Hurricane Ian Update
The City of Sanibel has provided the following information regarding the immediate availability of volunteers:
If you have resources such as boats, equipment, services, skills, etc., and would like to volunteer, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following information:
- Resource available
- Phone number
- Email address
Help the residents and businesses on the islands.
F.I.S.H. of Sanibel Captiva has been helping island neighbors in need for the last 40 years, and is ready to play that role again now. The best way to help right now is by donating to F.I.S.H. online. You can do so by clicking here. Please DO NOT send mail to FISH of Sanibel Captiva. Online donations are the only method at this time.
United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades and the Southwest Florida Community Foundation (DBA Collaboratory) have started a disaster relief fund in the wake of Hurricane Ian. 100% of the SWFL Emergency Relief Fund will support local nonprofits and areas experiencing the most immediate needs. If you would like to make a donation, please click here.
We have gathered a list of resources for residents of Southwest Florida to help in the recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian. Click here to view our resource page.
The article below was written before Hurricane Ian
9 Ways To Get Involved with the Community
Many of the people we welcome to Sanibel and Captiva Island’s are eager to learn more about the island and get involved in the community. We think that’s awesome! It’s one of the reasons our islands are such a special place to live and visit.
If you are interested in volunteering on Sanibel or Captiva, here’s a list of a few organizations to get you started. I have to mention that this is not an exclusive list by any means, but a great place to get you started!
Volunteering on Sanibel and Captiva Islands
The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) is one acronym I’m sure you’ve seen on the island. This environmental organization is dedicated to preserving our island’s unique and precious habitats and resources. You can get involved by joining one of SCCF’s numerous programs, including the Native Plant Walks, the Butterfly House, and a new program titled, “Making the Land Work.” For those of you with green-thumbs, volunteering at the SCCF Native Landscapes and Garden Center is right up your alley!
For more information, visit the SCCF website, or call 239-472-2329 and ask about volunteer opportunities!
SCCF Garden Center Volunteer Hard At Work – Photo courtesy of David Staver, Santiva Chronicle
National Shell Museum
Like Seashells? Of course you do, that’s why you love our beaches!
You can extend your love for shells by volunteering at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Volunteer opportunities include, exhibit docent, education docent, store docent and even an opportunity for students grades 6-12 to be junior exhibit docents! But that’s not all, the Shell Museum just started an exciting program called “Shell Ambassadors,” where you get to hit the beaches with your “Shell Ambassador” t-shirt, chat with beach-goers and answer any shelling questions they might have.
For more information on any of the volunteer opportunities above, visit the National Shell Museum website or email Stefanie Wolf at email@example.com.
Shell Ambassador Chatting With Beach Goers – Photo courtesy of Melanie Moraga, Shell Museum
“CROW” stands for the Center for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife. Have you ever visited their animal hospital on San Cap road? Located just before the Sanibel School, CROW is the island’s home for wildlife rehabilitation, research and education. Feeding wildlife, cleaning cages, going on rescues, and attending releases, volunteering on Sanibel couldn’t get much better than that! I’ve visited CROW and called them for wildlife advice quite a few times! In fact, Tiffany from our office recounts a funny story of our gopher tortoise rescue in the blog post, “Not Your Average Monday Morning.”
F.I.S.H. of SanCap
“Neighbors helping neighbors” is the focus of F.I.S.H., one of the island’s fantastic non-profit organizations providing a helping hand to those living, working or visiting Sanibel and Captiva Island. Through the F.I.S.H. food programs, workshops and services, the organization has a number of ways to volunteer. Volunteers not only help at the F.I.S.H. Walk-In Center, but can also get involved in services and programs offered throughout the community. If you’re a “people person,” like me, you’ll enjoy these personal experiences and the chance to lend a helping hand.
Visit the F.I.S.H of SanCap website for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
F.I.S.H Volunteers Checking In – Photo courtesy of F.I.S.H of SanCap
Sanibel and Captiva’s center for the arts, BIG ARTS and Herb Strauss Theater, have been providing cultural enrichment on the islands for years and years and offer great ways to get involved in the community. Besides hosting a plethora of performances and visual arts events, BIG ARTS also participates in community educational classes and workshops, including painting, music, jewelry-making and more! Volunteers of BIG ARTS help make the experience one to remember. Help is needed for performances, as well as everyday office management and helping with workshop registration. My kids enjoy participating and performing at BIG ARTS, and none of it would be possible without the help of volunteers like you and me!
For more information, visit the BIG ARTS website or call 239-395-0900.
Historical Museum and Village
The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is perfect for my history buffs out there! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a native of the islands to volunteer at the Historical Village. In fact, they have a great training program for Winter Docent’s where you’ll learn A TON of information about the island’s history.
Here’s a link to the Docent Handbook to scroll through and see what it’s all about. You can read more about the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village in our blog post here.
Okay, everyone on Sanibel has visited the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It’s one of my family’s favorite places to bike and bird watch. The refuge is apart of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and has a number of ways to get involved, such as volunteering at the front desk and visitor center, participating in environmental educational programs, performing maintenance around the refuge, or joining the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society.
For a complete list of volunteer opportunities, visit Ding Darling’s website, or call 239-472-1100.
Sanibel Sea School
You’ve seen kids in their snazzy Sea School t-shirts riding up and down the bike paths on Periwinkle Way! The Sanibel Sea School is a popular organization that puts on a number of camps and classes for both kids and adults throughout the year. If you enjoy the water and marine life, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer with the Sanibel Sea School. For instance, the “Clear Your Gear” program is a volunteer opportunity to teach the public about the harm and injuries caused by fishing gear, and how we can help prevent these tragedies from happening.
Visit the Sanibel Sea School website here for more information on this wonderful island organization.
Sanibel Sea School Volunteer In The “Clear Your Gear Program” – Photo courtesy of Sanibel Sea School
Sanibel Churches and Non-Profits
Last, but certainly not least, there are a number of Churches and other non-profit organizations on the island that thrive on the work of their volunteers. Some of the island’s churches include the Sanibel Community Church, the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, St. Isabel Catholic Church, Saint Micheal & All Angels Episcopal Church, and the Captiva Chapel by the Sea. Getting involved in a parish here on Sanibel and Captiva is one of the best ways to meet other island residents and welcome visitors to our wonderful community.
So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of these ways to get involved in the community and enjoy yourself while volunteering on Sanibel and Captiva Islands!