homepage logo

Dr. Neill, Vanderhey deliver informative speeches at Rotary breakfast

By Staff | Dec 27, 2010

Dr. Neill

Welcoming in the new year brings with it the promise to ourselves to be a better person, give up bad habits and an overall goal to be better in the future then we are today…until we screw up again.

Just before the holidays, we had two exceptional speakers at Rotary that focused in on helping us to set some new goals for ourselves and maybe goals that will possibly help others. The speaker topics had nothing in common, except how changing daily habits can be beneficial to us today and in the future.

Dr. Bruce Neill, Ph.D., ocean advocate and executive director and co-founder of the Sanibel Sea School, dropped by on a very chilly early Friday morning meeting dressed in his trademark tan shorts, an outdoor man always dresses appropriately for the weather.

The weather didn’t seem to be on Dr. Neill’s mind that morning, but plastics were. Plastics found in the ocean and on the shoreline. A product that never breaks down, plastic is choking our environment!

The determination in Bruce’s voice told of his concern for the future of our planet and the need to stop the overusing of plastic in every product packaging known to humankind. Plastic is non-biodegradable. It fills our landfills and forms floating islands in all our oceans. Plastic fills the digestive systems of our land and sea creatures. Plastics leech a chemical that acts like the hormone estrogen and feminizes mammals. The government has just outlawed the use of certain plastics in baby bottles and the lining of baby formula cans. That says something, doesn’t it?


Come on folks, we need to change our way of thinking about plastic. Dr. Neill is initiating that change with the young people who attend the Sanibel Sea School. Educating them so they will be aware and maybe in the future, even figure out a solution to this pollution. Simple things help:

• Use those reusable grocery bags; don’t take a bag at the grocery store unless you absolutely need one.

• Use ceramic cups at work and home.

• Watch what you do with that fishing line.

So in the new year, just think a little and don’t be so damn dependent on plastic. This just might be a good resolution.

Dr. Neill also reminded us what the Sanibel Sea School is all about. Its mission is to promote marine conservation through experiential learning, research and communication. This fun learning process is an experience that will live forever with the children that attend this amazing nature provided learning lab.

“The recent cold snap provides an amazing opportunity to teach about marine life cycles,” he said.

Why is the beach littered with shells? What effect do rough seas and cold water have on marine life? Why are the waves bigger during a storm? The school teaches and provokes curiosity about natural elements and their effect on marine and other life forms. The enthusiasm and joy of learning is a remarkable gift to give a young person.

Although Bruce is a Sanibel Kiwanian, we urge him to keep in mind that one of Rotary International’s main goals is clean water around the globe. Maybe he might consider becoming a Rotarian in the future and work with us toward our common goal of clean water environments.

Our second speaker teaches to a different age group. Seniors, that is.

Fellow Rotarian Ed Vanderhey wants to keep our streets safe. Ed teaches the AARP Drivers Safety Program at the Sanibel for Life Center. This is an eight hour, two session refresher course focusing on driving safely. Attention is given to safe driving strategies and defensive driving techniques.

As a person ages, our vision, hearing, reaction time and physical abilities change the way we drive. Seniors must be mindful of those changes and adapt, not by ignoring the problem but by finding ways and techniques that refocus attention on safe driving. Taking this course not only can save your life but can save the lives of others. As an additional bonus, it may also save you money on your automobile insurance.

Topics covered are safe driving distance cushions between moving vehicles, safety strategies of scanning and screening the road, blind spot and rear-view mirror adjusting methods, field of vision awareness, intersection safety and so much more.

This coming New Year 2011, do yourself a favor look into this course. It just might save your life. Call Ed Vanderhey at 472-3623 for information of dates and times of the AARP Driver Safety Program.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club is once again meeting at the Beachview Steakhouse Restaurant on Par View Drive starting at 7 a.m. on Friday mornings. If you are thinking about becoming a Rotarian, join us for breakfast or contact Shirley Jewell at 337-1099.