SCCF’s Nature Center closed for minor renovations
The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation recently announced that its Nature Center, located on Sanibel-Captiva Road, will be closed for the next two months as it undergoes minor renovations.
On July 19, officials reported that the center will be closed until Sept. 16.
“It’s in need of some updating,” Chief Executive Officer Ryan Orgera said of the facility.
However, the administrative offices and trails on site will remain open to the public.
He explained that the “staff-driven facelift” will focus on updating the information outlined on most of the educational displays and exhibits, as well as replacing the videos and TV screens with new ones.
“We want to represent our work accurately and timely,” Orgera said. “We wanted to make sure we’re presenting the latest science.”
Only two displays – one on SCCF’s RECON water monitoring and one on sea turtles – have been updated in decades. RECON within the last five years, while the turtle exhibit got a partial redo.
“There are the two newer displays, but most of them are from the 1980s,” he said.
“We’re updating the displays to reflect the to-date projects that we work on,” Orgera added.
The push behind the changes also goes beyond just updating information shared with the public.
“We also wanted to make sure we’re telling the best nature story that we can,” he said.
There will be a new focus on acquainting center visitors with the SCCF and what it does, on providing information about the islands and encouraging people to get out on the trails managed by the SCCF.
“We’re turning it into a multi-use space,” Orgera said.
An update of the trail system education may be part of the changes.
“Our nature is really going to be a gateway to our trails, in general,” he said, explaining that incorporating “more outdoors experiential education” will also be part of the updates.
“It’s going to look very different, but it’s not going to be like the (Bailey-Matthews National) shell museum renovation,” Orgera said of the center’s final reveal in the fall. “Just a new look.”
During the closure, the public is welcome to continue using the trails.
“You can access it from the parking lot, rather than through the building,” he said.
There will be printed maps of the system available out front of the facility.
“You can still get to the observation tower,” Orgera said.
For those unfamiliar, the on-site system boasts four miles of trails through various ecosystems, including marsh and uplands. From the observation tower, users can see the Sanibel Slough.
“There are lots of native turtle species, box turtles and gopher tortoises. Lots of species of nonvenomous snakes,” he said, noting that Sanibel does not have venomous snakes.
“Otters and the occasional bobcat. A bobcat would be a real treat if you see one,” Orgera said.
And, of course, alligators.
The trails are free and open to the public.
“Donations are accepted to help us maintain the trail system,” he said.
The public is also invited to visit the trails at the Bailey Homestead Preserve.
“That’s another option,” Orgera said.
For more information, visit online at www.sccf.org.
The SCCF Nature Center is at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel.
The Bailey Homestead Preserve is at 1300 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.