Sanibel Fifth Graders Delve into Coastal Ecology

01 Jun 2022

The long-standing partnership between SCCF and Captiva Cruises gave The Sanibel School’s fifth graders a chance to delve into coastal ecology with a field trip to Cayo Costa. On May 24, fifth-grade teachers Ann Franke and Joseph Camputaro brought their students up to McCarthy’s Marina on Captiva where they boarded Captiva Cruises’ motor catamaran The Playtime.

Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), magnificent frigate birds (Fregata magnificens), dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and manatees (Trichechus manatus) were spotted during the field trip as students were able to get an up-close look at the habitats of our back bay estuary that they had discussed in their classroom.  

Mangroves, seagrass beds, oyster bars, and mudflats were all observed. Students enjoyed discussing these habitats with SCCF Educator Richard Finkel. The discussion included how they all have a vital role within the food webs and the functioning of the estuary as a nursery and filter for Pine Island Sound. Students also had the opportunity to explore the gulf beach and surf zone habitats of Cayo Costa State Park where they documented their discoveries and observations.

SCCF maintains an active presence at The Sanibel School assisting with integrating Environmental Education into the K-8th grade curriculum. SCCF’s Pick Preserve, located directly across the street from The Sanibel School, has been utilized as an outdoor classroom since the Spring of 2000. SCCF and Captiva Cruises have teamed up since 2010 to provide “No Child Left On Shore” field trips for the younger generation of Southwest Florida including students from our island school.

To learn more about these programs, contact Richard Finkel, rfinkel@sccf.org.