Thursday, March 31, 2011

Corner Grill art auction earns $5,625 for refuge

The new George & Wendy’s Corner Grill on Sanibel Island sets a fine example for community support of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It donates five percent of all proceeds from sales of its art collection by expressionist Keys artist Stacie Krupa to the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS).

On Feb. 11, owners George and Wendy Schnapp decided to turn their grand opening into the first creative cocktail auction benefit for the Society, donating 25 percent of auction proceeds for a grand total of $5,625. They intend to host these creative art auction parties twice each year.

“Stacie’s art represents the amazing wildlife living here within our refuge, and it is great to have her support, the support of the Corner Grill, and the overall community,” said DDWS Executive Director Birgie Vertesch. “The conservation work and education taking place within the refuge is well known, but many people don’t realize the true economic benefit of having a refuge in their community. For every dollar invested in the wildlife refuge, more than $40 is reflected in economic benefit to the area, not to mention the fact that the refuge helps to increase the property values on Sanibel and Captiva. The Corner Grill and so many other local businesses see the benefit of the refuge and we thank them for their support.” 

On March 17 at Bailey’s IrishFest, George and Wendy’s Corner Grill provided two kegs of green beer which was served for free and donations were collected for the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society. In one hour and 15 minutes, the two kegs had been consumed and an additional $208 was raised for the Society. 

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.

To join DDWS and support the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or contact Birgie Vertesch at 239-292-0566 or CHELLE KOSTER WALTON

Festival, contest proceeds to benefit Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum


Get ready to slurp — the second annual Edible Mollusk Festival and Oyster Eating Contest returns to the Timbers on Saturday, April 16, and this year’s festival promises to be better — and tastier — than ever. 

“The Edible Mollusk Festival and Oyster Eating Contest was created last year to highlight the grand opening of the new Edible Mollusk Exhibit at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum,” said festival chairperson Clair Beckmann. “It was so much fun that we decided to do it again — thanks to Matt Asen and Mark Blust from the Timbers and Prawnbrokers Restaurant Group, who will be providing the venue, oysters, and some staffing for the event.”

And according to Beckmann, the highlight of the 2010 event was the Oyster Eating Contest — Al Marti took last year’s champion title — which is composed of 60-second “heats” in which contestants try to consume as many raw oysters as possible in under a minute. 

If you can find someone who’s up to the task for this year’s contest, it costs $250 to sponsor a contestant, who are also encouraged to collect additional pledges from friends and family. If you can’t find someone with suitable stomach capacity but would still like to help in some way, contact the Shell Museum for more information on corporate sponsorship and donation opportunities.

“The event has quickly become a community event and has even created some friendly competition between like businesses,” said Mark Blust, noting one oyster-eating rivalry in particular — Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank versus Bank of the Islands. 

This year’s Oyster Eating Contest panel of celebrity judges include Dan Schuyler, Ric Base, Judie Zimomra, Anne Joffe and Kevin Ruane. 

Clay Miller from NBC-2 will once again be the master of ceremonies — and might even eat an oyster or two. 

“We’ll also have a children's craft booth — set up by famous shell crafter Anne Joffe — and Miss Silvia will be painting faces,” Beckmann said. “We’ll also have oysters, beer and other food for sale and talks about edible mollusks from Dr. Jose Leal and Matt Asen.”

Matt Asen says he’s always been an oyster-slurper, but after the success of last year’s inaugural event, he began doing research on different types of oysters in preparation for the 2011 Edible Mollusk Festival. 

“I became oyster obsessed! Beginning last June and continuing throughout the fall, I ate and saved the top and bottom shell of over 200 different named oysters,” Asen said, noting that he also created an exhibit based on his research and won a third place ribbon at the Sanibel Shell Fair. His exhibit is now on display at the Shell Museum.

