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SCCF preserve serves as learning tool for youth

By Staff | Jun 4, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED First-graders from The Sanibel School collect items during a scavenger hunt at the Pick Preserve as part of an educational field trip held in partnership with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

Throughout the school year, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation works with The Sanibel School to provide environmental educational field trips to students at the nearby Pick Preserve.

On May 20, the school’s first-grade classes – about two dozen youth – participated in a walking tour and scavenger hunt of the trails with Richard Finkel, an educator with SCCF. He explained that the preserve is part of SCCF’s list of land holdings and is located across the street from the island school.

“So it makes it an ideal location for SCCF to incorporate that nature trail into the school curriculum,” Finkel said. “This is something we do throughout the year with all of the grades at the school.”

Each trip is tailored to the grade level and what the students are studying in their class.

“So it’s age appropriate and focuses on different topics,” he said.

For the first-graders, they spent about an hour exploring the nature trails.

“We talked about things to look for when you’re outdoors,” Finkel said, adding that the discussion covered different types of plants and the shape of their leaves as part of a classroom project.

He also taught them how to identify different species of animal tracks on the trails.

“This particular field trip included a scavenger hunt,” Finkel said.

He explained that the youth collected items along the way, such as plant leaves.

“They used this information in an art project later in the classroom,” he said.

The students saw a couple of snakes and a variety of insects.

“Kids always see a lot of things, they have a keen sense of observation,” Finkel said.

“The excitement of the kids for being outside was very evident,” he added.

SCCF is the largest private owner of conservation lands on the island. Bordering city and state owned properties, Pick Preserve is a large tract with a nature trail that runs through it, according to Finkel.

“It gives the kids another opportunity to learn about the natural systems of Sanibel and gain a better understanding of environmental systems as a whole,” he said. “First-hand research is a great way for kids to gain a deeper connection into the environment.”