep, too.

Favorite sea creature: 
Dwarf seahorse because: 1) They have prehensile tails; 2) They’re defying gender norms; 3) They look like horses; 4) We can find them in the seagrass just down the road! 

What's the best music for a weekend at the beach? 
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

If you could visit any marine ecosystem on the planet, where would you go? 
I would go to Alaska, but there’s almost 34,000 miles of shoreline in Alaska, so I’d logically have to visit the fjords, mudflats, rocky intertidal, and the lagoons. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself? 
My favorite food (also my spirit fruit) is avocado with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon.


Emmett Horvath, Marine Science Educator

Where are you from?
Hanover, New Hampshire... Live Free or Die!

Where did you go to school and what did you study? 
I attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where I majored in marine biology, minored in studio art, and ran cross country.

Is there something about working at Sanibel Sea School that you are looking most forward to?I'm looking forward to being part of a tribe where every day is an adventure in the great outdoors!

DSC_0723.JPG

What do you like to do during your time off? 
I like to run, longboard, canoe, hike, adventure, and explore!

Favorite sea creature: 
Definitely the osprey, my spirit animal, though sharks, specifically lemon and whale sharks, are close runners-up!

What's the best music for a weekend at the beach? 
Bluegrass (look up Trampled By Turtles), and jazz (check out the Dirty Dozen Brass Band).

If you could visit any marine ecosystem on the planet, where would you go? 
I haven't spent very much time on the Pacific side of the continent, so the Pacific Northwest is definitely high up on my list!

Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself? 
Part of my heritage is Swedish and my ancestors were Vikings; the sea is in my blood. 

Thank you, Char and Emmett! 

Comment

Comment

Donors Help Sanibel Sea School Purchase New Transportation

Sanibel Sea School staff members Char Cadow, Christina Gould, Sam Lucas, Shannon Stainken, Emmett Horvath, Nicole Finnicum, Johnny Rader, and Bruce Neill pose for a photo with one of the organization's new vans.

Sanibel Sea School staff members Char Cadow, Christina Gould, Sam Lucas, Shannon Stainken, Emmett Horvath, Nicole Finnicum, Johnny Rader, and Bruce Neill pose for a photo with one of the organization's new vans.

Thanks to the Szymanczyk Family and a group of supporters who call themselves The Sanibel Sea School Friends, Sanibel Sea School was able to purchase three gently-used vans for use in the organization’s educational programs and camps. 

Sanibel Sea School’s teaching staff members, who often drive students to locations around the island for field-based ocean learning programs, explained that the aging buses previously used by the school were beginning to require frequent and costly maintenance, and were a source of stress for drivers. 

"Over the summer, I was so nervous that the bus would break down every time I led a field trip," said educator Nicole Finnicum. "It is such a relief to have newer vehicles that work properly, so I can stay completely focused on giving our students a great ocean experience," she added. 

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. To learn more, visit sanibelseaschool.org.

 

 

Comment

Sanibel Sea School Hosts First Community Camp Day

Comment

Sanibel Sea School Hosts First Community Camp Day

During an echolocation relay race, blindfolded campers had to run through an obstacle course guided by their partner's voice. 

During an echolocation relay race, blindfolded campers had to run through an obstacle course guided by their partner's voice. 

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sanibel Sea School hosted local students for the organization’s first ever Community Camp Day, a free day of ocean fun and learning for children ages 6-13. The theme of the program was dolphins, and participants enjoyed a variety of related games and activities. 

“The idea to offer free educational camp days to kids in our community on school holidays stemmed from the Hurricane Camp we hosted after Irma,” said the nonprofit’s Director of Education, Nicole Finnicum. “Working parents expressed how difficult it can be to find reliable, affordable childcare for just one day. We saw it as an opportunity to help our neighbors solve an ongoing challenge.” 

Fun was had by all as students seined for fish, tested their taste buds during a fun experiment, swam like dolphins using a monofin, and ran through an echolocation obstacle course. They also had a chance to surf, and many braved the cold Gulf waters to catch a wave or two. 

Sanibel Sea School’s Community Camp Days are made possible by a donor-supported scholarship fund, which ensures that cost does not prevent children from participating in ocean education. Upcoming Community Camp Days will be announced via the organization’s Facebook and Instagram pages, and will also be shared with email list subscribers. To be added, please email your request to info@sanibelseaschool.org.

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. More information is available at sanibelseaschool.org

Comment

Comment

When the Ocean Gets Cold

Nine-armed sea stars were heavily impacted by cold temperatures on Sanibel this week. 

Nine-armed sea stars were heavily impacted by cold temperatures on Sanibel this week. 

