SCCF’s environmental educators reach thousands of residents and visitors every year with programs that encourage the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. Of all the educational programs supported through the Annual Fund Drive, the No Child Left On Shore outings are unquestionably among their favorites.
Designed by SCCF educators Kristie Anders and Captiva Cruises’ Richard Finkel and Paul McCarthy, NCLOS is a collaborative outreach project between SCCF and Captiva Cruises, the anonymous “Boat Lady,” the Schlossman Family, and many other supporters of SCCF’s annual operations.
This program addresses the real need to provide the children of Southwest Florida experiential knowledge of the Caloosahatchee watershed and estuarine environment. Shrinking school budgets have drastically reduced the number of educational field trips previously funded. Many Southwest Florida families, especially those with language, cultural, physical and economic barriers, do not have opportunities to get out on the water. Their children have never held a live sea star, shrimp or snail. They have never waded in shallow sea grass beds and observed a horseshoe or spider crab. Thanks to No Child Left On Shore’s on-water educational field trips, that is beginning to change.
“This is a fantastic way to foster environmental stewardship that will last a lifetime,” said SCCF Executive Director Erick Lindblad.
Among the groups on past outings were a youth group from The Immokalee Foundation, YMCA summer campers from Fort Myers’ Dunbar neighborhood, and children from the Brightest Horizons Child Development Center in Harlem Heights.
As Lee County educator Dr. Charles O’Connor wrote after his students joined Richard Finkel on a Cayo Costa field trip:
“Wow, what a fantastic No Child Left On Shore trip! Just a beautiful outing with all types of neat estuarine creatures gracing our day. The dolphin below generated an unusual water halo, just from the speed and power of his watery exit. We had groups of dolphins cavorting in our wake. Lots of sea creatures in the seine net – lined seahorse, horseshoe crab, striped burr puffer, pinfish, and a menagerie of other critters.”
Seeing these happy learners really demonstrates why our members support SCCF’s day to day operations.
We look forward to sharing more stories that illustrate how your operating support is making a difference. If you have not yet given to the Annual Fund Drive, please donate today. If you have questions, please contact Cheryl Giattini at 239-395-2768 or firstname.lastname@example.org.