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Sea School to offer mini boat based semester for adults

By Staff | Sep 6, 2017

Sanibel Sea School Co-Founder and Executive Director Dr. Bruce Neill will lead the majority of the adult classes this fall. MEGHAN MCCOY

The Sanibel Sea School is offering an opportunity for adults to learn about the marine ecosystem on the water this fall.

Sanibel Sea School Director of Education Nicole Finnicum said since they had such a huge success with their first fall offering of adult classes last year, they will offer more this year.

“We started off by offering one course per week, a three-hour boat based session with Doc Bruce. We sold out of almost all of them. Then we opened up a second session of each class on the following day, so we could accommodate that demand. We filled up quite a few those, too. With the success that we had last year we want to bring it back this year and do a similar format,” Finnicum said.

The mini boat based semester will study the local marine ecosystem.

“These classes are really popular because we get to explore areas that aren’t quite accessible by foot,” Finnicum said. “They will be primarily boat based. We won’t be getting off of the boat much, so it is perfect for people that might not be as mobile. They can just come on our boat, kick back and relax and listen to the education we provide and share with them.”

This year instead of climbing onboard a Carolina Skiff boat, they will be using a pontoon boat that was donated to the Sanibel Sea School by a generous donor.

“It will provide a much more comfortable ride,” she said. “People can also bring snacks and drinks if they would like.”

The classes will start at the beginning of October and run through the middle of November. Two trips per week, per topic will be offered.

“For example if we are studying fall migration we will have the option for a Tuesday class and a Wednesday class,” Finnicum said. “So, we can accommodate that demand. These do sell out fast, so we recommend people sign up early.”

Although the topics for the classes are still being determined, there are a few that have already been established.

One will include “Fall Migration in the Gulf of Mexico.” Finnicum said although they will be focusing on birds, they will focus on other marine animal migrations as well.

“With the change of season, we do see a lot of migration at that time,” she said.

Another topic includes a three-part series on San Carlos Bay. The first class will focus on the mouth of the estuary, or where the Caloosahatchee River dumps into San Carlos Bay.

The second session will go north of the mouth of the Caloosahatchee, which will include exploration close to Matlacha and Pine Island.

The last session will include traveling south of the mouth of the Caloosahatchee, exploring from Punta Rassa to Matanzas Pass.

“With our canoe expedition that we did this summer, we as of lately are really focusing on the Caloosahatchee River and how it ties into our marine ecosystem,” Finnicum said. “At Sanibel Sea School we tend to focus a lot on the ocean, but the river is so important in our greater estuary. We need to look at how it ties into the marine ecosystem and those communities. So the seagrass communities near the mouth of the river and the mangrove ecosystem there as well. We can explore how those work together in the greater estuary.”

She said it’s a new topic that they are still exploring, so they are excited to take people out and see the river.

“During one of these trips we want to go all the way down the river, probably to Alva to take a trip to inland Florida and see how inland is connected to the ocean,” Finnicum said.

Those interested can visit www.sanibelseaschool.org to register. The full schedule and pricing will be posted by the middle of September.