With high temperatures in the 50s and lows in the low 40s this week, we are currently experiencing a cold spell in Southwest Florida. It may sound like no big deal, especially compared to the “bomb cyclone” affecting much of the northeastern United States, but we’re used to highs in the 70s in January, and we Floridians are known for our low cold tolerance. As we bundle up in our winter layers, it turns out some of our local creatures are feeling the chill as well. We sat down with Doc Bruce to learn more about how unusually cold temperatures can impact the sea and its residents.

How unusual is it for Southwest Florida to experience cold spells in the winter? How cold is "cold", in Southwest Florida terms? 

I think that cold is cold when it gets close to, or below, the 40°F mark. It seems like at about that point, we tend to find more stressed animals, both in the sea and on land. The last significant cold spell was about 10 years ago. If I recall correctly, temperatures reached the high 30s, and there was a significant snook die-off.

How fast does the water temperature change, in relation to the air temperature?

Much more slowly. Water absorbs (and loses) heat relatively slowly. Right now, the Gulf temperatures are in the low 60s to high 50s. The change is more profound for all of our embayments, where the water is much shallower and temperature changes occur much more rapidly. 

Is wind or cold worse for sea creatures? What role do tides play?

It’s hard to say if one is worse than the other, and they are often found together. The cold fronts almost always come with wind. Wind produces waves, and the creatures in the shallows, especially those that live attached to the bottom, are less able to hold on in the cold to begin with. The combination of waves and low temperatures means they can become detached from the bottom, which leaves them prone to being blown into unfavorable environments – many are washed up on the beach.

Which creatures are impacted the most by cold temperatures? 

Almost all of them, in our region. Manatees are very cold intolerant, which is why they migrate out of the ocean to rivers in the winter. Sand dollars and sea stars are commonly dislodged from the bottom and are blown or rolled onto the beaches. Some fish are much less tolerant than others. Snook are especially susceptible. 

Are there things we don't know, but are trying to learn, about how cold weather impacts marine life in subtropical regions? 

I think that most of us forget that the natural ranges of animals (and plants too) are not static lines on maps. They are created by tolerance to certain environmental variables, like cold. We are at the very northern range of many species, and it is episodic cold intrusions that kill many individuals and restrict the species from being able to live in more northern locations.

Does unusually cold weather mean global warming isn't happening?

No, and this is why we don't refer to it a global warming any more. We call it climate change. Although the overall global surface temperatures are increasing, the most immediate effect is climate change and variability. We find cold in warm places, warm in cold places, increasingly frequent large storm events, and more intense storm events. The variation in local climate factors is increasing, and that will produce more extremes on both sides.

Is there anything else we should know about temperature changes in the ocean? 

During winter storm events, the times that are the worst for our sea creatures are when we have extremely low tides. The animals are exposed to air, which is 20 degrees colder than the water, and most of these creatures are cold-blooded. This means their metabolic pathways slow down significantly, and they are less able to fend for themselves and do the things they normally do. In many cases, when they are exposed to cold air, they are faced with an additional challenge if it is raining. They are very highly adapted to life in salt water and being immersed (or rinsed) in fresh water is a real challenge. The systems they have in place to help tolerate those changes isn't working very well because they are cold. 

Thank you, Doc Bruce!

Comment

Comment

January Community Beach Walk

Nicole Finnicum talks about mangroves on a guided beach walk. 

Nicole Finnicum talks about mangroves on a guided beach walk. 

On Saturday, January 13th, Sanibel Sea School will offer a free community beach walk, led by the organization's team of marine science educators. This casual stroll along the beach provides an opportunity to learn about some of the items that have washed ashore. 

"On this family-friendly walk, we will look for interesting objects and creatures along the beach, and we will talk about what we find," said Director of Education Nicole Finnicum. "We love to meet our neighbors and answer any questions you might have, so please join us if your schedule allows!" 

To attend this walk, meet at Sanibel Sea School's Flagship Campus (455 Periwinkle Way) at 9 AM. The event will last approximately 2 hours, but you are welcome to come and go at your leisure. Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean's future, one person at a time. To learn more, visit sanibelseaschool.org

Comment

Comment

An Afternoon with the Heights Foundation

Children from the Heights Foundation’s after school program visited Sanibel Sea School for an afternoon of fun and learning at Bunche Beach, located just over the Sanibel Causeway in Fort Myers. Participants enjoyed a mangrove mud walk, played in the water, and used nets to search for marine creatures.

“We’ve been working with Heights to bring more kids to the ocean since 2014,” said the organization’s Director of Education, Nicole Finnicum. “We see them twice a month, once in the classroom and once for a field trip.” She added that many of the children who attend the Heights after school program do not often have a chance visit the ocean outside of their interactions with Sanibel Sea School.