“The event is a big fundraiser for the museum and a fun, educational — and culinary — treat for the community, as Chef Teh will be preparing lesser known but equally delicious mollusks such as baby octopus and cuttlefish, along with oysters, clams, squid and escargot,” Asen said. “It will also be a great opportunity for people to compare the different types of oysters. In addition to the Apalachicola (Florida) oyster, we will be offering oysters from New England, the Canadian Maritime Provinces, Washington State and British Columbia. Grilled oysters will also be available for those who prefer there mollusks cooked!”

All proceeds raised during the festival will go to benefit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

“It is a fundraising event, but we’re not aiming for huge amounts,” said Shell Museum Curator and Director Dr. Jose Leal. “It’s more of a friend-raiser — this way we can expose the Shell Museum to not only the regular weekend visitors but also to the locals. We really want to extend an invitation to everyone in the community to come join us for this wonderful event. It’s free and it’s a great opportunity to just hang out and have some fun. We’re all really looking forward to it.”

And while admission to the event is free, raffle tickets are available for purchase at the Shell Museum until April 16. Tickets are $10 each — or three for $25.

The raffle prize for this year’s festival is a sterling silver double strand of pearls featuring a large teardrop-shaped mother of pearl with aquamarine beads and blue topaz accents, donated by Lily and Co. Jewelers.

The second annual Edible Mollusk Festival and Oyster Eating Contest — sponsored by the Shell Museum, Timbers, Caloosa Tent and Lily & Co. — will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Timbers Restaurant and Fish Market is located at 703 Tarpon Bay Road on Sanibel. 

For further information or to register as a sponsor or oyster eater, call festival chairperson Clair Beckmann at 472-4524 — and if you’re going to sign up, keep this advice from Beckmann in mind: “Slurp fast, slurp furious and may the best slurper win.”

Frye retires from SFRD after 31 years

It took a little bit of coaxing for Don Frye to join the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District back in 1979, but the longtime community servant and assistant fire chief has finally decided to hang up his turnout gear.

On Monday, Frye was the guest of honor at a retirement party held at Sanibel Fire Station #1, which he has called his "home away from home" for the past 31 years and three months. 

"I moved here back in 1976, and I was looking to get involved with a community organization," recalled Frye. "I talked with Alan Nave, who was the fire chief at the time, and he talked me into joining. I was a volunteer firefighter for two years."

But when the local district offered him a full-time job, he initially turned down the opportunity.

"They asked me again to do it, and I finally said yes," he added with a laugh. "The only difference was I was going to get paid to do the work."

Monday's farewell celebration included a luncheon, a few tributes from both current and former co-workers, a handful of gifts plus the addition of Frye's own brick to be included at the station's "Walk Of Fame."

"We're going to miss Donny's knowledge of the island, and all of the alarm systems," said Fire Chief Danny Duncan. "He took a thankless job and wound up having people thank him. It seems like every year that he won Fireman of the Year."

Former chief Rich Dickerson also attended Frye's retirement party, offering, "I worked with Don for over 20 years. And he worked for five different fire chiefs... but it took Danny to get rid of him!"

In his 35 years living on Sanibel, Frye admits that he's seen a number of big changes.

"There are a lot more people here now," he said. "And we thought that it was busy during season 20 years ago, but it's nothing compared to what we have now."

Frye, whose retirement becomes effective March 31, is looking forward to spending more time with his wife and grandson. And doing a lot of fishing.

"Between all of the people at the fire department I know so well, and the condominium and business owners I've met over the years, I'm really gonna miss those relationships," said Frye, who noted that his decision to retire came shortly after the passing of a good friend and fellow islander, Dick Aldrich, late last year. 

"That made me stop and think," he added.

Frye's replacement as fire marshall is Rick Tassoni, who joined the district staff earlier this year.

"Everybody loves Don," said Duncan. "He really has been the face of our fire department." JEFF LYSIAK

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

CROW offering care to eagle shot in Lehigh

It will take some time to heal, but whether an American bald eagle, shot and wounded near Lehigh Acres earlier this month, will ever fly again in the skies above Southwest Florida remains in question.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking the public's assistance in finding whoever shot the mature eagle, while two conservation groups have offered a reward of $3,500 for information leading to an arrest.

