Kindness & Conservation: A Day of Discovery with the Heights Foundation
Excited students from the Heights Foundation gathered around our Sanibel Sea School marine science educators at Bunche Beach on Wednesday afternoon.
“Our one and only rule is to be kind. It’s extremely important not to just be kind to each other but we also need to be kind to the creatures we find today,” Austin Wise, one of our Sanibel Sea School marine science educators, advised the students while discussing the proper ways to handle marine life.
As the children plowed into the surrounding water, dip nets in hand, they stopped frequently to check out the variety of shoreline treasures discovered by Sanibel Sea School marine science educators.
Marine Science Educator Annie Clinton can be seen here, dissecting a washed-up piece of manatee poop. Annie explains to her students that manatee poop points to the animal’s digestive health and she dissects it to reveal partially digested seagrass.
When we asked Annie how she thought the students could benefit from field trips like this, she said:
“There are endless ways that they benefit. I feel like the main one is just being out here and connecting to nature. They get to learn all about the ocean, and they get to make their own personal connections with it so that they can form a love for it. And then of course with this love, they’re going to want to protect it. So that’s the biggest goal.”
Since 2014, the Sanibel Sea School has been collaborating with the Heights Foundation and similar organizations through our Chance to Sea Program, working hard to introduce more children to the ocean. Sanibel Sea School’s educators provide a combination of monthly field trips and classroom visits for Heights Foundation students.
The Heights Foundation works to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood in Fort Myers, Florida. Their mission is to support education and wellness, promote family and community development, and provide the benefits of enrichment and the arts. Harlem Heights is a severely distressed community, with kids living in poverty at twice the rate of the rest of Lee County.