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Virtual Sanibel Shell Show called a huge success

By SHELL CLUB - | Mar 18, 2021


The Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club’s 2021 Virtual Sanibel Shell Show held on March 5-6 on its YouTube Channel was a resounding success, organizers reported. The show was sponsored by the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, which joined 58 other sponsors in financially supporting the event and club.

The show had over 8,000 views as of March 10 from most U.S states, plus Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Europe and Canada. The entire show and each of the over 35 original videos are available for free for viewing at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZMmVBBFU9aPxbeOwWR1puQ.

Sponsored by Beachcombing Magazine, the shell photo contest had seven categories, plus Sanibel Stoop and Favorite Shell photos. The entries totaled 424 from 15 countries. Nearly 300 votes were cast for the People’s Choice award for Best Photos of the Show. Lorna Littrell won the People’s Choice grand prize with her gastropod photo of a horse conch at sunset. Second place winner from the People with Shells category was Karen Blackford, who submitted a photo of shellers in a tide pool along Middle Gulf Drive on Sanibel. Third place was Amy Tripp’s bivalve photo of a zig-zag scallop from Kice Island.

The club’s Sanibel Beach by Beach video was enhanced by professional photographer Nick Adams’ donated aerial drone footage of the five public Sanibel beaches. It provides information from parking and what shells may be found on the particular beaches, to how the beach access appears both on the ground and in the air. Videographer and club member Joyce Matthys also provided videos, including Live Mollusks in Their Shells, How to Clean Shells, A Shelling Challenge on the Beach, and Live Critters on Sanibel Beaches.

Organizers reported that viewers were amazed to learn that empty shells are home to live creatures with eyes, feet that propel them, and various appetites for mating and eating. Watching the predator-prey interaction between mollusks, mollusks laying eggs, and mollusks moving around the beach in search of food provoked comments like, “I had no idea that the shells we collect had live animals inside them” and “Who Knew?”


Three videos featured were The History of the Sanibel Shell Show, Recollections of Past Shell Shows — which included conversations with Richard and Mead Johnson, Chris Davison, Deb Gleason and Teresa Riska-Hall — and Overview of a Normal Shell Show. In addition, Sanibel resident MaryBeth Greenplate shared how she created a Beach Bungalow Doll House with tiny fishing floats, art and a miniature shell room.

Formed over 60 years ago, the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club awards grants from 100 percent of the shell show’s net proceeds to promote molluscan and ocean health research. Grantees Florida Gulf Coast University, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, University of Florida, University of South Florida and Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum each provided educational videos for the show.

Organizers thanked the show’s sponsors, videographers, photographers and viewers.