By Dave Cain
If you’re going to build something out of sand, you might as well build something big, like the biggest fish in the sea. That is what happened at the Sanibel Sea School last summer.
We went looking for inspiring stories for the Splash and Bubbles interstitial segments Get Your Feet Wet, and some of our most inspiring moments came from Sanibel Sea School in Sanibel, Florida. During the week we spent with the Sanibel instructors, they found many ways to help people connect with the ocean. They worked with island locals to hand out reusable bags at the local grocery store to help reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in the ocean. They worked with underserved kids from a nearby community who rarely visit the ocean, and helped these kids explore the tidal flats and seagrass beds. Imagine the thrill of finding a baby seahorse for the first time! The Sanibel crew worked with troubled teenage girls from a juvenile detention program, and surrounded them with positivity. We sat in a circle with these girls as the sea school director, ‘Doc’ Bruce told them “We only have one rule here. Be kind. That means be kind to nature. Be kind to others. And most importantly, be kind to yourself.”
Every day we spent in Sanibel was different and amazing and our week culminated with an unbelievable sand sculpture, a life-sized whale shark. Whale sharks grow bigger than a school bus, and Sanibel Sea School gathered a group of local families to build one on the beach. This required shovels and rakes to mound the sand, dried brown seaweed for the skin, buckets full of clam shells for the white spots, and a whole host of people working together to build something bigger than themselves. It only took a morning to build it, but the experience will last a lifetime. Thank you Sanibel Sea School for reminding us to slow down and take a little time to get our feet wet.
Dave Cain is a writer and producer for Get Your Feet Wet, the live-action segments that accompany the Splash and Bubbles series on PBS Kids! Dave specializes in science/educational programming, animation and comedy. He has written and produced for Wired.com, DC Comics, Lego, Sprout, Kings College London and Sisbro Studios. He lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend Laura and his glamorous cat Martha.