According to the FWC, local residents first noticed the eagle on the ground on March 3, near the 3900 block of 20th Street SW in Lehigh Acres. At that time, it was not evident the bird had sustained gunshot wounds. The eagle remained on the ground until March 7, when a concerned citizen realized the bird was injured and took it to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel, where it is currently recovering.

"The eagle is in our (Intensive Care Unit) right now," Dr. Amber McNamara, clinic director at CROW, said on Tuesday afternoon. "We performed surgery on Day 3 (March 10). The patient is doing well at this point, and our ultimate goal remains release." 

FWC investigator Greg Stanley believes the bird was shot sometime earlier that week, in the general vicinity of where it was rescued. 

“The nearest known bald eagle nest is 3.8 miles from where the bird was rescued, and the injuries to the bird would have prevented it from traveling very far from where it was shot,” Stanley said.

The FWC is investigating the incident, and Stanley hopes someone will come forward with information. 

“This is a callous act that cannot be tolerated," he added. "The bald eagle has recently come off the federal endangered species list and Florida’s imperiled species list as the result of decades of hard work by conservationists and a supportive public."

The Wildlife Alert Reward Association is offering a $1,000 reward in this case, and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has added $2,500.

Intentionally harming a bald eagle is a misdemeanor, punishable under federal law by up to a $100,000 fine and/or up to one year in prison. Anyone with information about this incident should call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922 or report it online'> Those reporting violations may remain anonymous. JEFF LYSIAK

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SCCF presents program on currents and tides

Whether it is shelling, fishing, boating, birding or just enjoying the view of the water, tides and currents affect most of our lives daily.

A program entitled "Tides, Currents And The Florida Shelf" will be presented on Thursday, April 7 starting at 2 p.m. at the SCCF Nature Center, located at 3333 Sanibel Captiva Road.

If you have wondered why the islands sometimes have just one tide a day, this program may be of interest to you. If you have wondered why you can see sea grasses when the tide chart says it is high tide, you may be interested in this program.

If that isn’t enough, maybe this past April you began to hear an unfamiliar place – the Florida Shelf. Where is it and why it was our guardian angel during and after the BP disaster?

Stop by SCCF’s Nature Center on Thursday, April 7 at 2 p.m. for an introduction how water behaves as the earth spins, the moon revolves and the winds blow. SCCF members and children 17 and under are admitted free, while the program costs $5 for non-members. Special to the Reporter

For more information, call 472-2329 ext. 203 or visit

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sanibel Public Library praised 'spectacular' by best-selling author

One of America’s most celebrated literary figures, Joyce Carol Oates, has called the Sanibel Public Library “spectacular,” in her newest bestselling book.

The author appeared in 2008 at "An Evening with Joyce Carol Oates," the inaugural event of the annual Sanibel Public Library Author Series.

In her latest book, "A Widow’s Story: A Memoir," Oates writes:

"Sanibel Island, Florida. March 20, 2008.
Windy/sunny Sanibel Island on the Gulf Coast to which I have come as a guest of the Sanibel Island Public Library – surely the most spectacular of small-town American libraries!"

“Joyce Carol Oates discovered what so many of us already knew — our library is the best," said Linda Uhler, Library Board of Commissioners Chair. "We are grateful to her for being the first guest in what has become our very successful Author Series and for recognizing what a treasure the library is for the community."

Oates is the author of more than 50 novels, as well as short stories, poetry and non-fiction. She is the winner of the National Book Award and is a three-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize. In "A Widow’s Story: A Memoir," she describes her grief at losing her husband, Raymond Smith, after 47 years of marriage.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lions Pancake Breakfast returning April 2

The Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club will have their third annual Pancake Breakfast at the Sanibel Community House, located at 2173 Periwinkle Way. This event will be held on Saturday, April 2 from 8 a.m. to noon. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Lions’ summer camp scholarship fund for the handicapped.

