Students from the Pine Manor Improvement Association's Teen Program examine a tiny marine worm on a recent outing with Sanibel Sea School. 

Students from the Pine Manor Improvement Association's Teen Program examine a tiny marine worm on a recent outing with Sanibel Sea School. 

On Saturday, April 8th, Sanibel Sea School will once again host its annual fundraiser – Octifest on the Beach. Octifest will be held bayside, under a big-top tent on the Sanibel Causeway. Guests will enjoy a delicious and sustainable dinner, sunset views, stargazing, and a variety of opportunities to support the nonprofit organization’s mission to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. 

Funds raised at Octifest will help Sanibel Sea School purchase the equipment needed for its field-based ocean education programs, and will provide scholarships for thousands of local underprivileged children to explore the ocean each year. “We call our outreach groups our ‘landlocked’ kids,” said Chrissy Basturk, the school’s Development Director. “They live just a few miles from the coast, but many never visit the beach. If they do, there is not usually an opportunity for formal learning and discovery.” 

Sanibel Sea School’s partner groups include the PACE Center for Girls, the Pine Manor Improvement Association, Lee and Hendry County Schools, the Gladiolus Center for Learning and Development, the Heights Foundation, and hundreds of individual families that request financial support to attend camps and day programs each year. “We never turn anyone away because they are unable to pay for tuition,” said Basturk. “We believe that everyone should have equal access to ocean education, and our community is so generous in supporting us to make that happen.”

These kids wouldn’t have the ocean in their lives if it weren’t for our connection with Sanibel Sea School.
— Shari Clark, Resident Coordinator, Pine Manor Improvement Association

Shari Clark, Resident Coordinator for the Pine Manor Improvement Association, partners with Sanibel Sea School to bring participants in her teen program to Sanibel about once a month. “These kids wouldn't have the ocean in their lives if it weren't for our connection with Sanibel Sea School,” she said. “The field trips we take with Doc Bruce and his team of teachers give my group a new perspective on the vast world that exists beyond our neighborhood. It has helped them realize how much is out there to learn about and explore."

Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit whose vision is a world where all people value, understand, and care for the ocean. To learn more and purchase tickets to Octifest, visit octifest.org or call (239) 472-8585

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