To create and implement local conservation initiatives that promote and improve the future of marine resources, and our coastal heritage.
About Coastal Keepers
Coastal Keepers is a group of Sanibel and Captiva community members who cherish the ocean, appreciate the rich history of our region, and are determined to conserve our oceans and estuaries for future generations. The members of Coastal Keepers work actively in our local community to promote healthier and more sustainable ways of interacting with our coastal environment. Our goal is to make people aware of the impacts that humans have on the beaches, water quality, and marine habitats of our region, and to help them become more effective stewards of the ocean.
Coastal Keepers carries out locally-based conservation initiatives and programs to promote marine conservation. We recognize that marine conservation is a global need, but we focus our efforts locally. We support organizations at state and national levels, but our emphasis is to execute projects that enhance our immediate community and environment. Our hope is that, by setting a strong, effective example, our actions will motivate others to engage in conservation in their own hometowns.
The current members of Coastal Keepers have been deeply involved in carrying out local conservation initiatives for many years.
Coastal Classroom: We created and maintained an internet-based learning portal to help elementary and middle school kids better understand and appreciate the ocean. It was created by our staff in partnership with the Lee County School District to follow the Sunshine Standards of Florida education. It has been used by thousands of teachers and students to enhance their knowledge of the ocean that surrounds them and has been utilized throughout the State of Florida and beyond.
Seafood Savvy: We created a partnership with local restaurants and stores to help them serve more sustainable seafood in their businesses. It was done in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, and was adopted in Ft. Myers Beach and in other regions of Florida. Although no longer an active program on Sanibel, it is still an active program in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
Monofilament recycling: We first made, installed and maintained monofilament recycling bins on the Causeway Islands in partnership with Lee County Parks and Recreation about 5 years ago. Since that time, a separate group, Clear Your Gear, has branched out to take over our island monofilament recycling. We helped fund their initial financial needs and they are now the independent group responsible for monofilament recycling on our islands.
Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB): We began to try to reduce the number of plastic bags we consume in our community – many of them inadvertently end up in the waters. We petitioned the City of Sanibel to pass ordinances prohibiting plastic bags, only to discover the State of Florida prohibits those local ordinances. So, we launched BYOB to give away re-usable bags to shoppers to help them become accustom to using high quality bags, rather than single-use ones. BYOB is an active initiative, and to date, we have given away approximately 15,000 bags! They have gone to all parts of the country, and we see them more and more in our community. Keep your eyes peeled for our canvas bags!
Strawless on Sanibel: We noticed (and were told) that there were too many straws on the beaches of Sanibel. Strawless on Sanibel is a partnership with local restaurants to reduce the use of straws on our island, and to use more environmentally sustainable straws for those customers who would prefer to have them.