The Sanibel Captiva Lions invite you to join in this special event. There will be pancakes, bacon, and your choice of beverage. The donation for adults is $5 and children under 5 are free. As usual, carry out is available for those who would like to enjoy breakfast on the go or take it home to enjoy a great treat with their families.

“The Lions Club has experienced enormous success with their events this year due to the overwhelming support of our great community,” said Tom Hoover, president of the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club. “We love having these events because they provide us with an opportunity to do something nice for them.”

The event is sponsored by Bailey’s General Store, Sun Harvest Citrus, Lily & Co. Jewelers, Island Pharmacy, Island Graphics, Barefoot Charley’s, Sanibel Air Conditioning and Sanctuary Island Electric, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank and Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

VIP Realty Group announces top agents in February

Last week, VIP Realty Group, Inc. announced that Lomano, Nicholson and Associates – which includes Jason Lomano, John Nicholson, Jim Artale, Keith McMenamy and Theresa Lomano – was recognized as top sales team in the month of February.

The real estate agency also announced:

• Lynda Traverso was recognized as top sales agent in February.

• The Mike McMurray and Trevor Nette Team was recognized as top producing team and top listing team in February.

• Robin Humphrey and Martha Smith were recognized as top listing agents for February.

• Debbie Ringdahl was recognized as top producing agent in February.

For additional information about VIP Realty Group, call 472-5187.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CROW's 'Wonders Of Wildlife' cruise engages passengers, spotlights dolphins

For people who truly enjoy the bounty of nature's beauty here in Southwest Florida, there may be no better way to view wildlife in a completely natural setting. Better still, being able to take a guided boat excursion to get a close-up look at marine creatures and critters commonly found along our coastlines, without disturbing their environment, would be a "win-win" for humans and animals alike.

Recently introduced by the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), a program called "Wonders Of Wildlife" — or simply "WOW" — offers nature enthusiasts a terrific opportunity to get a closer look at dolphins, manatees, osprey and other animals via chartered sea vessel.

Offered on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, the "WOW" program brings guests closer to animals then they would be when on the shore. However, as CROW volunteer Molly Burgess pointed out, the boats still are kept at a distance so that animals remain comfortable and safe in their marine habitats.

"The first time I went out to make my presentation, I kinda waited before talking about the animals you're gonna see on the cruise," said Burgess, who began volunteering at CROW in November. "But then I found out that the dolphins really steal the show."

"We like to tell our passengers that there's about a 90 percent chance of seeing dolphins during the cruise," said Capt. Jim Walker. "But the truth is that our chances are a little bit better than that."

According to Burgess, who hails from Chicago, Ill., she did quite a bit of research about the habitats and characteristics of dolphins before taking part in the "WOW" program.

"I like to share maybe two or three good facts about them, then I'll let the passengers kind of take the reins," added Burgess. "You don't want to bore people with too much information. You want to engage them."

Departing the Adventures in Paradise kiosk at Port Sanibel Marina at 3:30 p.m., the CROW-sponsored excursion slowly makes its way up the Intercoastal Waterway, passing forests of mangrove trees and channel markers, many of which are occupied by shorebirds perched at the top.

One of the first highlights of last Thursday's cruise, Burgess spotted an osprey nest — with a mother and her two chicks — situated on top of a Manatee Zone sign. She noted that osprey mating pairs stay together for life, and that they will usually stay in the same nest for long periods of time.

"The mother osprey will remain in the nest until the chicks are old enough to take care of themselves. Then, she leaves," said Burgess. "And sometimes, it takes the young ospreys a while to realize that mother's not coming back."

Along the way, Burgess spoke about the mission of the wildlife clinic, and the fact that they will treat all sorts of injured wildlife, from butterflies up to 145-pound sea turtles.

"We're pretty lucky to be able to care for more than 4,000 patients every year through nothing but donations," she said, adding that larger animals — including dolphins, manatees and larger sea turtles are transported to Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Fla. because they have the facilities to care for sizable sea creatures.

