Educational kiosk at Lighthouse Beach receives a facelift
In 2009, the Everglades Foundation funded a Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) project to educate the public about the connection between the islands and the greater Everglades. The project coincided with the City of Sanibel’s desire to update the educational kiosk near Lighthouse Beach.
City Manager Judie Zimomra contacted Dr. José H. Leal, The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s Director, about the possibility of redesigning the shell identification informational signs displaying the island’s most common shells. The content on the other side of the existing sign described the dynamics of the beach and the impact of the interaction of waves and wind. Another nearby sign depicted the lifecycle of sea turtles. All of the informational displays had fallen into disrepair.
SCCF developed updated information about loggerhead sea turtles and beach ecology. A beautiful turquoise and aqua satellite photographic mosaic of the island helps to tell the story. A larger display explains the link between the waters around the islands, the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Okeechobee, the Kissimmee River watershed and the land to the south.
“We were very pleased to be a part of this educational project that will be enjoyed by visitors to the Lighthouse Beach,” said SCCF Executive Director Erick Lindblad. “We are grateful for the synergistic efforts of SCCF, the Everglades Foundation, The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and the City of Sanibel, making it possible to educate tens of thousands of residents and tourists for years to come.”
The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum provided the content for the “Seashells of Sanibel and Captiva Islands” component of the kiosk. The center piece includes photos of about 150 species of shells, in a design prepared with pictures taken by Dr. Leal, and originally included in the museum’s online guide on the Seashells of Southwest Florida (www.shellmuseum.org/shells.cfm).
In addition, two side panels explain “Mollusks and the Environment” and “Molluscan Reproduction and Egg Cases.” These are illustrated by museum staff and volunteers and contain information about the ecology, life habits and reproduction of mollusks. The section on egg cases is particularly relevant, given that visitors often find those elusive structures on local beaches.
“The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum would like to thank the city for inviting the Museum to participate in the refurbishment of the Lighthouse Park,” said Dr. Leal. “We are grateful for the opportunity for the Museum to continue to fulfill its educational mission.”