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Bailey-Matthews serves as shell expert for new Florida TV travel show

By Staff | May 13, 2009

Lights, camera action… take one.

Lights, camera, action… take two.

The first take didn’t always produce the desired impact, but ultimately Chad Crawford – host of a new TV program, “How To Do Florida” – was quite pleased with the results.

“Beyond visiting theme parks or going to the beach, most newcomers or even native Floridians don’t know truly ‘how to do Florida.’ This show teaches you how to uncover those experiences in an instructional format, and hopefully entertains along the way,” said Crawford.

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum was the natural “expert partner” for explaining why Sanibel is the shelling capital of North America and teaching the audience how to find, clean, and transport shells as well as use them for a family-friendly craft.

The day started at 7 a.m. with a trip to the beach. Dotty Devasure, a Museum volunteer granted beach access from her home. Crawford, the production crew and Kathleen Hoover, the Museum’s Public Relations Manager, spent the next four hours exploring the beach in an effort to capture the “how to” of shelling for viewers.

But the museum’s work didn’t end at the beach.

Next, the production crew traveled to the museum where Dr. Jos H. Leal, the Shell Museum Director/Curator, provided a guided tour of the museum’s exhibits. Dr. Leal and Chad injected a little humor into the show. Crawford collected shells while he was in the service, serving in the Caribbean. Certain that his box of treasures would deliver a six figure return, Chad brought his collection for Dr. Leal to review. Imagine his disappointment when Dr. Leal shared that his treasured collection was worth about $5.50!

Hoover demonstrated how to clean shells, safely transport them home, and store them in a formal collection. Crawford was surprised how easily barnacles could be removed with a sharp tool and how effectively bleach removed the dark material coating some of the shells. Chad’s favorite tip was packing delicate shells between slices of bread and then repacking them as a loaf of bread. He couldn’t resist steeling a few slices that were cushioning shell treasures and pretending to eat a “shellwich.”

The Shell Museum’s part ended with a demonstration of how to use shells for a fun family activity. Diane Thomas, the Museum’s Public Program Specialist, showed viewers how to make wind chimes out of recycled CDs, sand and shells.

The day still wasn’t over for the production crew and host. Hoover introduced them to Mark Blust at Timbers Restaurant. He and his team whipped up Periwinkle Soup and other Sanibel Island favorites. The next morning, Betsy Clayton, Waterways Coordinator Lee County Parks & Recreation, treated the audience to a kayak adventure in Tarpon Bay.

“How To Do Florida” airs every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on WRBW-65 in Central Florida and statewide on the Sun Sports Network at various times during prime-time. Check with your cable or satellite provider and your local listings on Sun Sports for the channel and air times in your area. The Sanibel segment will air in July.

“This was a perfect match for us,” remarked Hoover. “We are working hard to develop relationships with potential visitors that reside in Florida and plan to take a vacation close to home this year.”

“This was a great opportunity to reaffirm the mission of the Museum and position in relation to our local environment,” added Dr. Leal.