Students explore estuary, barrier island environment
Students from Florida SouthWestern State College had the opportunity on Feb. 1 to get an up close look at the local back-bay estuary and beach ecology, courtesy of the No Child Left On Shore initiative spearheaded by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Captiva Cruises.
“Despite the cool and drizzly conditions, the students were eager to explore the shoreline of Cayo Costa State Park and were very excited to be able to observe dolphins, birds as well as fish, sea stars and other marine life pulled up with the trawling net,” Captiva Cruises educator Richard Finkel said.
No Child Left On Shore was started in 2010 by Finkel and Paul McCarthy, former owner of Captiva Cruises, as a collaborative with the SCCF. It is an environmental, educational outreach program.
The initiative strives to provide experiential education opportunities for the children of Southwest Florida who might not have firsthand exposure to the coastal environment by any other means.
An average of about 10 trips are conducted annually through No Child Left On Shore.
The trip typically consists of some cruising around the Pine Island Sound, time to explore beach ecology along Cayo Costa and time to discover the importance of the back-bay estuary through hands-on learning activities, such as the trawling net experience.
No Child Left On Shore is funded by donations raised by the SCCF, with Captiva Cruises providing reduced rates. Each participating group typically arranges its own transportation and chaperones.
Individual donors can earmark funds to the SCCF for the initiative.
Those interested in supporting the initiative or who have questions about it can contact the SCCF at SCCF@SCCF.org or 239-472-2329 or Captiva Cruises at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-472-5300.