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Rotary Happenings: Rotary gets another visit from FSW officials

By Staff | Jun 3, 2015

Seems like Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club and Florida SouthWest State College, formerly Edison College, have formed some type of relationship. Just within the last two months our Rotary club has had the honor of hearing from three fantastic speakers representing FSW- FSW President, Jeff Albritten ; FSW’s Head Baseball Coach, Jamie Corr; and just last Friday, FSW Professor, Dr. Roslyn Jester, PH.D -Ocean Science.

Dr. Jester is the kind of professor that all of us might like to have had in college she truly is engaged with her students and encourages their studies in Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography from all angles.

Of course their studies include classroom time but Dr. Jester’s classes offer opportunities for a great deal of fieldwork working alongside the many marine research and conservation studies in the area.

Dr. Jester is also a visiting research scientist at SCCF here on the Sanibel.

Dr. Jester did not attend our meeting alone, she brought along four newly FSW graduated honor students Kelsey Hoagland, Tori Frisina, Erin O’Neil, and Samantha Tawil; who had recently wrapped up their Study Abroad studies in La Paz, Mexico. La Pas Isla Espiritu Santo, in Baja California, is a spectacular island with dozens of bays, rich marine life and land-based reptiles, birds, and amphibians.

Working with Ecology Project International nonprofit educational organization”Ecology International combines travel to remarkable places, rigorous and exciting field science, conservation efforts, and authentic cultural exchange experience to improve students’ awareness, understanding, knowledge, confidence and academic skill sets.”

Although the students got to design their own course of research on the Island, emphasis was placed on endangered sea turtle, oceanography, research design & statistical analysis and field data collection.

Tori and Sam designed a survey to measure social drivers of awareness of protection and conservation efforts regarding La Pas sea turtle population by a representative number of local fishermen and the general public in La Pas and anthropogenic factors of environmental factors due to human activity.

The Survey results indicated that the fishermen were aware of conservation efforts but the practice of these efforts never quite answered.

The general population was aware of protection laws regarding the sea turtles but was leery of actual efforts to protect the turtles. The students concluded more education was needed regarding sea turtle protection through education and enforcement activities.

Studies were also done on 39 Sea Stars, measuring the sea star size – longest arm measures-and growth and counting of current parasites.

This record will be kept and used again in other research.

Erin and Samantha research study was to involve the invertebrate population on Espiritu Santo but was somewhat hindered by the recent hurricane that hit the area.

Students camp for several nights on a beach located on Isla Espiritu Santo in the Gulf of California, and while snorkeling collect data for local scientists as part of a marine invertebrate research project.

They did do their count and that was then compared with before hurricane counts.

Probably the most exciting part of this trip was whale observation and study; monitoring the whales, noting the marking and spots, measuring growth, swimming along with the whales and measuring their tales and documenting information for further studies.

This is hands-on science and you could tell that this experience awakens the thrust for further knowledge and provides a platform for life-long learning.

Isn’t that what education is all about?

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7:00a.m. for breakfast, meeting begins at 7:30a.m. at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, Sanibel. Guests are always welcomed.