provided to Santiva Chronicle
To support the health and safety of our community, SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) announces that as of Tuesday, March 17, all SCCF programming and events are canceled until further notice.
“We take the risk associated with COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) very seriously and are doing everything we can to stop the potential spread of the global pandemic,” said Linda Uhler, president of SCCF’s board of trustees. “We hope the community will continue to support all the critical work that SCCF does to protect our coastal ecosystems in these uncertain times.”
Perhaps the biggest letdown for the community is the cancellation of the Sanibel Sea School’s Octifest on April 4 and Beer in the Bushes on April 11.
“We are sorry that we won’t be able to bring the community together at Octifest and Beer in the Bushes,” said CEO Ryan Orgera. “And, we are grateful to donors and sponsors for their generous donations to our biggest annual fundraisers that provide a large portion of support to our mission.”
Lead sponsors of Beer in the Bushes have already decided to donate their funds despite the cancellations.
“Our presenting sponsor, Wimmer Communities, and our band co-sponsors, Jensen’s Twin Palms Resort & Marina and The Marcums, are taking the lead in adapting to cancellation by letting us know that their sponsorships are converting to donations,” said Jeff Siwicke, events manager. “We are thrilled by their understanding and support.”
Refunds for Octifest, Beer in the Bushes, and all SCCF program tickets are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for the next 30 days, until April 15.
“We hope that ticketholders will allow us to retain their fees as tax-deductible donations to support the vital work that SCCF does, yet we understand that many in our community who are affected by current economic impacts will opt for a refund and we totally support and respect those decisions,” said Uhler.
Tickets that are donated are 100% tax deductible and will convert from a ticket exchange to a donation towards SCCF’s work on water quality, habitat management, sea turtle and shorebird monitoring, native landscaping and environmental education.
“Nature goes on. Our work to protect and conserve continues,” said Orgera. “We are grateful to those who convert tickets to donations at this time to show their support of our work.”
SCCF’s closure to the public includes the SCCF Nature Center, Sanibel Sea School and the Bailey Homestead Preserve’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center, which will be closed to the public. SCCF offices are closed and staff members are teleworking for the next 15 days to help contain the spread of the virus.
SCCF will continue to monitor public health risks and will provide updates on our ongoing work, including uplifting and inspiring photos and videos of nature on social media.
“We encourage you to become engaged with us online during these times of social isolation so we can keep our community spirit alive,” said Orgera. “Stay safe. We are grateful for your continuing appreciation of our natural world in these challenging times.”
The closure does not include the more than 8 miles of nature trails SCCF offers across the island.
Stay tuned through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and sccf.org as we continue to monitor this fluid situation.
Here is a full list of cancelled activities:
Beer in the Bushes – April 11
Bowman’s Beach Walk – Mar. 18 & 25
Caloosahatchee Oxbow & Riverlore Cruises – Mar. 21; April 3 & May 9
Everglades Update – April 23
Interior Wetlands Trail Walks – Tues., Weds. & Thurs. through April 9
Island Art Exhibit – Mon.-Fri. & Sat., through April 2
Making the Land Work Walking Tours – Mon. & Thurs. through April 30
Modern Day Plant Exploration – Mar. 26
Native Bee Workshop – Mar. 17
Octifest – April 4
Sanibel Sea School Programs & Classes
Seabirds – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers, Oh My – Mar. 17
Sunset Birding Cruise – April 7
Weeds & Seeds – Mar. 25 & Mar. 30
SCCF is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed.