Sanibel Sea School Teaching Continues
Every school year, SCCF’s Sanibel Sea School provides classes to groups of homeschooled children as part of its “Homeschool at Sea” program. With the courses already scheduled and paid for before Hurricane Ian — and with Sea School facilities non-useable and the island’s natural habitats unsafe — staff had to get a little creative to deliver the same level of education this season.
Since last week, classes have been held off-island at parks and preserves around Southwest Florida, where kids ranging from ages 4 to 13 have explored topics including shark biology, bird anatomy and habitat, the history of the Calusa, and changes to wildlife after the hurricane. They’ve taken hikes at Three Oaks Park, learned about the Koreshan community at Koreshan State Park, mastered how to use binoculars at Wild Turkey Strand Preserve, and more.
“We wanted to still meet the needs of our homeschool groups who were interested despite not being able to enjoy the beach as we normally do in these courses,” said Sanibel Sea School Director Shannon Rivard. “Getting back out there and doing our jobs as marine science educators has been a great stress reliever for our staff.”
It’s unknown at this time when Sanibel Sea School will re-open for its normal operations, as SCCF is still assessing and repairing damages to the school’s two buildings on Periwinkle Way. The main building experienced about 2 feet of flooding, with nearly all contents a loss, as well as major tree damage that took out the power feed. The back building had 2 to 3 feet of flooding that submerged the electrical panel and caused the wooden floors to buckle, one window was broken, and the fence surrounding the outdoor teaching area was destroyed.
“We look forward to the day when kids are back on our campus discovering Sanibel’s unique marine habitats,“ Rivard said. “For now, we’re lucky that you don’t need buildings to teach about nature and conservation.”
For those interested in supporting SCCF’s Sanibel Sea School through this unprecedented chapter in its history, please click here.