April 19, 2023

First Snowy Plover Chicks of 2023 Hatch

SCCF volunteers and staff recently welcomed the first snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) chicks to hatch on Sanibel this year! 


Our local snowy plover population has faced challenges in recent years, and our shorebird team is out daily to monitor the new chicks and educate beachgoers about protecting them. Please keep your distance from these state-threatened birds, keep pets on leashes, and pick up all trash and food items. 



Sea Turtle Nesting Season Underway

April 15 marked the beginning of sea turtle nesting season on Sanibel and Captiva. Through Oct. 31, our volunteers and staff will survey both islands looking for new nests, monitoring existing ones, and collecting inventory data on hatched nests. 


Photo by Brian Kreuser

SCCF Acquires MacKeever Keys through Land Fund

Building on a 55-year conservation legacy, SCCF is excited to announce the recent acquisition of the MacKeever Keys, which includes 25 acres of mangrove islands that will be preserved in perpetuity. The lands were purchased using SCCF’s Land Acquisition & Improvement Fund.

“With the recent impacts of Hurricane Ian, we know the wide-ranging benefits that mangroves provide to our communities in Southwest Florida,” said CEO James Evans. “This acquisition will ensure that these mangrove islands and the wildlife habitat that they provide will be protected for future generations.” 


Advocating for Everglades Restoration in D.C.

SCCF CEO James Evans, right, and Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to urge federal leaders to fund the restoration of America’s Everglades. 

SCCF joined our partners at the Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, the Everglades Trust, and Orvis to advocate for urgent action to continue annual appropriations. 



Advocating for Our Right to Clean Water in Florida

SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis recently brought the Right to Clean Water Amendment Petition before the Sanibel City Council, explaining that Floridians should have the right to hold state agencies accountable for protecting Florida’s water quality. 



Required BRDs Available for Crab Traps at SCCF Wildlife & Habitat Management Office

SCCF has volunteered to dispense bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) to help bring residents into compliance with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s new rule on mandatory installation on all recreational crab traps.

Effective on March 1, 2023, the BRD requirement keeps diamondback terrapins from entering the traps and accidentally drowning. They do not deter blue crab harvests and are available at no cost.



SCCF Joins Partners to Stand Against Offshore Drilling

SCCF joined Oceana and other conservation organizations around the state and nation to call on Gov. Ron DeSantis to oppose federal plans to sell offshore oil and gas leases off Florida’s coast. 


The full-page call to action — which appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat and Sarasota Herald-Tribune — coincides with the 13th anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which wreaked havoc on Florida. 

How Nutrient Pollution Threatens Water Quality

The two largest offenders of nutrient pollution are nitrogen and phosphorus. To limit algae blooms, we need to minimize the amount of these nutrients in our ecosystem and the amount that enters our waters. 


8th Grade Mangrove Planting Nearing Completion

The Sanibel School’s eighth graders are gearing up for a mangrove planting day with SCCF on Friday, May 12. Students are seen here measuring the growth of the red mangroves they potted at the beginning of the school year, which made it through Hurricane Ian. These will be planted along with other red mangroves cultivated by SCCF for a habitat restoration project.


If you’re interested in assisting future SCCF habitat restoration projects, please contact SCCF Coastal Watch Director Kealy McNeal at kmcneal@sccf.org.

Meet the Natives: Ian Survivors

Is your lawn burnt out? Would you like to replace it with something easier and less expensive to maintain? One great alternative is matchweed (Phyla nodiflora), also known as turkey tangle frogfruit. This low-growing vine stays tight to the ground when placed in a heavy traffic area. In less-used areas, leaves and stems can mound up to a foot tall. 


Matchweed’s white and purple flowers are clustered around a maroon head reminiscent of a matchstick, hence the common name. These small flowers are a pollinator attractant and host to several butterflies. Matchweed can grow in shade or full sun. Once established, it can be quite drought tolerant but will grow better in slightly moist areas.  

Visit our Native Landscapes & Garden Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday!