After reaching the open waters, the boat increased speed and found its way to the middle of San Carlos Bay, between Pine Island (to the west) and Cape Coral (to the northeast). There, passing vessels stirred a mild wake here and there, with one speedboat accompanied by a pod of playful, leaping dolphins.

"We'll see the same pod of dolphins sometimes, from Lighthouse Beach all the way up here," explained Capt. Walker. "You can identify them by the irregularities in their dorsal fins."

Burgess noted that dolphins, which have a territory of approximately five to eight miles, communicate with each other through a series of clicks and squeaks. They breathe through their blowholes, not through their mouths, and can swim at speeds up to 20 mph.

Upon finding several more pods of dolphins, passengers pointed, smiled, laughed and clicked away with their cameras. As one group would pass along the port side of the vessel, then disappear under the water, another pair would pop up right behind the boat.

The 90-minute program ended at a relaxing pace, with the sounds of the Beach Boys playing softly over the boat's speaker system, and Burgess answering several questions from the inquisitive crowd.

"I like to pop around, talk with everybody and see where they're from," added Burgess. "I'm definitely a people person, so I really enjoy talking with the kids and engaging conversation about wildlife. We want to make sure that everybody has a good time."

CROW's "Wonders Of Wildlife" excursion tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children (Kids 3 years and under are free). For each paying passenger aboard these guided trips, Adventures in Paradise will donate $1 back to CROW.

Please check CROW's website ( Calendar of Events for their "WOW" scheduled boat excursions.

To learn more about future wildlife presentations or to reserve a seat on an upcoming "WOW" outing, contact CROW by calling 472-3644 ext. 227 or call Adventures in Paradise at 472-8443.JEFF LYSIAK

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sanibel Home available for March 26th!!     Vip Vacation Rental - 1 800 237 7526                

This home is a gem. A one of a kind  - weekly rental on Sanibel. 

This 2 bedroom 2 bath plus den home has been completly remodeled, nicely decorated and is just a short walk to the beach. Fenced in back yard, heated screen in pool and located on the quiet east end. Don't let this one get away.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sanibel School hosts annual Seahorse Festival March 26

On Saturday, March 26, islanders and visitors are invited to come out to the

Sanibel School from 4 to 9 p.m. for the annual Seahorse Festival — and just

like festivals past, this year’s event promises to be fun for all ages.

“The 2011 Seahorse Festival will feature children's games, bounce houses, laster tag, face painting, a performance from the Sanibel School’s performing arts class and a wonderful silent auction with lots of fabulous items,” said Sanibel School Parent-Teacher Association President Milissa Sprecher. “We’ll also have all that good, carnival-style food that we always do, but this year we’re doing something a bit different in that the New Vinyls will be playing from 6:30 to 8:30 during the festival. It's the first time we've had live music and held our event in the evening hours. Our silent auction will once again be huge, with everything from services from island establishments to the incredible, themed baskets that each elementary grade puts together.”

And if you don’t think six-year-olds are capable of putting together an exciting prize package, consider this — not only is a team of dedicated parents helping each grade, but there is also a grade-wide pizza party on the line for the creators of the baskets that go to the highest bidder.

“Some of the items in the first-graders seahorse-themed baskets will include two original acrylic seahorse paintings from area artist Shelly Castle, a full-day boat rental from Jensen's Twin Palms Marina, gift certificates to the Lazy Flamingo and Gator Bites restaurants, hand-made seahorse themed

notecards, as well as other artwork,” said Jodi Willis, who helped coordinate the auction baskets for the Sanibel School first grade classes.

The first-graders’ baskets will also include gift certificates from Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa and Boutique, AMC movie theater and Holy Smoke

Heavenly BBQ.

And don’t forget the middle-schoolers — Sanibel School mom Gaither DeLuca formulated a unique idea for a series of items that will also be up for auction. 

“They’re dog poop compost bins,” Sprecher said, laughing at the straight-forwardness of the item’s title. “Gaither has gotten local artists to paint the tops of these garbage cans, which are buried in the ground so that it looks like a stepping stone in your garden, and you compost your dog poop in the can so that you can fertilize your plants.”

