No Child Left on Shore Hosts Quality Life Center

06 Jul 2022

The No Child Left on Shore Environmental Education Outreach Project invited 24 teenagers participating in the Quality Life Center of SWFL summer program to Captiva on June 24 for a day of hands-on learning.

No Child Left on Shore—a partnership between SCCF and Captiva Cruises—fills the vital need of providing local youth with an informative and fun way to gain experiential knowledge of the ecology of the region’s marine environment.

The enriching initiative enables local youth to form a deeper connection to their coastal surroundings and to spark their curiosity.

Quality Life Center, located in the Dunbar community of Fort Myers, enriches the lives of young people and underserved communities through academic enrichment, performing arts, leadership, and cultural awareness.

Their group, along with three supervisors, boarded Captiva Cruises’ motor catamaran vessel The Playtime with SCCF Environmental Educator Richard Finkel for a day of exploration.

“Most of our students have never been on a boat,” said Quality Life Center Youth Programs Coordinator Julian Ramirez. No Child Left on Shore “offers our students a great and unique opportunity to experience an aspect of Florida that they would never otherwise experience.”

En route to Cayo Costa State Park, the students observed seagrass and mangrove habitats within the shallow waters of Pine Island Sound and discussed the importance of the estuary and how it is connected to the watershed of Southwest Florida. On the beach, the students waded and searched the shoreline, discovering some of the marine life that inhabits this coastal ecosystem.  Highlights of the day included watching dolphins swim within very close proximity to the boat, finding live sand dollars, trawling for pinfish and puffer fish, and visiting an island only accessible by boat.

“Most of our students have never seen dolphins in person,” Ramirez said. “The educational aspect of the experience is very enlightening for them, and the hands-on aspect of learning makes it that much more impactful.”

SCCF and Captiva Cruises have partnered in many educational endeavors over the past 30 years.  This educational cooperative is rooted in the strong commitment the two organizations have for the protection of our environment and teaching people about the ecology of our coastal communities. 

If you are interested in learning more or becoming a sponsor of a No Child Left on Shore Field Trip, contact Richard Finkel at rfinkel@sccf.org. SCCF gratefully acknowledges the support of The L.A.T. Foundation and other donors who help sustain this incredible program for our young Southwest Florida neighbors.