Local youths explore estuary, barrier island habitats
The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Captiva Cruises recently hosted 19 middle-school students from the Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida’s summer program for an up-close look at the back bay estuary and barrier island shoreline habitats as part of the No Child Left On Shore initiative.
The environmental, educational outreach program provides the younger generation of Southwest Florida with an informative and fun way to gain experiential knowledge of the region’s marine ecology.
No Child Left On Shore was founded in 2010 by Captiva Cruises and SCCF educator Richard Finkel and Paul McCarthy, the former owner of Captiva Cruises, as a collaborative effort with the SCCF.
The field trip departed from McCarthy’s Marina on Captiva aboard Captiva Cruises’ motor catamaran vessel The Playtime for a cruise on the Pine Island Sound and a shoreline exploration of Cayo Costa State Park. Officials reported that the teens were delighted when a social group of dolphins came within close proximity to the boat, and they had the opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat.
The presence of pinfish and pipefish led to a group discussion about salinity and seagrasses and the importance of the estuary. On Cayo Costa, the students had fun getting wet, exploring the shoreline and learning about some of its inhabitants, including horseshoe and mole crabs, coquina clams and other mollusks, sponges and sea turtles.
Based in the Dunbar neighborhood of Fort Myers, the Quality Life Center provides youth development programs designed to cultivate self-discipline and confidence and to provide foundational tools for financial, social, personal and professional success.
For more information about the No Child Left On Shore initiative or to sponsor a youth field trip, contact Finkel at email@example.com or 239-472-5300.