“It was my first time leading the Heights outreach program, and it was so much fun,” said marine educator Shannon Stainken. “The kids were so excited to splash around and hold horseshoe crabs, and they really seemed interested in what I was teaching them.” Both organizations look forward to continuing their partnership in 2018.

The Heights Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that works to support struggling families in the Fort Myers neighborhood of Harlem Heights. Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. To learn more, visit heightsfoundation.org and sanibelseaschool.org

Comment

Comment

Birding Workshops for Adults

Sanibel Sea School will offer a series of birding classes in 2018. 

Sanibel Sea School will offer a series of birding classes in 2018. 

Beginning January 24th, Sanibel Sea School will offer two four-week workshops for adults. Open to participants ages 18 and older, topics will include birds and river ecology, and each series is designed to provide an in-depth examination of the subject matter in a relaxed setting.

“Like in a college course, students will be encouraged to engage in discussion and critical thinking with the instructor and their peers,” said the organization’s Director of Education, Nicole Finnicum. “We will all build our knowledge together, identifying particular areas of interest to explore along the way,” she added.

The first series, Birds of the Beach, will provide an overview of Sanibel’s most common (and some less common) bird species. Each week will focus on a different category of birds, including woodland birds, waders and divers, shorebirds, and gulls and terns. “It is the perfect course for anyone who would like to become a birder, or those who would like to advance their birding skills.” The only prerequisite for the program is a desire to learn more. It is possible to sign up for individual sessions, but students are encouraged to sign up for the whole series. 

For course details and to register, please visit sanibelseaschool.org/sanibel-adult-programs or call (239) 472-8585. Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.  

Comment

Comment

SanCap START is Now Coastal Keepers

The organization formerly known as START is now Coastal Keepers, an independent branch of Sanibel Sea School that will focus on organizing community conservation initiatives. The Board of Directors of SanCap START wanted to be able to have a more local impact without being tied to a larger, state-wide organization, so they decided to merge the two nonprofit organizations and become fully focused on locally relevant conservation issues.

"We very much enjoyed and benefited from our linkage with the larger state-wide START organization, but we want to focus all of our efforts and expend all of our monies in our own community, executing initiatives that will benefit our islands, funded by our residents," said Dr. Bruce Neill, Sanibel Sea School's executive director. 

He explained that merging SanCap START with Sanibel Sea School seemed like the most obvious and efficient next step, because the two nonprofits share an overarching mission. “I believe that the future of successful, small, mission-driven businesses like ours lies in the creation of partnerships to help minimize costs, share resources and maximize return on mission investment,” Neill said.

“Sanibel Sea School is in the business of conservation and education,” he added. “Combining business activities with START just makes a lot of business sense. The missions of the two businesses are very complimentary and our shared business infrastructure will only help us advance that mission with greater efficiency.”

Sancap START has long had a very close association with Sanibel Sea School, and this business combination makes that relationship more official and structured, but will not significantly change the projects that Coastal Keepers carries out. Planned initiatives include a continuation of the Bring Your Own Bag program, a partnership with local businesses to reduce disposable plastic use and distribute free reusable shopping bags on the islands, documentary screenings on environmental topics, a campaign to minimize the use of plastic straws in island restaurants, and more.

This structural change is a significant addition to the conservation education offerings at Sanibel Sea School. “We have long been able to communicate about environmental challenges the oceans face to young people, but that is really only half of the story. With Coastal Keepers, we will be able to sort of go the full way and not only educate young people about challenges, but then be able to demonstrate how we effect solutions to those challenges,” said Neill.

Coastal Keepers has plans to launch a new website in the coming weeks, and will be introducing some of their new initiatives soon. Look for the Coastal Keepers team distributing free, reusable canvas shopping bags at Bailey’s General Store on December 30th. 

Comment

Comment

Audubon Christmas Bird Count a Success on Sanibel’s East End

Volunteer birders surveyed Sanibel's east end during the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

Volunteer birders surveyed Sanibel's east end during the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

Sanibel Sea School organized a group of 26 enthusiastic volunteers to complete the 2017 Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Sanibel’s east end. On Saturday, December 16th, participants picked up their data sheets at the organization’s Flagship Campus on Periwinkle Way, then divided into groups to survey the area for birds as part of the world’s largest annual citizen science project. In total, the group counted 2,284 individual birds.

