My sons, 15 and 13 are spending two weeks in sailing school at Captiva Island Yacht Club. I cannot say enough good things about this program. It is open to the public and there are several sessions throughout the summer. Our boys are in the beginner session. The kids are there from 8:30-4:00 for ten days. The program has small class sizes, is very well organized, and Lauren, the director of the program stays in close touch- sending photos and emails to let us know how the boys are doing. When the wind dies, they kayak. When it rains, there are classroom activities and instruction. I believe there are even some scholarships available for kids! The photos here were sent to me by Lauren- thank you for helping our boys develop skills they will carry with them for a lifetime!
Things To Do
If you love natural and wild Florida make that connection, no matter where you are in the world, through the photography and thoughts of Mark Renz
-Mark Renzfossilx@earthlink.net fossilexpeditions.com (239)368-3252
Took a stroll with “Green Deane” in Port Charlotte a few weekends ago. Spent a few hours walking through Bayshore Live Oak Park and the surrounding neighborhood, checking out what Florida natives and non-natives were growing- identifying edibles and non edibles. For anyone interested in gardening with edibles and/or foraging, I highly recommend Deane’s classes, blog “Eat The Weeds” and videos.
I usually approach life from a positive perspective, but because I have chewed on my fair share of ‘unknown’ plants, main thing I learned from my first foraging class with Green Deane is- DON’T field test plants-EVER! Verify, verify, verify what you are sticking in your mouth. There are a multitude of plants out there with edible and/or medicinal properties. There are others that can kill you or make you very, very sick. Some plants make you sick right away, others take days or weeks to make you ill. Others have a cumulative effect. There are plants that are perfectly edible when cooked, but make you sick if eaten raw; and others that have both poisonous and edible parts. Some fruits are edible when ripe, but make you sick when eaten before they are ripe. Not all plants in the same genus or family are edible- There are some edible Jasmines, but make sure you know which ones! All of this aside- I am astonished at how many ‘weeds’ growing in my backyard are edible or usable in some fashion. I recommend Green Deane’s Eat The Weeds as one reliable resource for learning about the many native and non-native edibles growing in your area. Had a great time participating in this class, and I see myself signing up for more classes in the future!
Thanks Milissa for letting me grab one of your beautiful family photographs! Just so you know, if you come to Sanibel and want a great family or wedding photograph, Milissa Spreacher Photography is based on Sanibel/Captiva and she is so creative- great with kids and groups! I will be making an appointment with her in the near future for my own silly family!
Jacob (my 15yr old) grabbed my phone and did take a couple of very nice photos-
Had fun out on Tarpon Bay today. Put in at Tarpon Bay Explorers and paddled Commodore Creek. It’s an easy trail for the kids; with loads to see and learn.
I first heard of Mark Renz through a fellow rock hound, who invited me to hear him speak at a Rotary Club meeting in Ft. Myers. Having recently moved to the area, my sons were enjoying their holiday break from school, and were not enthusiastic about spending their time at a lecture. Mark’s passion and enthusiasm for paleontology, nature and life, shined through his every word. The boys wanted to learn more about fossils in the area, so we decided to take a guided trip with Mark on the Peace River, in search of fossils.
I cannot say enough how much we enjoyed our time with Mark. His conversational approach to teaching allowed the boys to have fun while learning, and wow, we learned a lot! Not only did we learn how to search for fossils and identify our finds, but Mark painted a picture for us about what the area might have looked like over the past few million years, and how the animals whose bones we held, might have ended up where we found them. Our day was also filled with laughter- Mark is a funny guy! Darwin, one of his cattle dogs also came along for the ride. He was calmly reserved, well-trained and mannered fellow.
Spending several hours on a dig was great for the grown-ups, but when the boy’s attentions waned, Mark gently guided them to explore the area in ways that kept them safe and engaged. He is one of those gifted and rare people who truly seems to enjoy sharing his considerable knowledge and ideas. I asked the boys to help me think of words to describe Mark- here is some of what we came up with- Smart, funny, tall, inspired, adventurous, kind.
Unfortunately, my little camera took a dip in the Peace River on this trip, so not too much to share in the way of photos, the few here are from our iphones..
Thank you Mark for sharing with us your passion and knowledge and for inspiring us to see and do and learn! You can reach Mark and Marisa Renz through their web site Fossil Expeditions
Here are some of our finds-