Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

SCCF Leads Florida Master Naturalist Course

December 4, 2023
group of 20-25 people on beach

Twenty participants have joined SCCF over the last month as part of a Florida Master Naturalist Course in Coastal Systems, which SCCF Adult Education Director Jenny Evans is leading in partnership with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“The Florida Master Naturalist Coastal course is a great way to immerse participants in our local habitats on Sanibel and the barrier islands,” Evans said.

The 40-hour course has included a mix of instruction, hands-on activities, field trips, and student presentations to deliver a full understanding of the habitats, flora, and fauna of Sanibel and Captiva and our surrounding coastal communities.

“This has been one of the best Master Naturalist courses I’ve taken,” said Evan Kuperman, owner and CEO of Sand Dollar Shelling in Marco Island. “SCCF and the scientists they’ve brought in to talk about their different areas of expertise have been great. I’m happy I came down here, because the field trips in this location have been incredible for nature and wildlife observation.”

A sunray venus clam (Macrocallista nimbosa)

One of the course’s field trips took students to Bunche Beach in Fort Myers, where they heard from Sanibel Sea School educators and SCCF shorebird staff and observed olive snails, brittle stars, Florida fighting conchs, sunray venus clams, horseshoe crab molts, and lots of shore birds, including a wintering American avocet.

“For this course we wanted to expose students to everything that SCCF works to protect, so in turn, they begin to understand and love the environment, which creates new stewards to care for our coastal ecosystems,” Evans said.

Sanibel resident Kathryn Brintnall said she feels lucky to have discovered and enrolled in the course before it was filled.

“It’s been phenomenal, and I’ve learned so much. I had some background in the area already, but my respect for the work SCCF has done has just skyrocketed,” Brintnall said. “It’s so important to protect these barrier islands and our coastal communities.”


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