Aug. 17, 2022
Snowy Plover Art by Kids K-6 to be Featured on Signs

SCCF is seeking submissions of art featuring snowy plovers from children grades K-6. Three winners will have their creations displayed on official SCCF snowy plover nesting area signs on Sanibel beaches, thanks to funding from the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society. Click below for contest rules and submission guidelines.

24K+ Sea Turtle Hatchlings & a Loyal Loggerhead

As of today, the SCCF sea turtle team has documented 765 loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and 17 green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) nests. 24,000 sea turtle hatchlings have emerged on Sanibel and Captiva Islands this year, and 73 of those babies are the offspring of Fighting Conch, a loyal loggerhead who was first spotted on the islands in 2016. Fighting Conch has since laid seven reported nests, including two in 2022.

SCCF Presents at Global Freshwater Turtle Conference

From the humid, flat landscape of Southwest Florida to the dry, mountainous terrain of Tucson, SCCF wildlife biologists Chris Lechowicz and Mike Mills traveled to Arizona last week to present on Florida mud turtles (Kinosternon steindachneri) and Florida chicken turtles (Deirochelys reticularia chrysea) at the Annual Symposium on the Conservation and Biology of Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles.

RECON 2.0 Enhances HAB Detection in Caloosahatchee

On Aug. 5, SCCF Marine Lab Manager A.J. Martignette and Research Assistant Sierra Greene trailered a boat to Moore Haven to continue upgrading the water quality sensors in our River, Estuary, and Coastal Observing Network (RECON). The new technology (dubbed RECON 2.0) will enhance our detection of algal blooms throughout the Caloosahatchee River and estuary, drive valuable science, and provide increased public awareness.

WANTED: Sponsors to Support & Celebrate Coastal Watch's Volunteer Program!

SCCF is proud to be celebrating Coastal Watch, our marine conservation volunteer program, with The Watch Party from 5:30-9 p.m. on Sept. 30. The indoor-outdoor party will feature live music, a casting competition, food and alcohol, and more. Learn about sponsorship opportunities and stay tuned for ticket sales to open up next week on Aug. 24.

SCCF Shares Comments on LOSOM Draft Environmental Statement

Last evening, Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis delivered public comments on behalf of SCCF regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed water management plan for Lake Okeechobee. DePaolis affirmed SCCF’s support of the draft plan — which allows water managers the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions and strives for an equitable distribution of water resources among stakeholders — while highlighting some concerns with the document. SCCF will submit written comments on Sept. 12.

SCCF Questions Reasoning of Eden Oak Recommendation

Yesterday, the Lee County hearing Examiner released her recommendation to deny the rezoning of the Eden Oak parcel from agriculture to residential. While we agree with the recommendation, SCCF is concerned that the decision appears to provide the Board of County Commissioners with a roadmap to break with the Lee Plan and potentially allow development on the property. The commissioners will be voting to approve or deny this re-zoning request at a future meeting. SCCF will provide the date when it is announced, as well as further analysis of the decision, and how concerned community members can continue to engage with the process. If you'd like to learn more about the history of Eden Oak, click here.
Meet the Natives:

Horsemint (Monarda punctata) is a perennial wildflower that is a proven pollinator favorite. It is often referred to as spotted beebalm due to the purple spots that decorate its white flowers. The whorls of spotted flowers sit above the showy purple/pink bracts that are often mistaken for flower petals. These fragrant, nectar-filled flowers attract a variety of pollinators including bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. The delicate light green foliage paired with its colorful summer blooms make this native wildflower a crowd pleaser for both people and pollinators alike!
Learn more about or purchase native plants like horsemint at the Native Landscapes and Garden Center, open Mon.-Thurs. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Pollination & Paddling at Sanibel Sea School

It's been a growth-filled summer at Sanibel Sea School. The last week of summer camp at SCCF's Bailey Homestead Preserve explored the importance of pollination and included nighttime insect observations and flower dissections. Across the island, seven female teenagers completed Wahine Toa Week, which built their skills and confidence in paddleboarding, orienteering, and camping under the stars on an uninhabited island.

Save the Date: Coastal Cleanup Day, Sept. 17

Join in the global effort to keep our oceans healthy by volunteering to pick up trash along a section of beach on Sanibel or Captiva for Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, Sept. 17. Sign up information will be coming soon. Any questions can be directed to
TDC-Funded Ad Campaign Goes Live at Chamber

An ad campaign intended to educate visitors and residents about SCCF’s Bailey Homestead Preserve has launched. A digital ad, pictured here, went live this week in the lobby of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce lobby, where an average of more than 6,000 visitors seek information about our islands each month. Other ads will be placed in island newspapers and shared on social media to help inform residents as well. The ad campaign, funded by the Lee County Tourist Development Council and created by Pearl Brands of Fort Myers, showcases the Bailey Homestead Preserve’s unique offering of nature with a history. READ MORE
In the News
SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis spoke to FOX4 News last week on behalf of 12 environmental organizations that recently issued a progress report on recommendations made by the Blue Green Algae Task Force in October 2019. According to the report card, 87% of the recommendations have not been fully implemented. DePaolis said while there have been attempts to move these recommendations forward, they have ultimately fallen short.

"There have been opportunities for DEP to act on these,” said DePaolis. “There have been a couple of bills that worked their way either through committee or into the House and Senate in 2021 and 2022, that then died either in committee or were not voted on and could have helped bring forward some of these recommendations.”

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