A Day at the Beach with Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Sanibel Sea School recently hosted a group of 5- to 8-year-old students from Child Care of Southwest Florida’s Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center for a field trip to Bunche Beach Preserve.

Marine science educator Kim Bouwkamp led the group on a beach walk, seining in the seagrass, and using dip nets to find crabs. “We caught lots of small fish, comb jellies, snails, and hermit crabs. Students were most excited to hold the wiggly silver fish—their giggles were contagious,” Bouwkamp said. To end the trip, Bouwkamp surprised students by pulling a surfboard out of the van. For the last hour, they learned how to paddle, turn the board around, and pop up.

These field trips are part of Sanibel Sea School’s outreach effort to provide opportunities to students who wouldn’t otherwise experience the ocean. There are thousands of children in Southwest Florida who, despite living just miles from the coast, rarely have a chance to interact with it in a meaningful way.

“Most of the students on the trip had never been to Bunche Beach or Sanibel before. The best part of the trip for me was the drive there because their excitement was at an all-time high,” said Bouwkamp “I hope students took away a new interest in exploring nature and asking questions. It was so wonderful to spend the day together at the beach.”

Field trips also help reinforce concepts that are learned during monthly classroom visits to Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center in Fort Myers. Students will join Sanibel Sea School on three more trips this school year.

If you would like to support this outreach program, visit Sanibel Sea School’s website and click “Support the Cause” or contact sanibelseaschool@sccf.org.

Part of the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Family, Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time.

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