On March 25, we started sending weekly updates to your inbox every Wednesday afternoon, three days before Florida's first Safer-at-Home Executive Order was issued.
Our goal, as teleworking and drastic social distancing upended our lives, was to remind you that nature goes on in all its beautiful brilliance.
Our mission to conserve the coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed did not pause. The Weekly Wednesday Update was created as a way for us to share our ongoing work with you and connect you to nature as a healing outlet in stressful times. Residents and visitors shared amazing photos of wildlife on our islands.
On June 24, the Weekly Wednesday Update closed out our fiscal year that ends June 30 and marked the end of our weekly run.
As chronicled in the Weekly Wednesday Update since March 2020, our sea turtle team documented more sea turtles nests earlier than ever; our shorebird biologist and volunteers worked tirelessly to protect snowy plovers and least terns as they sought out safe nesting habitat; our weekly Caloosahatchee & Estuary Condition Reports continued to inform water managers and policymakers; staff carried out nighttime and early morning field and lab work to investigate red tide impacts on nesting sea turtles; our Marine Lab scientists continued critical oyster, hard clam, seagrass, and mangrove restoration projects; and habitat management staff maintained preserved lands to provide critical wildlife habitat.
Staff adapted as needed, as our creative marine science educators at Sanibel Sea School delivered exciting virtual lessons for 14 weeks through Nature Near You and filled in for morning beach patrol when our sea turtle volunteers were on hiatus due to COVID-19. We opened an online version of our Native Landscapes & Garden Center with delivery and curbside pick-up. On Earth Day, we launched a podcast called Land. Water. Wildlife and have produced four episodes.
In early June, all 100 of our sea turtle volunteers were back on morning beach patrol; we re-opened our retail operations at the Bailey Homestead and the Sanibel Sea School with safe protocols, including facial coverings/masks and extra disinfecting in shared spaces.
At Sanibel Sea School, we decided not to re-open in-person small-group, weekly camps and instead, opted for small classes and private sessions out on the water and the beach. Our scientists are back in the field and the lab doing safe, socially-distanced research.
As we continue to adapt our work to these times, we decided to shift to a bi-weekly Wednesday Update that includes more podcasts featuring conversations that elucidate our work and help you get to know the passionate, highly knowledgeable people dedicated to our mission, including interviews with individuals involved in SCCF's amazing 52-year history on these islands. And, feature more videos that showcase our work in the field.
We are committed to deepening your knowledge of our coastal ecosystems and what we are doing to protect and restore the land, water, and wildlife that we all love and appreciate.
On July 8, we emailed our first Wednesday Update, as the first bi-weekly issue of our new fiscal year that began on July 1. We thank all of you for supporting our mission!
Click here to sign up to receive the Wednesday Update. For ongoing updates of our work, please check the News section on our website regularly and follow us on social media.
Watch the video below featuring our CEO Ryan Orgera to learn more about SCCF.