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Program Descriptions


For programs in a calendar format, please click here.

Lighthouse Beach, Bay, and Birds

Meet your SCCF guide beach side at the covered picnic pavilion at lighthouse park. Take a walk beach to bay keeping your eyes open for resting, nesting, and migratory birds. Learn about SCCF’s marine lab and water quality research protecting the estuary. Program is free to all. Must pay to park.

  • When: Wednesday's at 8 a.m. from January through March
  • Where: Click here for PDF flyer or call 472-2329 for schedule of outings and details of where to meet.
  • Fee: Free and open to all levels of birders; bring binoculars.

Bobcat Tales


While other wild feline species are in trouble, bobcats seem to be flourishing through most of their North American range. No one knows how many bobcats there are on Sanibel and Captiva but this adaptable feline's ability to survive close to humans may be one of the reasons for the bobcat's success. Rats and mice can make up to 40% of the bobcat's diet.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.

Butterfly House


Learn about the life cycles of Florida’s native butterflies and their connections with native, host plants on a self-guided tour of the Butterfly House, which is open year-round.

Caloosahatchee Oxbow & Riverlore Cruises


This 2.5 hour adventure begins by locking through the W.P. Franklin Lock in Olga and cruises through the meanders of the historic upriver Caloosahatchee. Follow the river back to a time when a waterfall served as the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee and settlers braved living in the wilderness. The tour is guided by Rae Ann Wessel, a river researcher, long-time river advocate, historian and SCCF Natural Resource Policy Director. Cruises are aboard the 47-passenger Manatee Rover pontoon boat.  Private group cruises can be scheduled by appointment. Click here for more information. Click here for printable flyer.
  • When: 2015-2016 cruises will be offered Friday, November 27 (day after Thanksgiving) and on the following dates: January 24,  2016, February 14 and 28, March 13, April 10, and May 8
  • Where: Meet at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam, reservations required. Call 472-2329.
  • Fee: $45 per person

Coyote and Bear Tales


A coyote and a Florida black bear were documented on the island for the first time last winter. Come and learn about the behaviors of these two new species. Coyotes have now moved into every county in Florida. Both human and bear populations are growing in Florida. Eighty percent of a bear’s diet comes from insects and fruits. Thursday, February 2 and Wednesdays, February 15 and 29 at 10 a.m. in the SCCF auditorium.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.

Dolphin & Wildlife Adventure Cruises


Narrated by Conservation Foundation docents, this Captiva Cruises trip is an excellent way to enjoy dolphins, other wildlife, and learn the eco-history of Pine Island Sound and the islands.
  • When: Daily at 4:00 p.m.
  • Where: Boat departs from South Seas Resort.
  • Fee: $27.50/adult; $18 child over 2. Reservations required: 472-5300; check out website at www.captivacruises.com.

Frog Tales


Even though tadpoles actually lose their tails to become a frog, you are invited to learn about the frogs of Sanibel and Captiva by attending a "Frog Tales" program. Come and listen to frog calls heard during the summer rains and watch a frog eat a cricket.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.

Gator and Crocodile Tales


The biology of alligators and crocodiles is an ancient tale of survival. Come and learn to live with these living dinosaurs to ensure our safety and their survival on the islands.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.

Hurricanes!


Wildlife, vegetation and human existence on these islands have been shaped by tropical storms. Most recently Hurricane Charley left his mark on these barrier islands. Storms in 1873, 1910, 1945, and others rearranged sand and with each swipe, they re-sculpted the islands. Spaghetti models provide some of the world’s best computer simulations analyzing a storm’s behavior. Our growth in technology has improved communication to people who live in the path of a storm, but nothing is powerful enough to alter a hurricane’s course.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.

Native Plant Walks - Weeds, Seeds, & Birds

SCCF’s “Weeds and Seeds” and “Birding the Preserves” will be offered together this season. Since many birders are also plant lovers, the walks this year will combine finding and identifying native plants on Sanibel while also enjoying a variety of birds. The group meets on the Nature Center porch and then carpools to one of SCCF’s preserves. Walks last for two hours. Depending on the location visited, you may need parking money. Please bring a hat, water, sun-block and comfortable enclosed shoes with socks.

Click here for more info.
  • When: Offered on Mondays during season.
  • Where: Walks are on different SCCF preserves but the group meets on the porch at the Nature Center
  • Fee: Free but donations to SCCF are welcome. For info, Call Candice Ethridge at 395-9498

The Snakes of Sanibel and Captiva


From surveys conducted by the SCCF there are 13 species of snake documented for Sanibel. Two species reported in the past were NOT encountered during these surveys, the Eastern Indigo Snake and the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. Come and learn about island snakes from Chris Lechowicz, Director of Habitat Management. There will be live snakes to hold if you are so inclined including an Indigo snake that will be making her home in the nature center in a new exhibit.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.

Snowy Plovers


Have you ever wondered about the staked nests on the beach or the families of birds with tiny chicks running around?   Learn about the biology of the Snowy Polover, the threats to their survival and the ongoing SCCF research and conservation efforts. Click here to learn more about snowy plovers.
  • When: Spring and early summer.  Check Program Calendar here.
  • Where: Programs begin inside SCCF’s Nature Center
  • Fee: Free to members and children; $5 for non-members; $2 beach parking fee may apply.

Tides, Currents and the Florida Shelf


Whether it is shelling, fishing, boating, birding or just enjoying the view of the water, tides and currents affect most of our lives daily. If you have wondered why the islands sometimes have just one tide a day – or why you can see seagrasses when the tide chart says it is high tide – this program may be of interest to you. In the past few years more people have become aware of the Florida Shelf. Where is it and why is it important? Come to this introduction to how water behaves as the earth spins, the moon orbits and the winds blow.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.

Trail Walks: Explore Sanibel's Interior Wetlands


Sanibel Island is a unique barrier island in Florida because it still has an interior freshwater wetland ecosystem that has not been lost to development. Docent-led walk through the interior wetlands and mid-island ridges of SCCF’s Center Tract with discussion of wildlife, native habitats, natural and cultural history, and preservation efforts. The trails and observation tower are open year-round for self-guided tours.
  • When: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 11 a.m. during Season (check here for dates).
  •  Where: Meet at SCCF’s Nature Center.
  • Fee: Free to members; $5 entrance fee for adult non-members.

Turtle Tracks


Sanibel Island had one of the first sea turtle monitoring programs in the country. Learn about the life cycles and habits of the sea turtles and shorebirds that nest on our beaches, SCCF’s monitoring activities, and what we are doing to protect them. Meet at the Nature Center.
  • When: Alternating Thursdays at 10 but call for schedule or check here.
  • Where: Programs begin inside SCCF’s Nature Center at the sea turtle exhibit
  • Fee: Free to members and children; $5 for non-members.

Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins


The Nature Center now has a tanks with peninsula cooter, Florida softshell, red-eared and yellow-bellied sliders, and mud turtles. As well as the beautiful species, the ornate diamondback terrapin, featured in a new 220-gallon tank. This saltwater species lives in the brackish water of the mangrove creeks where they forage on shrimp, fiddler crabs, and anything else they can dig up.
  • When: Call for dates and times or check here.
  • Where: SCCF Nature Center Auditorium
  • Fee: $5 per person. Reservations are not required.