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Help SCCF further their research, conservation efforts through adoption programs

By Staff | Jun 28, 2017

Adopt A Shorebird gives individuals the option of choosing a snowy plover (pictured), Wilson’s plover and least terns for $30. ALEXIS HORN

The community can help protect sea turtles, shorebirds and indigo snakes through the simple click of a button on the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s website for its adoption programs.

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Public Outreach Coordinator Alexis Horn said the Adopt An Indigo Snake is the newest program, which became available this year. In redoing the organization’s website, she said they wanted to set up a new donation program while educating the community about particular species.

“In having it online, anyone can access it. They don’t have to print out a PDF and mail it in. It is all instantaneous,” Horn said. “We are really excited that there is an ease of use. You can do it from your phone, or your tablet.”

All of the donations help the organization purchase supplies to further their research.

“What we are really trying to accomplish with these programs is education and program support,” Horn said.

Individuals can Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest for $75, which will help in the conservation and research efforts of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Sea Turtle Program. ALEXIS HORN

The monitoring of sea turtles began with Charles LeBuff and Caretta Research, Inc in the late 1950s. In 1992, SCCF took over the program when Caretta Research Inc. disbanded.

Every year, from April through October more than 100 volunteers survey 18 miles of beach from the Sanibel Lighthouse to Blind Pass every morning.

The Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest program began 10 years ago and has become the staple program.

“People get them as gifts for their grandkids, their friends and themselves,” she said. “It’s a great program.”

With a $75 donation, individuals will receive a T-shirt, as well as thank you note immediately. A certificate will also be given in December, which shares such information as how many hatchlings their adopted nest had, and where the nest was located.

The newest Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation program, Adopt An Indigo Snake, will help the organization research and sustain the population with a $75 donation. ALEXIS HORN

“The money we get from the Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest goes towards supplies, like the staking, signs for education, tags . . . the nitty gritty stuff that keeps our program running from day-to-day,” Horn said. “We are always in need of supplies for sea turtle nests.”

Last year, SCCF began putting up educational signs on the posts surrounding each nest. The signs are a great addition to the volunteers, who are already sharing a plethora of information every day while out patrolling the beaches.

“It’s an invaluable education tool with having those volunteers out on the beach every single day. They are so knowledgeable on everything with sea turtles and I think that passion that they have for it inspires passion in beachgoers and tourists,” Horn said.

The second longest program, Adopt A Shorebird, began five years ago. Horn said individuals can choose which shorebird they would like to adopt – the snowy plover, Wilson’s plover, or least terns.

With the adoption of $30 individuals will receive a certificate.

“It goes towards fencing to protect the nest, GPS units, our banding equipment . . . this allows tracking of nesting success, as well as follows the fledglings. We just started the snowy plover banding project this year,” Horn said. “It’s great timing in trying to get those supplies rolling for future years and making sure we have enough for this year.”

The newest program, Adopt an Indigo, is $75, which includes a certificate and T-shirt.

The adoption program allows SCCF to pay for microchips, scanners, equipment, education pamphlets, as well as fuel when they have to travel to North Captiva.

“The indigo population on barrier islands is very few and far in-between in Florida. I think we have one of the largest monitoring programs as a barrier island,” Horn said.

In 2012, the SCCF Pine Island Eastern Indigo Snake Project was established for research, as well as helping to sustain the last known viable populations on barrier islands of Florida. The population has declined because of habitat fragmentation, and roads.

Horn said the indigo snake is not something to be feared because they are extremely docile.

“They play a really vital role in the health of the ecosystem,” she said. “They eat the venomous snakes, like rattlesnakes.”

For more information about the adoption programs, visit sccf.org/our-work/species-adoption-programs.