July 6, 2022
Sanibel Sea School Launches
Mobile SEA Lab
SCCF's Sanibel Sea School is excited to announce the launch of our SEA (Science Experiments & Activities) Lab—a mobile lab that teaches the joys of marine science on-the-go! The goal of this new program is to expose students to marine science and technology, independent of their location. This mobile lab is equipped with microscopes, a smart TV, touch tank, and a variety of lab equipment for fun, hands-on experiments for all ages. SEA Lab will help facilitate education in two ways—outdoor education in the field and on-the-go, hands-on education at schools, libraries, and community centers—and there’s no limit to where it can go. This summer, SEA Lab will be visiting eight libraries in Lee and Collier counties. READ MORE
Rare Summer Eastern Indigo Snake Sighting Reported
SCCF biologists measured and marked an Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon couperi) in June on an island in Pine Island Sound as part of the SCCF Pine Island Sound Eastern Indigo Snake Project. Sightings of this threatened species during the warm months are uncommon due to the intense heat which affects their daily movements and preferred habitats. Pictured here are SCCF Wildlife & Habitat Management Program biologists Peyton Niebanck, Chris Lechowicz, and Mike Mills with the snake.  READ MORE
Sea Turtle Nest Hatching Season Begins on Islands
Twenty sea turtle nests have hatched and about 1,853 hatchlings have already emerged and begun their trek to the water and eventually into the Florida Loop Current. Now that we are officially in hatching season, please be very cautious if you are on the beach from dusk to dawn. Hatchlings are vulnerable to threats such as predators, holes, and beach lights. Therefore, it’s especially important for beachgoers to be careful on the beach at night, as we also pose a threat to these little ones. The best way you can help is to keep a safe distance of at least 20 feet from a nest and eliminate white lights (including flashlights, house lights, cellphones, and photography lighting). If you see hatchlings that appear disoriented, please call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at (978)728-3663.
How do Nesting Shorebirds, Sea Turtles & Wading Birds Respond to Fireworks?
To assess the effects of fireworks displays on Sanibel’s beach-nesting shorebirds and wading birds, SCCF monitored two snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) nests and a wading bird roost site on the evenings of July 3 to July 5. The snowy plover nests were monitored outside the posted protection zone with night-vision goggles. Monitors were also in place at South Seas Island Resort to watch over current sea turtle nests and ensure no nesting females were disoriented by fireworks on Captiva. No impacts to nesting or hatchling sea turtles were documented. READ MORE
SCCF Celebrates Independence Day with Community
SCCF was proud to represent its mission to protect and care for Southwest Florida’s coastal ecosystems in the 30th Annual Sanibel & Captiva Islands Independence Day Parade. Throwing candy and koozies with the SCCF logo and the slogan, “Keeping Conservation Cool since 1967,” about a dozen staff members and families enjoyed cheers from the crowd as an SCCF truck and boat joined about 41 other floats in the popular parade. READ MORE
Jordan Marsh Sprouts Water Lilies for Improved Water Quality Conditions
Jordan Water Quality Treatment Park, aka Jordan Marsh, has been operating as a nutrient removal system since January 2019. The City of Sanibel partnered with SCCF to construct this marsh partially on SCCF preserve land to serve as a best management practice for removing nutrients from the Sanibel Slough. Recently, more than 900 water lilies were installed at a high density in two locations within the marsh. Within two hours, the marsh changed, and we hope future water quality monitoring will show better nutrient removal due to the addition of these plants.
Landscaping for Wildlife in Your Own Backyard
Landscaping for wildlife means choosing plants that attract butterflies and birds into my yard. Flowers that the butterflies will use for nectar and host plants for their eggs and caterpillars. Trees with berries that will fill birds’ bellies and thick branches that protect the eggs and hatchlings. Low-growing shrubs, grasses, and vines with fruits that the tortoises and raccoons will eat. It means that at any given time I can look out a window and see wildlife passing by. It also means choosing plants that grow well in the soil where they are planted—that will thrive without the need for fertilizers or additional water. It means growing plants without the use of pesticides that could harm the insects that feed off the flowers and leaves or that could harm the wildlife that eats the berries. READ MORE
No Child Left On Shore Hosts Dunbar's Quality Life Center
The No Child Left on Shore Environmental Education Outreach Project invited 24 teens participating in the Quality Life Center of SWFL summer program out on the water for a day of hands-on learning. No Child Left on Shore—a partnership between SCCF and Captiva Cruises—fills the vital need of providing local youth with an informative and fun way to gain experiential knowledge of the ecology of the region’s marine environment. The enriching initiative enables local youth to form a deeper connection to their coastal surroundings and to spark their curiosity.
Craft Cocktail Party: A Wines in the Wild Auction Event
Tiffani Kaliko and John Silvia recently hosted a Craft Cocktail Party at the Bailey Homestead Preserve Pavilion based on their successful bid of an auction item at SCCF’s 2021 Wines in the Wild fundraiser. The drinks were specially created using native ingredients by SCCF staffers Jenny Evans and Jeff Siwicke. They included an Elderflower Spritzer, Tequila Sunburn Margarita featuring Bailey Homestead limoncello and bird pepper-infused tequila, Sanibel Sea Grape Special with a native sea grape syrup, and a Cedar Shingle based on the native Red Cedar. Pictured here (L to R) are Wines in the Wild co-founder Linda Uhler, Sam Ankerson, Jeff and Stephanie Muddell, Doug and Jenni Billing, Wines in the Wild co-founder Tom Uhler, Emily Ankerson, Laura and Shawn Shaffer, Tiffani Kaliko, and John Silvia.

Save the date for Wines in the Wild on November 11!
Keep Up with Weekly Water Conditions Every Friday
SCCF's Environmental Policy team and our Marine Lab keep a close eye on many aspects of water quality. Every Friday, they send an email with the latest data, photos, and graphics to keep you updated. For instance, last week's tracker showed numerous sites in Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee with toxic blue-green algae blooms. And, it cited some red tide counts offshore in Lee County at background levels. Click here to view last week's tracker. Click here to receive it on a regular basis.

Do you have a Sanibel wildlife photo to share?

Thanks to Ruth Brooks for sending us this photo of a corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) in her backyard.

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