Sanibel Sea School is a founding member of Clear Your Gear, a collaborative effort among several Sanibel-based conservation organizations to reduce wildlife injuries caused by improperly discarded fishing gear. The group has released a new educational video, produced by Mark Meyers of TradeMarky Films, meant to encourage viewers to think about what happens to their fishing gear when they are finished with it. 

“This short, fun video helps people learn and remember what we can all do to preserve the safety and beauty of our waters,” said Dr. Heather Barron, Hospital Director at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) and Clear Your Gear Steering Committee Member. Barron treats numerous wildlife injuries caused by fishing gear, and birds and sea turtles are common victims. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps that individuals can take to help solve this problem.

“We love that so many people enjoy fishing and other water-based activities in Southwest Florida, and we know that the majority of them care deeply about the health of our ecosystems. Clear Your Gear aims to provide friendly reminders and easy tips to help residents and visitors fish responsibly and protect our wildlife. This video is one example of how we are doing that,” she said.

The video is set to a cleverly re-written version of a popular Irish folk song, called Drunken Sailor, and features a variety of local characters and scenery. It is available for viewing on Clear Your Gear's Facebook Page, website, and YouTube page. The group chose a humorous approach to keep things lighthearted, and to ensure that the video would be appropriate for all ages. “We wanted to create something that would illustrate the seriousness of the problem, appeal to a broad audience, and make people laugh. Mark was able to help us make that happen successfully with his ideas and talent,” said Sanibel Sea School’s Leah Biery, who is also a member of the Clear Your Gear Committee.  

Clear Your Gear participating organizations include The City of Sanibel, CROW, The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, The J.N.“Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Monofilament Busters, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, and Sanibel Sea School. The partnership is generously funded by grants from The West Coast Inland Navigation District, San-Cap Solutions to Avoid Red Tide, and The Sanibel-Captiva Fishing Club. Clear Your Gear would also like to thank the many volunteers who support this project for their hard work and dedication. To learn more, visit clearyourgear.org.

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