March 10, 2022
Restoration Unfolds at the Puschel and Gretchen C. Valade Preserves
SCCF has two restoration projects occurring simultaneously. Exotic plant clearing at the Puschel Preserve is in full gear and contractors are more than half-way through the property. Meanwhile, Australian pines (Casuarina equisetifolia) along Sanibel-Captiva Road that were over-hanging the shared-use path have been removed as part of the Gretchen C. Valade Preserve restoration project. READ MORE
Don’t Miss SCCF’s Annual Everglades Update Today!
Join SCCF today, Thursday, March 10, at 6pm for the annual Everglades Update in the outdoor pavilion at Bailey Homestead Preserve. This free, annual event is offered in partnership with The Everglades Foundation. The discussion will focus on key Everglades restoration projects, development of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), and Senate Bill 2508—the most recent attempt by the sugar industry to undermine the LOSOM process. There will be an opportunity for Q&A with the panelists. The program will feature Steve Davis, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer for The Everglades Foundation, and Paul Julian, Ph.D., Hydrological Modeler for SCCF and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. It will be moderated by SCCF CEO James Evans. Register today to attend in person or virtually through Zoom
Sea Turtle Mating Activity is Heating Up
Loggerheads (Caretta caretta) will soon be congregating offshore of our islands and mating will be in full swing. An interesting characteristic of sea turtle reproduction is that females may mate more than once in a single season and they have the ability to store sperm. This means that a single nest may produce hatchlings with more than one father. The role this reproductive strategy plays in hatch success is not fully understood. READ MORE
What's Happening at Sanibel Sea School?
Homeschool at Sea: Ghost Crabs
Sanibel Sea School provides customized, field-based education for homeschool families and co-ops. Marine Science Educator Kimberly Bouwkamp recently led six young explorers on a Homeschool at Sea course focused on ghost crabs (Ocypode quadrata). Bouwkamp started the class by passing around crab exoskeletons to discuss these marine creatures’ adaptations and what makes ghost crabs unique. Students created their own small crabs and conducted crab population surveys. READ MORE
Hiring: Seasonal Summer Camp Counselor
Sanibel Sea School’s goal is simple: To help children fall in love with the ocean and become lifelong advocates for the environment through exploration and discovery. We seek seasonal educators who are passionate about helping students learn, grow, and succeed. Summer Camp Counselors are responsible for assisting with marine biology-based camp programs by supervising children ages 4 to 18 in a variety of challenging outdoor and marine environments, in addition to other duties. Learn more about this position and how to apply here.
Tribute to Karen Nelson
The SCCF family is deeply saddened to share that Karen Nelson passed on Feb. 12, 2022. In 2006, Karen took over SCCF’s monthly newsletter on a freelance basis. A year later, she joined SCCF in a newly created position as Communications Coordinator, a role she passionately carried out for nearly 14 years. A New York native, she had a long career in New York City before relocating to Sanibel in 2000. Karen edited and wrote for weekly Sanibel and Captiva publications and caught the attention of SCCF through her extensive coverage of water quality. She also served as a longtime sea turtle volunteer and devoted much of her time to learning about the native Calusa. Read her obituary here.
Learn How to Identify Shorebirds
Spring is an exciting time to get out on the beaches of Southwest Florida to look for shorebirds and seabirds, but identification can be tricky as many of these birds are still in their non-breeding plumage. Learn how to identify Southwest Florida shorebirds through a virtual classroom session and a guided beach walk. READ MORE to learn about the course and register for your spot.
Online Plant Database Class
Are you interested in learning how to use an online tool to identify plants? Come to an informal Q&A session about Weeds 'n' Seeds’ newest online database known as Airtable. Join us on Tuesday, March 22, at 2pm at the Bailey Homestead pavilion to learn how to navigate the database, what kinds of information you can find, and how it will help you to learn more about Florida plants. Bring your own device(s). Register here.
2022 Legislative Session Update
This is the last week of the 2022 session. Lawmakers have been focused on the budget, and SCCF is closely tracking two bills:
Water Quality: SB 2508 Environmental ResourcesThe Agriculture, Environment and General Government Conference Subcommittee has been meeting to address several controversial issues in the bill that have also been the target of opposition from water quality advocates. SCCF strongly opposes the harmful language included in SB 2508.
Energy - HB 741 - Renewable Energy (Solar Net Metering) seeks to end the economic incentives homeowners currently receive for incurring the expense of installing solar panels on their rooftops. If passed, this bill will result in many potential negative economic and environmental impacts. After considerable debate and failed amendments, Senate Bill 1024, was substituted for House Bill 741. SCCF is strongly opposed to this anti-solar legislation. Stay abreast of the outcome of environmental funding and bills with our continually updated Legislative Tracker.
Meet the Natives: Whisk Fern
Whisk ferns (Psilotum nudum) are one of the oldest plants on the planet, and perhaps one of the strangest. Native to Central and South Florida, this fern “is not a true plant, not quite a fern, not quite a vascular plant,” according to the Wild South Florida website. This fern does not have true roots. The plants are anchored by an underground system of rhizomes that have a relationship with naturally occurring fungus in the soil. This relationship allows the whisk fern to absorb moisture and nutrients. Whisk ferns are closely related to ferns but don’t have true leaves. Fern fronds have both photosynthetic and reproductive functions. They reproduce by spores, which develop on the stems in capsules that become bright yellow when mature. This interesting plant, which doesn’t have flowers, shows up in many gardens in the region.
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 Tuesday, March 16, at 10am. 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.

March 14: J.N. “Ding” Darling Botanical Site
Sandy and Carl Greenbaum will lead this walk with special permission from the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge to explore this interesting part of the refuge, 9am-11am. Sandy and Carl have put together an activity to challenge our plant ID skills. Register today here.
March 21: CREW Cypress Dome Trails
Expect to see a variety of plants not found on Sanibel during this special walk on CREW trails in Immokalee. The trails meander through a range of habitats, including pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, wet prairie, pop ash slough, and cypress domes. March is an amazing time to see the wildflowers in bloom. Registration begins on Tuesday, March 15, at 8am 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
Join us for a guided walking tour through the natural history of Sanibel and SCCF’s mission of conserving land and preserving water quality. We discuss pioneer life on Sanibel from the perspective of the Bailey family and interesting aspects of nature that we see along the Shipley Trail, ending with a tour of the oldest rooms of the 1895 Bailey homestead. These walks take place each Wednesday and Thursday at 10am. No registration is required; a $5 donation is suggested.
Do you have a Sanibel wildlife photo to share? Please send it to to be featured here in an upcoming issue.
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