February 10, 2022
Benedict Key Mangrove Restoration Flourishes
Following nine mangrove forest restoration projects on Benedict Key in Pine Island Sound in 2021, hundreds of the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) propagules that were planted have started to grow—almost all bearing green leaves. “This is a great sign that the damaged island could soon be restored to its original mangrove cover,” said SCCF Community Conservation Coordinator Kealy McNeal following a Jan. 28 visit to the key to review progress. “This is the first sign of successful restoration.” READ MORE
SCCF Studying Benthic Algae Impacts on Local Seagrass Beds

Seagrass losses are occurring worldwide with about 30 percent loss since the 1980s. Florida has had some areas with almost complete loss of seagrasses in enclosed areas such as the Indian River Lagoon. Through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant, SCCF is collaborating with Florida Gulf Coast University to document benthic algae’s impacts on local seagrass beds in Matlacha Pass. READ MORE
Why Clamping Down on Net Metering Could Stifle Our Resilient Future
By Carrie Schuman, Ph.D., SCCF Coastal Resilience Manager
Proposed bills in the Florida House and Senate—SB 1024 and HB 741—are working their way through committee and are targeting the practice of net metering, dismantling an important incentive for homeowners who currently have, or are considering installing, rooftop solar panels. SCCF views rooftop solar as a vital component of addressing climate change resilience. READ MORE Check SCCF’s Legislative Tracker for updates and learn more about advocating for rooftop solar by signing up for SCCF Action Alerts.
Join SCCF for Cause on the Causeway
SCCF is introducing a new event this season: Cause on the Causeway, which builds on the fun and successful tradition of Sanibel Sea School’s Octifest, expanding it to salute and support all our water-related work. Set for Saturday evening, March 19, the Cause will be a tented dinner with live entertainment featuring an auction and the announcement of a new film showcasing SCCF’s water work. The Cause will be raising funds for three elements—SEA—of that work:
Science - Water quality research, monitoring, and restoration initiatives undertaken by the SCCF Marine Lab;
Education - Educational opportunities offered by Sanibel Sea School to foster a love of the ocean in children and lifelong learners; and
Advocacy - The highly effective work done by our natural resource policy professionals to ensure science-based regulations and laws are put in place at the local, regional, and federal level to protect our water quality, tourism-based economy, and coastal way of life.
Learn about exciting sponsorship opportunities today and contact SCCF Development Director Cheryl Giattini at (239) 822-6121 or cgiattini@sccf.org.
Sea Turtle Eye Infections Being Investigated

SCCF sent deceased hatchlings to a pathologist for microscopic examination to assess the health of their vital organs. Different anomalies were discovered, but eyelid lesions were found in most of the hatchlings. SCCF is working with specialists to determine if a virus is present in the tissues. “The identification of eye disease was an unexpected but important finding, and we are eager to learn more about its potential impacts on our hatchlings,” said SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan. READ MORE
SCCF Responds to Five Sea Turtle Strandings
SCCF staff recently responded to five sea turtle strandings, three of which were for live turtles. Live strandings are an infrequent occasion on Sanibel but do occur each year. All these strandings were called into SCCF’s Sea Turtle Hotline, which allowed SCCF staff to rapidly respond to the situations and take the animals to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife. If you encounter a stranded sea turtle, call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at (978) 728-3663. READ MORE
Sss-eeking Solutions for the Eastern Indigo Snake

Once upon a time on Sanibel, the Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi) was considered a common snake species. These gentle giants are a unique species that are severely imperiled in their native range of the extreme Southeast United States. The last documented indigo snake on Sanibel was in 1999. It is now considered extirpated (extinct in an area) on Sanibel and Captiva; however, nearby islands contain small populations of these magnificent and highly protected animals. READ MORE
Evenings at the Homestead: A Season of Change

SCCF Coastal Resilience Manager Carrie Schuman and Hydrologic Modeler Paul Julian will give overviews of their work and how their roles fit into the bigger picture of planning and caring for the long-term health of our ecosystems.
Register to attend in person here,
Zoom registration here
Updated SCCF Sanibel Bird Lists Available
SCCF has updated its two Sanibel Bird Lists: A comprehensive guide and an abridged version. As the list grew in length with all the species documented on the islands, including rarities, it became apparent that a separate, shorter list might be more practical for use in the field. SCCF is grateful to everyone who offered their help and submitted more species for the list. This list is a work in progress and will be edited periodically to reflect new submissions and changes in status in abundance or nesting. To download a copy, click here for the comprehensive list and here for the abridged version. If you have questions, or new submissions to the list, please send them to shorebirds@sccf.org and they will be reviewed.
Coming Soon: Connecting You to Nature

