by J. Bruce Neill, Ph.D., Sanibel Flyfishers Communications Director
The Sanibel Flyfishers is a club with mission. When we’re not fishing, we try to improve our natural resources; for today and tomorrow. We want to ensure a fly-fishing community persists in Sanibel’s future.
We have monthly meetings and fly-tying session and luncheons. A common thread of these activities is fellowship. During season, we have group fishing adventures, where we gather and fish. We go to parks to practice our casting techniques. In all our activities, there are a lot of stories. We enjoy one-another’s company. We are a diverse group bound by the commonality of a love of nature, fishing and a desire share our passions for fly fishing.
We have different politics, we come from different parts of the world, we had different careers and we have different points of view, but we put aside those differences because above all things, we have a common strong desire – to ensure the future of fly fishing on Sanibel; we have a dedication to natural resource conservation.
We believe in conservation education. To ensure the future of our natural resources, we believe we foster a new generation of resource managers – the nature stewards of the future. We raise funds to help educate and provide practical experience to young conservationists.
We have created an endowment fund at the FGCU Water School to provide scholarships for graduate students. In four years, we have raised over $300,000 to endow that scholarship for the future. It is actively supporting graduate students at the Water School.
Now, we are turning our focus even more locally; we are very excited to have forged a partnership with the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation to help support conservation research on island. Starting this year, for the next five years, are raising funds to support research internship opportunities at the SCCF Marine Lab.
Pete Squibb, the President of Sanibel Flyfishers, feels like this is very nice match for both organizations. “Our members realize that clean water is why we love SW Florida. Sanibel Fly Fishers is excited with this partnership with SCCF. We know we will be providing direct support to SCCF marine research efforts through the Marine Lab. Anything we can do to increase the scientific knowledge base will help policy makers maintain and restore the rich marine ecosystems we have in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties. “
Dr. Eric Milbrandt, Director of the SCCF Marine Lab, is very excited to create these internships with the Sanibel FlyFishers. “Recent graduates in marine science with a BS degree have limited opportunities for exploring research in Florida. This group of graduates want to work in the field but often face stiff competition for jobs in scientific and field research against more experienced people or people who have completed a graduate degree. “
Not only do the interns gain valuable experience, but Marine Lab Interns assists on ongoing research and monitoring projects where needed to gain experience in water quality, measuring the condition of seagrass and oysters, identifying phytoplankton and algae, and habitat restoration.
Dr. Milbrandt also pointed out that these internships are designed to broaden the experience of these young professionals. “They are also asked to formulate their own project, purchase necessary supplies to complete the project and collect and analyze data. At the end of their internship, they are asked to present their findings in a seminar with lab staff and others who are interested. The internship allows people to explore the field of marine science, gain connections, and gives them on-the-job training to help them decide on a direction for graduate school, or to give them more experience.”
Research Internships are impactful to our islands in many ways: they help guide a career path and allow an opportunity to gain practical experience and knowledge. They help train people to be better prepared for the job market. Interns help us learn about, and better understand our marine environments and the challenges they face. And these young people and live and work in our community – enriching it. So much good – right here on our island.
The Sanibel Flyfishers are very excited to be able to help ensure the future of our natural resources, and in a way that enriches our community.
Sanibel FlyFishers is a Florida registered non-profit corporation, founded in 2001. We are a Charter Club of Fly Fishers International (FFI). The mission of Sanibel FlyFishers is to promote fly fishing and community-based conservation through education, advocacy, community outreach.