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Sanibel Sea School campers salute Calusa Tribe

By Staff | Aug 6, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Ryder Szymanczyk shows off his palm frond weaving skills.

Calusa Week is always a favorite among the Sanibel Sea School campers, and this year was no exception. The Calusa were the earliest known inhabitants of Southwest Florida, and they had a unique approach to life by the sea. Camp participants learned how they survived and thrived on Sanibel 3,500 years ago.

Using natural resources to create tools and weapons was an essential part of the Calusa lifestyle, so we collected shells to make our own, then we practiced weaving plates from palm fronds. We also tried shelter building with materials we found on the beach.

The Calusa were known for crafting long seine nets from palm fibers and shells, so we practiced using modern day seine nets. We also paddled canoes, decorated masks, snorkeled, and played a bead trading game.

As usual, there was also plenty of surfboard paddling, macram tying, and time spent friends.

Summer camps are scheduled for children ages 4-18, and scholarships are available.

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, visit sanibelseaschool.org or call 239-472-8585.