“This is the third year we’ve participated in the Christmas Bird Count as an organization, but our first year coordinating it on the east end,” said Johnny Rader, who led the event. “Every year is different, and you never know what you will see. That’s the exciting part,” he added. Notable species counted on the east end of the island this year included Yellow-throated Warblers, Snowy Plovers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and Red-breasted Mergansers. Volunteers also observed Red Knots, and a number of Mottled x Mallard Duck hybrids, which are not well understood. The most common sightings were Fish Crows, Laughing Gulls, and Brown Pelicans.

Data collected during the Christmas Bird Count will help scientists better understand the health of global bird populations and how we can protect them. Sanibel Sea School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. To learn more, visit sanibelseaschool.org. To receive communication about next year’s bird count, please email your request to info@sanibelseaschool.org.

Comment

Comment

Ocean Tribe Paddlers to Host Full Moon Paddle

Ocean Tribe Paddlers will lead a Full Moon Paddle on January 2nd. 

Ocean Tribe Paddlers will lead a Full Moon Paddle on January 2nd. 

Sanibel Sea School’s Ocean Tribe Paddlers, a new club for paddle sports enthusiasts, will host a Full Moon Paddle on January 2nd. Participants will enjoy an evening paddle in the waters around Bowman’s Beach, guided by Sanibel Sea School’s paddling instructor under the light of the moon.

“Paddling in the moonlight is an experience that every paddler needs to have,” said Walter Cheatham, the organization’s Outdoor Education Coordinator, who will lead the event. “The ocean is a different place at night, with different creatures moving around than you might see during the day, and the reflection of the moonlight on the water is so peaceful and beautiful.” Cheatham decided to plan this event because he realized that many paddlers he talked to were interested in paddling in the dark, but were intimidated or nervous to make the trip alone. “Banding together as a guide-led group will make us all safer and more confident,” he added.

To participate, meet at the Bowman’s Beach Kayak Launch at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, January 2nd. This event is free, and parking is available with a valid City of Sanibel Parking Pass, or for a small hourly fee. Please bring your own vessel – all kayaks, SUPs, and other paddle-powered vessels are welcome. A limited number of paddleboards are available to borrow, but please make a request via email in advance. Any weather-related changes will be announced via the Ocean Tribe Paddlers Facebook page. 

Ocean Tribe paddlers is a club founded by Sanibel Sea School, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, to help the SWFL paddling community better explore, enjoy, and understand the ocean. Visit oceantribepaddlers.org or follow the group on Facebook to learn more. Questions? Email oceantribepaddlers@sanibelseaschool.org

Comment

Comment

Staff Spotlight: Christina Gould

Christina Gould recently joined the Sanibel Sea School team as our new Office Coordinator. Learn more about Christina below and help us welcome her to the Ocean Tribe! 

IMG_1105.jpg

Where are you from?
I am originally from Columbia, MD but recently relocated to Sanibel from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA.

Where did you go to school and what did you study? 
I have a BS from York College of Pennsylvania in Criminal Justice with a concentration in law enforcement.

Is there something about working at Sanibel Sea School that you are looking most forward to? 
As a new Sanibel resident I look forward to learning about island conservation and sharing that knowledge with other residents and visitors.

What do you like to do during your time off? 
On my time off I love spending time with my husband and daughter exploring the island.

Favorite sea creature: My favorite sea creature is the dolphin.

What's the best music for a weekend at the beach? 
The best music for a weekend at the beach is anything from Zac Brown Band.

If you could visit any marine ecosystem on the planet, where would you go? 
If I could visit any marine ecosystem I would visit the Great Barrier Reef.

Comment

Comment

Winter Camp Registration Open at Sanibel Sea School

Winter campers at Sanibel Sea School enjoy days full of fun and learning at the beach. 

Winter campers at Sanibel Sea School enjoy days full of fun and learning at the beach. 

Registration for Sanibel Sea School’s ocean-themed winter camp programs is now open, and campers can sign up via the organization’s website. Two weeks of camp will be offered for children ages 6-13, beginning Tuesday, December 26th and Monday, January 1st. There will also be an opportunity for teenagers to participate as Counselors in Training.

In celebration of winter and colder climates, the first week’s theme will be Penguins, and the second week will be all about Polar Bears. All activities and games will relate to these creatures and their behavior, and will include surfing, seining, snorkeling, relay races, and crafts. “Of course we will also add our annual traditions to the camp schedule,” said Director of Education Nicole Finnicum. “We always write ocean carols and go canal caroling, we drink hot chocolate to warm up after surfing, and we hold our Give Your Worries to the Sea ceremony to begin the new year,” she added.

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean, one person at a time. Scholarships are available upon request. To learn more and register, click here or call (239) 472-8585. 

