A Week in the Field: Inspiring Tomorrow's Scientists

Welcome to "A Week in the Field," a transformative camp by Sanibel Sea School, designed to kindle the passion for environmental research in high school students. As part of our commitment to improving the ocean's future, this camp opens the door to a week-long journey where participants, ages 13 to 15, dive into the heart of conservation and research on the pristine shores of Sanibel Island. From digging in the mud in a mangrove forest to surveying shorebirds on the coast to combing the early morning beaches in search of sea turtle nests or water sampling and oyster measuring – we’ll do it all, and so much more! We will work alongside SCCF’s scientists to analyze and gather data, get hands-on experience in field techniques and research methods, and learn how to communicate results to various audiences. 

July 22 – 26; 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM 
*Optional sessions may be scheduled before 9:00 AM for some projects.

A Week in the Field is a free, application-based camp. Our 2024 Camp is full. We'll begin accepting applications for A Week in the Field 2025 in January. 

We aim to break down financial barriers, making this camp accessible to all eager minds. By offering A Week in the Field at no cost to campers and providing transportation options, we aspire to enrich the lives of young individuals, fostering a love for science, nature, and the vital work of conservationists. Together, let’s shape the future stewards of our planet.

This year, funding was provided by:

SCCF Program Areas Involved

Marine Lab

SCCF’s Marine Laboratory at Tarpon Bay gives our scientists year-round access to freshwater wetlands, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, San Carlos Bay, Pine Island Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico to help us determine the influences of natural disturbances and the effects of people on estuaries and coastal ecosystems. The lab is adjacent to the Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve and is located within the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, one of a few designated marine wilderness areas in the United States. 

Camp Projects Focus On:  

  • Oyster Data Collection – Comparing restored and natural sites
  • Seagrass Monitoring
  • Water Quality 

Coastal Wildlife & Habitat Management  

SCCF protects wild animals on Sanibel and Captiva through population monitoring, habitat management and restoration, scientific research, and public education. In keeping with the ethos of our sanctuary islands, we encourage residents and visitors to co-exist in harmony with our abundant wildlife. The rich biodiversity of the islands includes nearly 400 species of reptiles and amphibians, mammals, birds, and interior fish. We collaborate with government agencies, universities, organizations, and community members to protect and care for them.

Camp Projects Focus On: 

  • Sea Turtle Monitoring and Research 
  • Shorebird Monitoring 
  • Gopher Tortoise Surveys 
  • Box Turtle Telemetry 
  • Sanibel Rice Rat Monitoring

Native Garden Center

As the only retail garden center on Sanibel and Captiva to carry 100% native plants, SCCF's Native Landscapes & Garden Center is an important community resource for native and sustainable landscape design. Stroll through our demonstration gardens to gain inspiration for your own property, or get answers to your plant questions from one of our expert staff. Native planting encourages birds, butterflies, and other wildlife in your backyard; contributes to better water quality in our local waterbodies; helps fight the spread of invasive plants on our wildlands; and conserves drinking water supplies. 

Camp Projects Focus On: 

  • Growth Monitoring
  • Comparison of Native to Invasive
  • Preserve Surveys

Coastal Watch

SCCF’s Coastal Watch implements local, volunteer-based initiatives to restore our habitats, clean our environment, and encourage sustainability.

Camp Projects Focus On: 

  • Habitat Restoration: Oyster & Mangroves 
  • Community Outreach

Policy & Advocacy 

SCCF's environmental policy team tackles local, regional, statewide, and federal policy issues related to natural resource protection and restoration. Our advocacy and outreach brings sound scientific grounding to policy development surrounding water quality, Everglades restoration, coastal development, and fish and wildlife conservation.

Camp Projects Focus on: 

  • Survey Research
  • Understanding an Audience
  • Presenting Scientific Information to the Public