The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) connects you to nature through conversations with people who are dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed.
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. Sea turtle program founder Charles LeBuff and SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan join SCCF's Communications Director Barbara Linstrom for a conversation about how the program began in 1959, its success over the years as a conservation effort as well as highlights of the 2020 nesting season that began on April 15 and continues through October.
The 84-year-old LeBuff, who is also the last living founding board member of SCCF, openly and vividly shares his memories of creating the first sea turtle monitoring program in the state of Florida as well as advocacy in the 1970s that led to getting sea turtles federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. To learn more about his pioneering work, click here.
Find out more about SCCF's current work on sea turtles, which includes several research projects, here.