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2010 Sanibel-Captiva calendar features a dozen stunning images of wildlife

By Staff | Jun 4, 2009

Professional and amateur photographers from around the globe have known for many years that some of the best opportunities to capture a wide variety of wildlife can be found right here in Southwest Florida.

In fact, some of the greatest examples of breath-taking animal, bird and marine photography can be seen each year in the Sanibel-Captiva Nature Calendar, which have become somewhat of a collectors’ item since it contains such eye-popping images and interesting facts about local wildlife, month after month.

Released last month to local retailers, the 2010 edition of the Sanibel-Captiva Nature Calendar features a spectacular front cover photograph of a roseate spoonbill photographed within the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

On the back cover, an orange-tinted sunset over the horizon at Blind Pass in Captiva captures a flock of shorebirds perfectly frozen in time, wings aflutter.

Inside the calendar are 12 more stunning photographs of nature on two of the world’s most famous barrier islands.

“This edition of the calendar has the hottest cover shots in 22 years,” said calendar publisher Jim Fowler. “Photographed by Sanibel’s newest nature photographers, Dick Fortune and Sara Lopez, the cover shots capture two spectacular images of Sanibel (and) Captiva. The front cover photographer of an idyllic roseate spoonbill preening is a once in a lifetime image. The rear cover image captures the full colors of a Captiva sunset.”

The inside images are presented by photographers Cliff Beittel, Charlie Heidecker, Bob Lindholm, Len Messineo, Clair Postmus, Jeffrey Smith, Lorraine Sommer and Lopez. Each photograph is accompanied by complete subject information including full descriptions, nesting, breeding and feeding habits, range, habitat, status and health.

In addition, it includes enticing photo narratives penned by islander Betty Anholt, former islander Charles LeBuff and birding expert Bev Postmus. Each month also features a shell sketch by the late islander Sue Stephens and a turtle graphic during the sea turtle nesting months (May through October).

“It is the best calendar in the world, and probably the best calendar that ever was,” added Fowler. “It is the only calendar that truly represents what Sanibel and Captiva are all about – nature.”

First published in 1988, this is the 22nd edition of this popular calendar. Sold only in Southwest Florida, it continues to set the standard for other calendar publishers.

“(The calendar was) created from an idea that took seed during my island experiences since I first came to Sanibel in the early ’70s, I have tried every year to put together a calendar that truly shows the natural beauty of the islands,” said Fowler. “It continues to be my goal each year to publish a calendar that not only is beautiful and useful, but also promotes wildlife conservation through interest, information and education.”

Because the calendar is an environmentally-conscious publication, a portion of the proceeds is donated annually to an environmental group in Southwest Florida. Since 1989, almost $15,000 has been donated to state conservation organizations. Previous donation recipients have included C.R.O.W. ($1,000 in 2004, $600 in 2001 and $400 in 1990), “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society ($1,000 in 1999, $1,000 in 1995 and $538 in 1991), Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation ($1,000 in 2006, $500 in 2000 and $1,000 in 1994), Calusa Nature Center ($650 in 2002 and $500 in 1996) and Sanibel-Captiva Audubon ($700 in 2003 and $484 in 1992). Last October, $700 was donated to the Save The Manatee Club.

Recognizing that paper manufacturing and printing are two of the most pollution-creating industries, this publication was:

First to print a four-color photographic calendar on recycled paper in North America. The 1991 edition was printed in May 1990.

First to reduce consumption and waste by using thinner paper than any other four-color photographic wall calendar.

First to refuse to individually shrink-wrap, use wasteful stiffeners and/or pre-box each calendar. Total reduction in paper materials used to manufacture this calendar when compared to other similar-sized wall calendars is a full 66 percent.

“Hard to believe?” asks Fowler. “Put a Sierra Club or Audubon wall calendar on the scales with their wasteful shipping box. Theirs weighs in at approximately 18 ounces, as opposed to about six ounces for the Sanibel-Captiva Nature Calendar.”

Fowler also pointed out that the inside photographs are not coated with an extra varnish – just the bar ink. Actually, they use a soy-based ink. The cover photos are coated with a water-based film.

Again this year, the calendar will be available – upon request – with a shipping envelope made from trash. Yes… actual garbage.

“We saved the make-ready sheets from the press set-up and created custom-fit mailing envelopes,” adds Fowler. “This paper is usually sent through the printing press once then on to the landfill. Now this paper will be used a second time as envelopes, thereby further reducing waste.”

The calendar retails for $13.95 and is sold throughout Southwest Florida in book stores, gift shops and other retailers. Mail orders send $13.95 (plus $2 shipping and handling) to: Sanibel-Captiva Nature Calendar, P.O. Box 356, Sanibel Island, FL 33957. For the custom-printed Blind Pass Tide edition (available in the fall), send $16.95 (plus $2 shipping and handling) to the above address.

For additional information, visit www.sancapcalendar.com or call 859-846-4528.