May 4, 2022
SCCF CEO James Evans Honored by SanCap Chamber as Citizen of the Year
On April 20, Chair-elect JR Ramirez of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce awarded SCCF Chief Executive Officer James Evans with the Citizen of the Year award. “This year’s Citizen of the Year is someone who has dedicated his professional life to protecting our islands from unfettered development, to keeping our nature intact — making sure that our islands stayed the course and didn’t become like so many others in our state,” Ramirez said of Evans. READ MORE
First Sea Turtle Nest Marked Last Week; Five More Since
On April 27, SCCF staff discovered the first crawl of the season – a loggerhead false crawl – on Sanibel’s west end. It increased the anticipation that maybe she had come up later during the previous night and laid eggs further down the beach. Thankfully, staff did not have to wait long, as not far away, a loggerhead nest and the first nest of SCCF’s 2022 nesting season was marked and protected. Since then, five more nests and seven more false crawls have been documented. READ MORE
Be Mindful of Snowy Plover Chicks on Sanibel
Currently, SCCF staff and volunteers are monitoring three snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) nests and two broods with chicks on Sanibel. The SCCF team sets up large protective enclosures for these ground-nesting shorebirds. However, they don't always stay inside. They need to go to the water's edge to feed, and sometimes they run out to escape predators. This means beachgoers need to be extra careful, watching their step, filling in holes, and always being on the lookout for these tiny birds. READ MORE
Coastal Resilience Connections: Can Sea Turtles Crawl towards Adaptation?
The creatures we identify today as our “modern” sea turtles evolved from a common ancestor about 110 million years ago. While these animals have stubbornly persisted in a world that has experienced radical climactic shifts over that period, the current rate of climate change paired with patterns of human development may be casting a shadow of doubt over their future. READ MORE
End of Dry Season Signals Time for Wildfire Safety
If you have watched the local news lately, you have likely seen many stories and warnings about wildfires in Lee and the surrounding counties. Certain precautions must be taken at the end of the dry season by everyone to prevent wildfires from breaking out, especially near residential areas. Although some wildfires occur from natural causes, most of the wildfires we hear about are caused by people either intentionally or unintentionally.
Community Conversation on Value of Green Energy
Join SCCF and the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce on May 9 for an engaging panel discussion about embracing renewable energy to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Moderated by SCCF CEO James Evans, the goal of the community forum is to involve business owners, homeowners, and city representatives in an open conversation about the opportunities that a greater reliance on green energy can provide. READ MORE
Sign Up for 'The Watch'
As part of the SCCF family, Coastal Watch’s purpose is to reach community members wanting to assist with local conservation initiatives. This is a great way for the community to get involved with the work that SCCF is doing both on and around our beloved islands.  We have projects for all volunteers, regardless of their physical capabilities. To keep up with Coastal Watch, please sign up for the monthly e-newsletter, "The Watch." You'll receive it via email at the beginning of each month. In it, SCCF Community Conservation Coordinator Kealy McNeal provides a recap of recent community activities, spotlights ongoing projects, and seeks out volunteers for upcoming initiatives. Click here to sign up!
Residents Needed to Help Restore Oysters in East End Canals on Sanibel
Coastal Watch and the SCCF Marine Lab are looking for volunteers that live on Sanibel's east-end canals to participate in an oyster restoration pilot program this summer. Participants will allow SCCF to suspend vertical oyster gardens (see picture) from their dock or sea wall throughout the summer months. If you live on the east-end canals and would like to know more about the program or sign up to volunteer, please email SCCF Community Conservation Coordinator Kealy McNeal at
Beach Buckets Coming Soon!
Coastal Watch has partnered with the City of Sanibel and Bailey's General Store to install Beach Bucket Stations at a few beach access points on Sanibel. The objective of this project is to provide beach-goers with a vessel to collect trash as they enjoy our wonderful beaches.

We have noticed people stuffing trash into their pockets, tackle boxes, shell bags, etc. and we want to make a more convenient way to collect debris.

We hope to have this program up and running by the end of May, so keep your eyes out for the Coastal Watch Beach Bucket Stations. Thanks for doing your part to keep our beaches safe for wildlife!

Meet the Natives:
The Inkwood
The inkwood (Exothea paniculata ) is a large shrub to a small tree. It starts out quite wide and bushy with many upright branches and develops a nice, tall canopy reaching 25 to 35 feet tall. The inkwood is evergreen and has dense foliage making it a nice addition to a home landscape. The small flowers are clustered and have a delightful fragrance, with blooming mostly in the spring. This tree is native to southern Florida. It is drought and salt spray tolerant but cannot handle saltwater inundation. The inkwood is also dioecious, which means like a holly tree, each plant is either a male or a female and only the female produces fruit. The fruit of the inkwood is a great source of food for birds in late spring and summer. The inkwood is in the Sapindaceae family which includes maple, carrotwood, varnish leaf and soapberry. The soapberry tree and varnish Leaf are also dioecious.
Sanibel School Students Document Observations in SCCF's Pick Preserve
The Sanibel School’s fourth and first graders recently went on field trips to SCCF’s Pick Preserve with SCCF Environmental Educator Richard Finkel. Fourth graders extended their science ecosystems unit by documenting the habitats, both large and small (microhabitats), within SCCF’s Pick Preserve while learning how SCCF manages and protects the land, including both its interior freshwater and upland habitats. First graders continued their classroom plant studies with a look at the diversity of plants along the Pick Preserve nature trail and created leaf rubbing collages to learn about leaf shapes and structures. READ MORE
Read Spring Issue of Magazine Online
By now, all SCCF members should have received their Spring 2022 issue of Connecting You to Nature in the mail. Receiving a print copy of the magazine is a member benefit. If you'd like to become a member and support SCCF's efforts to protect and care for Southwest Florida's coastal ecosystems, please click here. We invite non-members to read about some of the research our team of dedicated scientists does in this issue, with the cover story devoted to more than six decades of sea turtle monitoring. Click here to read about SCCF's research on shorebirds, terrestrial turtles, water quality, and ways that the Sanibel Sea School is inspiring the next generation of marine scientists and ocean lovers.

Do you have a Sanibel wildlife photo to share?

Thanks to Bob Miller for sending this shot of a bobcat (Lynx rufus) he took in his neighbor's yard.

Please send your photos to to be featured here in an upcoming issue.
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