Earth Day Reception at Congress Jewelers With Limited Edition Mangrove Pendants and T-Shirts

Relax with a glass of champagne as you support a good cause this Earth Day on April 22 from 3-5 p.m. at Congress Jewelers in the Bell Tower Shops at 13499 S Cleveland Ave. #165, in Fort Myers. 

A specially designed mangrove necklace crafted in honor of Coastal Watch's restoration work will be on display at the event.

Orders can be placed at the event for

  • Sterling silver on an 18" chain necklace ($110)
  • 14K yellow gold pendant ($760 / $960 with 18" chain necklace)
  • 14K yellow gold pendant with diamonds ($900 / $1100 with 18" chain necklace)

Orders can also be placed by contacting melissa@scongress.com or 239-472-4177.

Special Earth Day Coastal Watch "Rooting for Resilience" T-shirts will also be for sale for $30.

The reception will include refreshments and hors d'oeuvres. Please RSVP to sccf@sccf.org by Friday, April 21, with the subject line "Congress Jewelers RSVP." 

Join us for Additional Earth Day Events!

Find SCCF around Sanibel and Fort Myers throughout Earth Day weekend.


April 25: Volunteers Needed for Bailey Homestead Planting

The Bailey Homestead's hurricane-damaged lawn is now cleared and ready for new life! Help SCCF plant over 600 plants of native ground cover from 8:30-10 a.m. next Tuesday to help bring life and happiness back to this historical area.


May 9: Resilient Architecture & Landscapes with SCCF and CO-G

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, join SCCF and award-winning architect firm CO-G for a virtual discussion about rebuilding and replanting on Sanibel and Captiva in manners that fit our islands’ aesthetic and conservation philosophy. 


The event will be led by SCCF Adult Education Director Jenny Evans and Principal CO-G Architect Elle Gerdeman, who is working with SCCF to redesign our intern housing, which was destroyed during Hurricane Ian. Gerdeman is a Design Critic in Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 


Update Your Address to Receive SCCF Print Publications

Unfortunately, many member mailing addresses in our database are not functional due to Ian. We are happy to update your addresses and contact info and will send you copies of our current annual report and magazine if you request that by emailing us at membership@sccf.org.

Click on the images above to read our Annual Report FY 21-22 and the April issue of our Connecting You to Nature magazine online or to download them.


Welcome, New Staff!

SCCF recently welcomed Trevor Frank as Physical Plant Coordinator, Mary Lisek as Grants & Financial Coordinator, and Isabella McDonnell as Marine Laboratory Research Assistant.

A South African-born handyman, Trevor has acquired many skills in carpentry, cabinetry, electrical work, and plumbing. His diverse skill set allows him to handle a wide range of repair and maintenance projects.

After briefly studying architecture, Trevor found his true calling in the trades, where he excels at problem-solving and finding creative solutions to help others. He is a lover of the outdoors and enjoys taking in the natural beauty of his surroundings, which inspires him to create sustainable and eco-friendly solutions.

While earning her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from Indiana University, Mary worked for a nonprofit specializing in credit counseling for those going through bankruptcy. After receiving her degree, she returned to another nonprofit and worked in development at Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame.

After vacationing in Florida regularly over the years, Mary’s love for the ocean grew. She loves everything about Florida, and her hobbies include spending time on the beach, trying out new restaurants and bars, and exploring new towns.

Originally from Illinois, Isabella has transformed her childhood love of the ocean into a career in conservation. She received her B.A. in marine biology and environmental studies from New College of Florida, where her research focused on negative environmental influences on marine mammals, including red tide blooms, unsafe boating practices, and ocean acidification.

Isabella hopes to use communication to bridge the gap between research and conservation efforts. She is an avid SCUBA diver, rock climber, and hiker and enjoys practicing art and vegan baking.

SCCF Encourages Your Participation in Town Hall & Survey

The Lee County Recovery Task Force is seeking input from residents, business owners, and nonprofits regarding the recovery-planning process for the Lee County area. The two-hour meeting is part of a series of town halls and will include a facilitated discussion that all are welcome and encouraged to attend. View the schedule of events HERE.  


In addition to the town hall meetings, the Task Force has offered a survey for participants to provide further input. Take the survey HERE.

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