Groups of second graders from Orangewood Elementary, located in Fort Myers, visited Sanibel Sea School during the first week of May to participate in ocean learning and exploration. Throughout the day, students rotated through a variety of stations, each with its own educational component. This partnership was subsidized by Sanibel Sea School’s donor-supported scholarship fund, to ensure that cost would not prevent any individual from attending.
Stations included seining, where students had a chance to catch and release creatures from the seagrass flats while learning about the seagrass ecosystem, surfing, which was accompanied by a lesson on the physics of waves, and a squid dissection. “I was so impressed by the kids’ excitement and their willingness to participate and learn,” said Johnny Rader, a marine educator at Sanibel Sea School. “One of their teachers told me that many students in her class are immigrants from Haiti, and have literally never been to the beach in Florida. They have been looking forward to this experience for months.” He added that he hoped the experience was as meaningful for his students as sharing the day with them was for him.
“We are working with more and more Lee County Schools each year,” said Rader, “and we’re realizing how many kids in our area hardly ever get to interact with the sea. Public schools have very little funding for field trips, and I’m so grateful that our donors make it possible for this to happen. It really means the world to these kids.” Sanibel Sea School will also host students from Manatee Elementary, Rayma C. Page Elementary, Allen Park Elementary, Tanglewood Elementary, and Pine Island Elementary this spring.
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.