Comment

Comment

Sanibel Sea School to Host Sanibel Luminary Event

2015-11-26 19.43.17-X3.jpg

On Friday, December 1st, Sanibel Sea School will host Sanibel Luminary Festival attendees at the Sea School’s Flagship Campus on the east end of the island from 5 to 9 PM. The Sanibel Luminary Festival is a free community event held each year to mark the official start of the holiday season. 

Sanibel Sea School’s parking lot, which is located at 455 Periwinkle Way, will be converted into a festive patio space, and visitors will enjoy mulled wine, craft beer, delicious snacks (some fresh from the grill), and music. There will also be family-friendly games and activities, and a flash sale at the Ocean Tribe Outfitters, Sanibel Sea School’s retail space. All items will be 10% off during the event.  

“Luminary is one of our favorite events of the year, because we get to visit with so many of our friends and neighbors,” said Chrissy Basturk, Sanibel Sea School’s Development Director. “Our goal is to create a fun, festive evening for visitors, and to showcase some of the projects and programs our organization offers to the community.”

Sanibel Sea School is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. For more information, please call (239) 472-8585.

Comment

Comment

After School Ocean Art at Sanibel Sea School

Students in last year's Ocean Art class created sand dollar ornaments. 

Students in last year's Ocean Art class created sand dollar ornaments. 

On Thursday afternoons beginning November 30th, Sanibel Sea School will offer after school art classes for students in grades 1-5. Participants will have an opportunity to create beautiful, eco-friendly crafts made from natural materials each week.

“We’ll have a different art project planned for each session, and we will provide all of the supplies,” said Director of Education Nicole Finnicum. “We love to offer After School Art around the holidays, because our creations make great gifts,” she added. Past crafts have included painted driftwood signs, sand dollar ornaments, and picture frames decorated with shells.

Sessions are from 3:30 to 5:30 PM, and parent pick up and drop off will be at Sanibel Sea School’s Flagship Campus (455 Periwinkle Way). Participants can register for individual classes for $20 each, or sign up for the four-week series at a discounted rate of $75. Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. To learn more and register, click here

Comment

Comment

It's Almost Time for the Annual Thanksgiving Beach Walk at Sanibel Sea School

Emma Neill, Kira Zautcke, and Abby Neill enjoyed the 2016 Thanksgiving Beach Walk.

Emma Neill, Kira Zautcke, and Abby Neill enjoyed the 2016 Thanksgiving Beach Walk.

 

There’s so much to be thankful for when you live near the beach, like manatees, sand dollars, and sandy feet. Join Sanibel Sea School on Thanksgiving morning to enjoy the fresh ocean air and explore what has washed ashore. The nonprofit organization's executive director, marine biologist "Doc Bruce" Neill, will talk a bit about our island ecosystem and any interesting creatures encountered along the way, and will be happy to answer your questions. Meet at Sanibel Sea School (455 Periwinkle Way) at 8:45 AM on Thursday, November 23rd. This event is free and all ages are welcome. There will be coffee and tea available, please bring your own mug. Click here or call (239) 472-8585 for more information. 

Comment

Comment

Sanibel Sea School to Host Free Community Camp Days On School Holidays

Local students enjoyed Sanibel Sea School's free Hurricane Camp in September. 

Local students enjoyed Sanibel Sea School's free Hurricane Camp in September. 

Beginning in 2018, Sanibel Sea School will host free Community Camp Days for local students on select school holidays. The first free program will be offered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 15th. Registration details and additional program days will be announced via the organization’s social media accounts and e-mail list approximately one month in advance.

Each Community Camp Day will have a theme, and games and activities will always relate to the topic of the day. The first theme will be dolphins, and activities could include snorkeling, surfing, relay races, and art projects. “We received so much positive feedback from families for offering a post-Irma Hurricane Camp while schools were closed,” said Director of Education Nicole Finnicum. “Parents seemed so grateful to have a safe, affordable place to send their kids while they went back to work.”

She added that many parents asked for the nonprofit to offer similar opportunities in the future, on normal school holidays, which often present childcare challenges. The idea was perfect, because the Sanibel Sea School team is always looking for creative new ways to directly support the community with its donor-supported scholarship fund. “We immediately said yes and started planning,” said Finnicum. “All of us that work here are so grateful to have donors who make projects like this possible.”

Space is limited, and registration will be on a first come, first served basis. To ensure that all interested families have a chance to participate, registration will be limited to two free program days per calendar year, per child. For more information about future Community Camp Days, follow Sanibel Sea School on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up to receive the organization’s emails at sanibelseaschool.org. Alternatively, you may request to be added to the email list by emailing info@sanibelseaschool.org. Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. 

Comment