Home' Island Sun : ISN 012216 Contents ISLAND SUN - JANUARY 22, 2016
On Shelling 101
by Jeff Lysiak
Last week, the second lecture of
the 2016 Speaker Series hosted
by the Clinic for the Rehabilitation
of Wildlife, Shelling 101, was held at
CROW's Visitor Education Center and
featured Rebecca Mensch, marine biolo-
gist at the Bailey-Matthews National
During her 60-minute presentation,
Mensch discussed all aspects related to
the hobby of shelling -- from laws related
to collecting shells to some of the tools
needed and methods of cleaning those
beach finds -- and responded to questions
about shelling from the audience.
According to Florida Department of
Environmental Protection Rule 46-26,
the collection of "any shell containing a
live organism" is strictly prohibited. In
addition to mollusks, the prohibition also
extends to sand dollars, sea stars, hermit
crabs and urchins. The now statewide law
originated on Sanibel, enacted January
1, 1995, and adopted by Lee County
in 2002. It includes all beaches and
near-shore waters up to a half-mile from
Locally, Mensch pointed out that there
is no shelling -- or taking of any natural
material -- allowed anywhere within the
JN "Ding" Darling National Wildlife
Refuge. Penalties for a first offense is up
to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.
"Some people have said that 60 days
in jail on Sanibel sounds like a nice little
vacation," she told the crowd. "But you're
probably not going to be staying on the
island; you're probably going to spend it
in the county jail."
Regarding how to tell if a "shell" is
alive, Mensch mentioned that bivalves
would still have both halves connected,
the operculum or live animal would be
visible in gastropods, a sand dollar would
appear "fuzzy," a hermit crab's feet
would be exposed and echinoderm's
tube feet (seen underneath a sea star, for
example) would be soft.
Mensch also talked about the best
times for shelling. While most people
assume that the prime time to shell
comes first thing in the morning, that
isn't always the case.
"Here on Sanibel, which is known as
a destination for shelling, the morning
might be the best time because you might
be the first person to spot those shells,"
she explained. Mensch went on to men-
tion that looking at a tide chart would be
very helpful. Of the two low tides which
occur daily, the best time for shelling
would be during the period of the lower
Shelling tools which would be helpful
• Scoops and nets
• Footwear (water shoes or old
• Mask and snorkel
• Polarized sunglasses
• Bags and/or containers (to carry
Another topic Mensch discussed is
where on the islands the shelling is best.
Since Sanibel and Captiva are shaped
"like a boomerang," people will encounter
different types of shells depending upon
Marine biologist Rebecca Mensch of the
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
gave a presentation on shelling at CROW's
Visitor Education Center on January 12
photos by Jeff Lysiak
Rebecca Mensch, left, is introduced by Rachel Rainbolt, education coordinator at CROW
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road (one mile west of Tarpon Bay Road)
Nature Center: Open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Garden Center: Open Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
SCCF: (239) 472-2329 Garden Center: 472-1932
Explore Our Nature Center, Trails and Observation Tower
Butterfly House -- Guided tour Tuesdays 10 a.m.; also self-guided.
Nature Center -- live turtles, snakes, videos, 4 miles of walking trails
with an observation tower. $5 adults
Guided Trail Walks -- Tues-Fri, 11 a.m. 4 miles of trails to explore $5 adults
The Shipley Trail -- Located on the Bailey Homestead Preserve, it
connects the City of Sanibel's Pond Apple Park Trail (beginning at the
Chamber) to Roadside City Park on Periwinkle. Please note that the Bailey
Homestead is still undergoing site work and will open to the public soon.
Come explore our natural world
SCCF's Native Landscapes & Garden Center
Come visit our Native Landscapes & Garden Center at their new loca-
tion at the Bailey Homestead Preserve, 1300 Periwinkle Way. The larg-
er space now offers demonstration gardens of different island habitats.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Sat.
The old Nursery at the Nature Center is closed.
Weeds, Seeds & Birds--- January 25
Find and identify native plants on Sanibel while also enjoying a variety
of birds. Meet at the Nature Center porch and carpool to an SCCF pre-
serve. Walks last for two hours. You may need parking money. Bring a
hat, water, sun-block and comfortable enclosed shoes with socks.
Monday, January 25 at 9 a.m., meet on the Nature Center porch. Free.
24th Annual SCCF Tennis Tournament --- Jan. 30-31
To register please call The Dunes at 472-3522
Lighthouse Beach, Bay and Birds --- January 27
Meet your SCCF guide beachside at the covered picnic pavilion at Light-
house Park. Take a walk beach-to-bay, keeping your eyes open for rest-
ing, nesting and migratory birdds. Learn about SCCF's Marine Lab and
water quality research protecting the estuary. Wednesday, January 27
and 27 at 8 a.m. Program is free to all but you must pay to park.
Turtle Tracks --- January 28
Sanibel Island had one of the first sea turtle monitoring
programs in the country. Learn about the life cycles and habits of
the sea turtles and shorebirds that nest on our beaches, SCCF's
monitoring activities, and what we are doing to protect them.
Thursday, January 28 at 10 a.m. $5 adults.
Cortada on his Art --- January 29
Miami-based artist Xavier Cortada was commissioned to create four
original pieces of art for SCCF depicting wildlife dependent upon the
Caloosahatchee, the estuary and the Gulf. Xavier will be talking about
the inspirations that fuel his prolific work. Come listen to and meet
Xavier at SCCF's Nature Center. You can learn more about his work at
www.cortada.com. Friday, January 29 at 1 p.m. Free.
Two Field Trips Coming up in February
· Watershed Adventure at the Babcock Ranch --- February 4 ($40)
· Inyoni Organic Farms --- February 12 ($65)
Reservations in advance required for both trips. 472-2329
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