The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) connects you to nature through conversations with our scientists and others who are dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed.
Scientists from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF)'s Sea Turtle Program, including Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan, Research Associate Andrew Glinsky, and Biologist Jack Brzoza share highlights of the 2020 nesting season.
As part of the SCCF team for the past three seasons, the trio talk about how this record-breaking nesting season compared to the previous two summers, which saw record-breaking hatchlings in 2019 and record-breaking fatalities due to the catastrophic red tide in 2018.
They also re-cap some of the most memorable aspects of 2020, including numerous records broken by loggerheads and leatherbacks as well as the challenges of COVID-19 and major media attention. The team explains how SCCF's program relies upon more than 100 community volunteers and the cooperation of residents, visitors in businesses in making our beaches sea turtle friendly. And, you'll learn about their backgrounds and what drove their interest in working with sea turtles.
As the rainy season ends, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to release harmful volumes of freshwater from Lake Okeechobee down the Caloosahatchee River into our estuary for the first time since June. SCCF Marine Lab Director Dr. Eric Milbrandt and SCCF Environmental Policy Director James Evans join Host Barbara Linstrom to explain why scientists are recommending that water managers hold off on any releases for a couple of weeks until the watershed runoff from recent rains slows down. They also talk about the research SCCF’s Marine Lab does that informs weekly reports and recommendations provided to water managers and how our water quality has benefitted from those reports. From a policy perspective, Evans also talks about how positive it was that the Corps held off on any releases during this year's rainy season. They also explain how releases during the upcoming dry season will benefit the estuary.
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**Please note that this podcast is produced on our phones from our homes to ensure safe, social distancing. This recording has a bit of a sync issue. (We really didn't talk over each other as it sounds.)
Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht joins host Barbara Linstrom to talk about the highlights of the 2020 Shorebird Nesting Season on Sanibel and North Captiva Islands. As the leader of SCCF’s Shorebird Monitoring Program that began in 2002, Albrecht reflects on what an unusual season the summer of 2020 was compared to her previous four summers.
She also shares her experiences working with plovers and least terns in the prairies of the Dakotas and Nebraska before coming to SCCF and how that helps her more fully understand these species. Albrecht also explains why our islands are such critical nesting habitat for snowy plovers, Wilson's plovers, and least terns, as well as the threats they encounter. And, she explains why SCCF has enhanced overall shorebird monitoring efforts on our beaches since 2017.
Since it’s the time of year when red tide typically blooms offshore, we asked SCCF Marine Lab Director Eric Milbrandt, Ph.D., and Research Scientist Rick Bartleson, Ph.D., to explain what we can expect this fall.
They discuss the seasonal dynamics of red tide and monitoring efforts by the lab to track it once it is detected offshore. The conversation also includes an in-depth explanation of Karenia brevis, the dinoflagellate that causes red tides, and their historical occurrence off the Southwest Florida coast.
They also talk about red tide research the lab is assisting with related to sea turtles and what you can do in your own backyard to help prevent harmful algal blooms such as red tide.
CEO Ryan Orgera joins host Barbara Linstrom to talk about a Shark Conservation Campaign launched by SCCF to coincide with this summer’s 32nd annual Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.
Before Ryan took over the helm at SCCF, he worked with The Pew Charitable Trusts in shark conservation, specifically in the reduction of international trade in unsustainable shark fins. He talks about his international advocacy work as well as his life-long love of sharks, going back to his childhood here in Southwest Florida, where he grew up on Lemon Bay in Charlotte County.
Once a devout fan of Shark Week, Ryan shares how his lens shifted to a more conservation-minded perspective by the time he was in high school and has continued to shift ever since. He also relays how refreshing it felt to have Southwest Florida media embrace and cover the conservation angle SCCF provided for Shark Week. And, how shark conservation fits in with SCCF's mission to preserve and restore our aquatic and coastal ecosystems.