Island residents, SCCF members, agency partners, and policymakers will soon be receiving the Winter 2022 issue of SCCF’s Connecting You to Nature magazine. This interesting edition provides insight into SCCF’s commitment to acquiring lands for conservation from its earliest beginnings to today. SCCF would like to thank The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company and Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille for co-sponsoring this issue.
Meet the Natives: Walter's Viburnum
As the coldest weather of the year reminds us that it is actually winter in Florida, Walter's viburnum (Viburnum obovatum) puts on its annual show. When it’s in full bloom, the flowers resemble a blanket of snow on the plant. When observed more closely, each cluster is made up of dozens of small, creamy-white flowers. These flowers are followed by small fruits, eaten by birds and other wildlife. READ MORE
Sanibel Sea School After School Island Scavenger Hunts Add Excitement to Learning
On Jan. 25, students joined marine science educator Joey Garofano for one of Sanibel Sea School’s After School Island Scavenger Hunts. These special island-themed scavenger hunts are filled with interesting clues, fun challenges, teambuilding, and island exploration. They are designed to focus on four barrier island habitats—marsh, bay, Gulf beaches, and mangrove forest. Sanibel Sea School offers after school classes through May. READ MORE
Kayak Training for Sanibel Sea School Staff
Recently, the Sanibel Sea School staff bundled up in wetsuits and many layers for a day on the water. The staff participated in an American Canoe Association (ACA) training course for coastal kayaking in the East End canals on Sanibel. The training was taught by SCCF Community Conservation Coordinator Kealy McNeal, who is a certified ACA Level 2 instructor. “This was a great way for camp and trip leading staff to gain confidence in their paddling skills,” McNeal said. READ MORE
Weekly Nature and Botanical Walks
Lace up your walking shoes for naturalist-guided immersions in nature.
Welcome Walkabout: Island Ecology for New Residents
Are you a new property owner on Sanibel or Captiva? Or would you simply like to learn about what makes our islands special? Join SCCF on a walking tour to learn about unique plants and animals, the island’s steeped conservation history, and current challenges in keeping the islands as a sanctuary. The next one is Wednesday, February 16 at 2pm. Regular Welcome Walkabouts will occur every two weeks so check the schedule here; a $5 donation is suggested.
Weeds ‘n’ Seeds Walks
Join a group of amateur botanists who look for and identify native plants on the island. Each walk visits a different location on Sanibel, lasts for two hours, and is guided by a knowledgeable leader. Detailed information about the upcoming walk is listed below, and pre-registration is required.

Feb. 14: Community Park
Volunteer leaders Sonya and Arlene have a game in mind to keep you on your toes. We’ll be talking about some of the plants that were introduced long ago, some natives, and some sneaky invasive plants. Register here

Feb. 21: Periwinkle Preserve
Join us as we learn about some of our favorite Florida plants. Registration opens on Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 8am. Register here
Lindblad Preserve Trail
Participants get an up-close look at the Sanibel Slough and rare plants each Tuesday & Thursday at 10am. No registration is required; a $5 donation is suggested.
Bailey Homestead Preserve Shipley Trail
Learn about SCCF’s mission-driven work on the historic property, along with stories about its history each Wednesday and Thursday at 10am. No registration is required; a $5 donation is suggested.
Coastal Resilience Connections: Growing Climate Solutions
Growing Climate Solutions is hosting its annual Southwest Florida Climate Compass Speaker Series with three engaging programs focused on fostering sustainable seafood practices, combatting climate change’s effects on the ocean, and amping up electric vehicle production responsibly at the manufacturer scale. Presentations by experts will take place virtually on Feb. 16, March 16, and April 13. Visit the Growing Climate Solutions website to see the speakers and to register.
Burrowing Owl Festival
Join SCCF on Saturday, Feb.26, as we participate in the 20th Annual Burrowing Owl Festival at Rotary Park in Cape Coral, sponsored by the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. This family-fun event celebrates the start of burrowing owl nesting season, and features environmental and wildlife organizations, educational exhibits, live animals, presentations, and kids’ activities. LEARN MORE
Visit SCCF and the Sanibel Sea School at FGCU Day on Saturday Feb. 12. Find us in The Water School Tent on the Great Lawn from 9am-noon, where we will have activities and information available for kids and adults alike. Celebrate FGCU's 25th anniversary at this community-wide event on the FGCU campus. Learn more and register at FGCU Day.
Wildlife Photos to Share

Thank you, Richard Mattern, for submitting this fantastic photo of a Southern black racer that was sunning itself poolside (near you!) under a Joewood bush. “He stuck out his tongue periodically, probably to catch the no-see-ums like the ones that were biting me as I waited for the perfect shot,” he says. Great composition!

Do you have wildlife photos to share?

Please send your photos to
info@sccf.org to be featured in an upcoming issue.
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