Marco Island club has one shell of a sale

— Let me help. Let me help.

While walking the beach this week I heard a small voice emanating from my favorite marine creature. I moved closer to Miss Shirley Sand Dollar and, indeed, she expressed her desire to attend the Marco Island Shell Club Shell Craft sales and make the holiday happier for her human friends.

There was a similar spoken concern when I walked the banks of freshwater rivers last week in the central part of the United States. From near the surface of a lazy river I recognized Mr. Garrett Gar fish. He also has been looking forward to the holidays and wants to contribute to this big event!

The animals are informed. Are you?

My animal friend, Miss Sand Dollar along with her fish and dollar friends have been very instrumental in this event, which raises money for scholarships for area marine biology students.

The fish scales, painted red and green, are glued neatly together to make a splendid poinsettia. Mounted on a brilliantly white sand dollar they become a beautiful holiday ornament.

Items, such as ornaments, jewelry, and other beautiful holiday gifts have been made by the eager and talented members.

All of these delightful items for the holidays will be available at Marco Island Shell Club workshops where they are made! The sale is located at The United Church of Marco, 320 N. Barfield St in Disseler Hall from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20.

Seining in Tigertail Beach Lagoon

On a clear bright Wednesday morning, eleven members of the Marco Island Shell Club met at Tigertail Beach to explore. They were not distracted by the beautiful beach or sky but set out to discover what was in the clear waters of the lagoon.

Using a seine net borrowed from Bryan Fleuch, Collier County Sea Grant Extension Agent, they made five passes in the shallow end of the lagoon. Each pass of the seine net revealed the variety of sea life that lives in the lagoon. The contents of each pass was transferred to large water-filled bins and then sorted into smaller bins by species.

Most numerous were the tiny silverside and bay anchovies along with mojarra and killifish. These are the target of the many herons and egrets that were fishing the incoming tide beside the MISC group.

With the assistance of club members Linda Detzel and Paulette Carabelli, both Florida Master Naturalists and Marge Tunnell, retired biology teacher, more critters were identified. Two species of shrimp, grass shrimp and pink shrimp were viewed in small containers with magnifying lenses. Most of the group had never seen a pipefish, a long slender relative of the seahorse. Also identified was a juvenile orange filefish and a lizardfish. The largest fish caught, a 5 inch pinfish, was probably caught up in the net while feeding on the smaller fish in the lagoon.

Linda, Paulette and Marge then took some time to explain to the group the value of the lagoon and surrounding estuary as a fish nursery. Scientific work done, the group then took the time to enjoy the beauty of the rest of the beach on the way back to their cars.

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