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

SCCF Pick Preserve serves as Outdoor Classroom

February 5, 2024
students at pick preserve

For the first time since Hurricane Ian, students from the Sanibel School (the island’s K-8 public school) were able to use SCCF’s Pick Preserve as a space to learn about environmental science, ecology, and habitat management.

Last week, SCCF Environmental Educator Richard Finkel led third- and fourth-grade classes to the Pick Preserve nature trail for a close-up look at Sanibel’s interior freshwater wetlands and mid-island ridges.

After studying the structure of plants and flowers in the classroom, third graders inventoried the different types of plants along the trail and wrote about their adaptations to fit into the native environment. Fourth graders took special note of how the ecosystem within Pick Preserve has adapted to the stresses of Hurricane Ian.

“Students assessed the general health of the freshwater wetland habitat and overall water quality by looking at its inhabitants. Small fish, beetle larvae, water beetles, and fishing spiders were some of the life they recorded and wrote about from sampling the freshwater habitat,” Finkel said. “A big thank you to the contributions of SCCF staff and volunteers from Pulte Homes for overseeing, re-constructing and re-opening the Pick Preserve nature trail and boardwalk.”

SCCF’s 26-acre Pick Preserve, located directly across the street from the Sanibel School, is part of a network of approximately 400 acres of conservation land managed by SCCF, the State of Florida, the City of Sanibel, and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Since the Spring of 2000, SCCF has facilitated and conducted environmental education programs at the Pick Preserve to help integrate ecological studies into classroom curricula. 

The preserve was named for Tom and Sue Pick who purchased the property to be held as an SCCF preserve in perpetuity.


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