But even if you’re not in the market for a dog poop compost bin, Sprecher said there will be a wide variety of incredible items on the Seahorse Festival’s silent auction block — and of course, all the funds raised during the event will go back into the school.

“The money from this event buys things that the budget can’t cover, and goes towards things like sponsoring software subscriptions for the school,” Sprecher said. “Last year we were able to purchase a middle school laptop computer lab. The kids benefit so much from having this kind of equipment, and the Seahorse Festival is our most important event of the year in terms

of making up the slack in the district budget. The Seahorse Festival really is a showcase for the school, and it demonstrates why this money is so important to our students.”

The festival will run from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Sanibel School pavilion and ballfields, 3840 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel. Admission is $10 for children, who will receive a wristband to participate in festival activities, and free for adults.

The 2011 Sanibel School Seahorse Festival is open to the public and, according to Sprecher, “The more the merrier!”  JANE BRICKLEY

Sanibel-Captiva Lions host 28th annual Arts & Crafts Fair

Next weekend, more than 125 artisans from across the nation will assemble on the Sanibel Community House grounds for a two-day exhibition of fine painting and sculpture, photography, hand-crafted furniture, jewelry, wearable art and much more. 

“The Lions Arts & Crafts Fair is, of course, our largest fundraiser of the year, and all the charitable activities of the Sanibel-Captiva Lions depend on the success of the fair,” said Arts & Crafts Fair Chairman Bill Sadd, noting that many of the Lions charitable activities support and promote the organization’s core mission. 

“The Lions’ mission has been for many years to eliminate preventable blindness, and the vision screenings we’ve been doing since the fall of 2008 are directed at trying to accomplish just that,” said San-Cap Lions Screening Team member Tom Rothman. “Glaucoma, for example, is a very insidious disease — you may not know you even have it or recognize the symptoms. We test for peripheral vision loss and measure the intraocular pressure of the eye, and out of the couple hundred islanders screened, we’ve referred more than 30 percent for glaucoma.”

Approximately 15 percent of islanders screened by the San-Cap Lions team, Rothman noted, were referred to their physicians for further diabetes testing. 

“You don’t want to find problems with people — but if they do have problems, you want to find them early, especially in specially children, who sometimes go into school not realizing that they aren’t hearing or seeing things correctly. The earlier you find it, the easier it is to fix it,” Rothman said. “The Screening Team is made up of very dedicated people, and they’re so willing to get involved. It’s a way for us to pay back the island people that support us. This has been our love and our mission, and we want to help the islands in any way we can.”

But to do that, the Sanibel-Captiva Lions need a bit of help from the community. 

The San-Cap Lions Screening Team — made up of Rothman, Bruce Avery, jim Graham, Tom Krekel, Dr. Nilou Peters, Dr. Kurt Peters, Dr. Phil Marks, Susie Marks, Dick Travis, Bill Sartoris and George Veilette — were trained by pediatric ophthalmologist and Naples Lions Club President Dr. Howard Freedman, but had to began their screening program with a miniscule budget and equipment borrowed from other Southwest Florida Lions Clubs. 

But over the past two years, the Lions have managed to purchase — thanks to funds raised by events such as the Arts & Crafts Fair — two very sophisticated, and therefore expensive, screening instruments for permanent use on the islands. 

Although, just because the Sanibel-Captiva Lions’ monthly screenings at the focus on helping islanders young and old, that doesn’t mean the San-Cap Lions’ good charity stops at the end of the causeway. 

“We’re currently talking about ways in which we can expand the screening program,” Rothman said, “and we’re already doing some screenings off-island. We’ve gone down to Immokalee with other Lions clubs where we scan migrant workers and their families. We can screen between 300 and 400 people a day.”

The Sanibel-Captiva Lions Screening Program alternates free vision and hearing and diabetes screenings at the Sanibel Recreation Center every month, but the money the Lions raise next weekend will also go to support many other local charities, including FISH of Sanibel, Friends Who Care, college scholarships for local and disabled students, Brightest Horizons, the Florida Lions Foundation for the Blind and, of course, the Southeastern Guide Dogs, one of the San-Cap Lions biggest recipients. 

