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Diving ospreys, walking batfish at the Sanibel Sea School

By Staff | Jul 6, 2018

SANIBEL SEA SCHOOL Campers practiced throwing cast nets on the Sanibel Causeway.

Campers at the Sanibel Sea School enjoyed exploring two fascinating coastal creatures during Fishin’ With Osprey Week at the organization’s flagship campus on Sanibel, and Going Batty for Batfish Week at Canterbury School in Fort Myers.

Ospreys are fishing birds, with fish making up about 99 percent of their diet, so each camp group spent lots of time fishing with seine nets and cast nets. Participants had a chance to observe an active osprey nest through binoculars, then they built a life-sized replica using natural materials gathered on the beach. There was also a birdwatching field trip to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a canoe trip to observe ospreys in their habitat and an exciting obstacle course.

Batfish Week campers learned about the strange fish with modified pectoral fins that help them walk along the bottom of the sea. Often found in seagrass beds, sandy areas, mud and rubble, they feed on crustaceans, mollusks and worms. Batfish have a special lure to attract their prey, so participants crafted their own lures and attempted to attract fish into their nets. They also ran a batfish-themed relay race, snorkeled in batfish habitat and made batfish art.

As usual, both weeks included plenty of time for surfing, macram tying, and hanging out with camp friends.

The Sanibel Sea School is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. For more information about the organization, visit sanibelseaschool.org.

The Sanibel Sea School is at 455 Periwinkle Way.