provided to Santiva Chronicle
Students from Florida SouthWestern State College had the opportunity to get an up close look at our back bay estuary and beach ecology on Saturday, Feb. 1, courtesy of Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation’s and Captiva Cruises’ No Child Left On Shore environmental education outreach project.
“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,” said Environmental Educator Richard Finkel.
No Child Left On Shore (NCLOS) is a hands-on learning program that fills a vital need to provide the younger generation of Southwest Florida with an informative and fun way to gain experiential knowledge of the ecology of our marine environment. This enriching initiative enables local youth to form a deeper connection to their coastal surroundings and to spark their curiosity.
Since 2010, SCCF and Captiva Cruises have joined forces to provide these environmental education field trips. Now averaging about 10 trips per year, the program gives students the opportunity to get out on the water.
“I had never been on a boat before,” said one middle school student. “I really enjoyed it, and loved seeing all the life like the Sea Hare we pulled up in the trawling net. I want to go back and see new things.”
NCLOS field trips are offered to deserving schools or organizations that specialize in youth programs as well as special needs groups. Captiva Cruises uses a motor catamaran vessel for these field trips which can accommodate up to 45 children or young adults and their teachers or adult supervisors.
A field trip typically consists of some cruising around Pine Island Sound, some time to explore beach ecology on Cayo Costa State Park and time to discover the importance of the back-bay estuary through hands on learning activities such as the trawling net experience.
For additional information about the No Child Left On Shore program or to sponsor a field trip call SCCF at 239-472-2329.