“This year, the Southeastern Guide Dogs will have a booth at the Arts & Crafts fair, and having representatives from this great organization at the fair will give the public a great opportunity to learn about their very important programs, particularly ‘Paws for Patriots,’ which provides guide dogs for wounded veterans, including those that are affected with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

And for just $4, the suggested donation for admission — good for both Friday and Saturday — fair-goers and art lovers can do their part in supporting the Lions’ mission and various causes. 

“We encourage everyone to come to the fair and have a good time, help great causes and learn about the Lions’ many charitable organizations,” Sadd said.

During the Arts & Crafts Fair, the Lions will also raffle off a beautiful necklace donated by Lily & Company Jewelers. Raffle tickets cost $2 per ticket or $5 for a three ticket pack. 

The San-Cap Lions 28th annual Arts & Crafts Fair is sponsored by Lily & Co. Jewelers, Doc Ford’s, Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings, Bailey’s General Store, LCEC, Veolia, Hillgate Communications, Island Graphics and Island Sun. 

The Sanibel Community House is located at 2173 Periwinkle Way.  JANE BRICKLEY
For more information about the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club, go 

First Snowy Plover nest of season found on Sanibel

Snowy Plover nesting season officially began on Feb. 15 and will continue until mid-August. Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) staff and volunteers work diligently to monitor these state-protected birds, finding and marking nests and monitoring the adults and chicks. 

There are high hopes for the 2011 nesting season. Last year, Sanibel hosted at least eight pairs of Snowy Plovers. Those pairs laid a total of 15 nests, nine of which hatched, producing 23 chicks. Out of those 23, only seven survived to fledge. These numbers are lower than they have been in recent years.

It is important for beachgoers to keep a few things in mind as they enjoy the beaches:

• Honor the leash law. An unleashed dog can kill an adult bird or chick or trample a nest.

• Respect marked nesting areas. Too much human disturbance can cause birds to abandon their nest. Always remain outside of the staked area.

• Avoid flying kites near nesting areas. Plovers view kites as predators. A kite flying overhead can cause a bird to abandon its nest.

• Never chase birds on the beach. Shorebirds use the beach to nest, rest and feed. Forcing them to fly interferes with all of these activities. 

• Fill in holes. Holes on the beach can trap chicks unable to fly. If trapped, chicks can die from predators or exposure.

In addition to the pressures from environmental conditions and people on the beach, Snowy Plovers are a popular subject of wildlife photographers. Anyone interested in photographing Plovers or any shorebirds should keep the following guidelines in mind.

Guidelines for photographing birds on the nest:

• Make a thorough check of the area for avian or mammalian predators nearby that may be attracted to human presence or scent.

• The photographer should remain behind the staked off area. No part of the body, camera or lens should go beyond the string.

• Photographing at the nest should not exceed one hour. After one hour, the photographer should leave the nest area and wait at least three hours before returning.

Guidelines for photographing birds away from the nest or birds with broods:

• Care should be taken not to “push” the birds around the beach. Birds need to be able to forage and rest without disturbance beyond the usual beach traffic. Snowy Plover chicks weigh only 6.5 grams when they hatch. They must constantly forage to gain an average of 1.5g per day to reach their target weight of 45g in only four weeks. Any time taken away from foraging is detrimental to their survival. The photographer should instead approach to a distance of no closer than 30 meters (100 feet) and wait for the birds to approach them for closer shots. 

It is very important that these guidelines be strictly followed to ensure the safety and success of the plover nests and chicks. This is the only way to ensure the enjoyment of beautiful photographs as well as the survival of this species for years to come. As threatened species in the State of Florida, any disturbance of nesting or preventable harassment to chicks or adults can lead to prosecution of a misdemeanor crime.  Submitted by AMANDA BRYANT and JOEL CAOUETTE, SCCF Biologists