Podcast Host Barbara Linstrom, SCCF Communications Director, talks with Jenny Evans, manager of our Native Landscapes & Garden Center, about the value and intricacies of pollinators. For the past 15 years, Evans has led the effort to encourage islanders to plant native to support pollinators as well as all forms of native wildlife. With a background in plant biology, Evans gives an overview of what pollinating is and delves into some fascinating details about native pollinators as well as the commercialization of pollination to support agriculture on a global scale. She also talks about the demonstration pollinator garden at the historic Bailey Homestead Preserve where the Garden Center is located and our new online shopping, delivery, and pick-up offerings.
SCCF Burn Bosses Victor Young and Chris Lechowicz joined host Barbara Linstrom for a conversation about the planned upcoming burn at the Erick Lindblad Preserve.
On June 21, SCCF and the City of Sanibel announced plans for a prescribed burn in the preserve in the upcoming weeks to preserve the natural ecology of the area and reduce the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires.
As designated Burn Boss for the burn of interior wetlands connected to the Sanibel Slough behind the SCCF Nature Center, Victor explains why he is waiting for winds from the south and other factors that need to fall into place before he'll request a permit from the Florida Forest Service.
The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) bids farewell to a man who leaves quite a legacy on Sanibel and Captiva for establishing a place of learning unlike any other on the planet. Since established in June of 2005, the Sanibel Sea School has earned a national reputation as an informal marine science education center where going barefoot is encouraged, and getting in the water is where the best learning occurs.
Inspired by their love of the ocean, their children, and their desire to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time, Bruce Neill and his wife, Evelyn, realized a life-long dream when they opened the doors of the Sanibel Sea School fifteen years ago.
Bruce joins our podcast from his new home in San Jose, California, on his final day of employment with SCCF which joined forces with the sea school in January 2020.
We celebrate World Turtle Day and are joined by two of Sanibel and Captiva islands' leading experts when it comes to turtles.
Featured today are local legend Charles LeBuff, who was stationed at the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge for more than 30 years, was a founding board member of SCCF and the founder of what is now our sea turtle monitoring program. He has also authored several books about the natural history of our islands.
And, Chris Lechowicz, SCCF’s Wildlife & Habitat Management Director since 2002, when he began keeping an inventory of wildlife on our islands. As SCCF’s resident herpetologist, Chris has conducted extensive research on Florida box turtles and on ornate Diamondback terrapin.
Together they co-authored a reference book in 2013 called “Amphibians & Reptiles of Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Florida,” which is considered the go-to guide for understanding the ever-changing life history of our islands’ herpetofauna.
Since they are separated by a generation in age, these two have collectively worked in the field documenting the changing ecosystems in which these turtles live for seven decades.
Rae Ann Wessel reflects on her 42-year career as a water advocate and scientist in Southwest Florida as she joins us on her last day of work as SCCF Natural Resources Policy Director. Over several decades, Wessel gained a solid reputation as one of the most articulate voices for Caloosahatchee and Everglades restoration that our region has ever known. For the past 14 years, she took on an unexpected role in policy as she helped Sanibel and Captiva islanders learn how interconnected the islands' water quality is with the greater Everglades ecosystem and how to make their voices known to water managers and policymakers. She also talks about how important SCCF research is in providing a scientific basis to calls for change.
Wessel also talks about retiring at a time when COVID-19 is dominating life and limiting travel and socializing. Through it all, she maintains her trademark sense of humor and keeps a positive attitude toward the unexpected path that lies ahead for her.
On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) is honoring the origins of its sea turtle monitoring program, which is one of the longest-running sea turtle conservation efforts in the world. In 1959, nighttime patrols to protect loggerhead sea turtles began on Sanibel Island.
Six decades later, SCCF continues that work by monitoring loggerhead, leatherback, green, and Kemp's ridley sea turtles on both Captiva and Sanibel Islands. SCCF's Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan and Sea Turtle Program Founder Charles LeBuff join host Barbara Linstrom to talk about how early conservation efforts have led to a more diverse and greater number of nesting sea turtles on both islands. LeBuff also explains his pioneering role in getting federal protections for loggerheads to keep them from being killed and harvested through the Endangered Species Act in 1973.
To learn more about Charles LeBuff's pioneering work, click here.
To find out more about SCCF's current work on sea turtles, which includes several research projects, click here.