Founded in 1967, SCCF (The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. From our earliest days, SCCF has been known as a land trust with an impressive acquisition record. The story of SCCF’s land conservation efforts spans almost five decades on the islands on Sanibel, Captiva, Buck Key, Albright, York, Coconut and the Long Cut preserve on Pine Island.
Today, SCCF is the largest private landowner on Sanibel Island. We manage more than 1,200 acres on Sanibel plus more than 600 additional acres on Captiva and other islands. SCCF also facilitated the acquisition and fundraising for an additional 470 acres currently managed by the State of Florida or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This environmental success story has been made possible by the generous support of conservationist donors and public sector partners, particularly the City of Sanibel and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
About to embark on our 50th year, SCCF program areas have grown to include Wildlife & Habitat Management, Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring, Environmental Education, Natural Resource Policy, our Marine Research Laboratory, and our Native Landscapes & Garden Center.
SCCF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Wildlife & Habitat Management
The Wildlife & Habitat Management staff manages over 1,800 acres of environmentally sensitive land for permanent conservation and for the benefit of wildlife. Ongoing research and monitoring ensure the effectiveness of our habitat management efforts.
Our Sea Turtle program coordinates over 100 volunteers during the very productive summer nesting season. The islands’ beaches are also important nesting and wintering habitat for shorebirds. SCCF staff and volunteers help protect nesting areas and conduct research on habitat quality and human disturbance.
SCCF offers dozens of environmental education programs and tours annually at our Nature Center and, more recently, at the SCCF Bailey Homestead Preserve. The preserve is the home of the Native Landscapes and Garden Center. We educate people about environmental issues, island conservation history, and living safely with alligators and other wildlife that are a natural part of our environment. We also offer onboard education, including Oxbow River Tours and the No Child Left On Shore program.
Native Landscapes & Garden Center
The SCCF Native Landscapes & Garden Center has been able to expand thanks to its relocation to the 28-acre Bailey Homestead Preserve over the last year. With additional space, the staff have added an array of demonstration gardens showing native plants in their preferred habitat. Beyond being a welcoming destination, it’s a tremendous outdoor classroom for homeowners and businesses to learn how to landscape for wildlife on their own properties.
Natural Resource Policy
Our Natural Resource Policy work addresses one of the primary challenges facing the islands – water quality. The active hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005 led to the dumping of billions of gallons of polluted water into local waters — then see-sawed to years of drought — and then boomeranged back to record-breaking rains in 2013 and 2016. Consequently, water management issues are a major SCCF policy focus.
The work of our Marine Research Laboratory helps provide a scientific grounding for our policy efforts. In addition to our RECON sensor network, the Lab scientists also conduct a variety of monitoring, research and restoration efforts within our local estuary, focusing on water quality and critical marine habitats – such as seagrasses, mangroves and oyster reefs - as well as the species that inhabit them.
Using RECON (River, Estuary & Coastal Observing Network) sensors, our Marine Lab scientists continuously monitor ten key water quality parameters including salinity, temperature, and chlorophyll a, an indicator of the presence of algae. Data collected from the RECON sensors are used by local, regional and state agencies to make decisions concerning the health, conservation and restoration of the estuary.