The facilities planned for the Island, Kinzie Cove and the Shell Point will be contained in various locations in the Big Shell harbor area and referred to as "The Harbourage". The facilities for Big Shell Island will first be discussed.
We must be aware of from where we came; therefore, we will provide first a living open museum. Next, we need to show where we are going, thus we are detailing this path of positive good for the community. The facilities will be contained in a future modular administration building with 24 hour security accommodation, director's quarters, an indoor museum and a harbor master's office. Friends of the "Harbourage" will be welcome at any and all times.
In Phase 1, the "Education" syllabus will make use of an operational oyster restoration area under our docks, a plant life study area, a nature walk between docks, environmentally safe boat moorings and environmentally safe dock slips, where friends can stay-aboard at the harborage where they will be enlightened, given direction and motivation to guide them through our modern and sometimes hectic society. They might wish to seek reflection with their group as what one should truly value. This may involve the "Harbourage" Club meeting, seminars and discussion groups at the Iona Gallery classroom, until a future open pavilion is available, and hands-on environmnetal related experiments are in place. A small group of decicated disabled Iraq war vets, some without limbs, are working with us to make our island wheel chair accesible and are also presently designing and building a 36' boat to take groups of disabled vets and others to and from the island for day/or over night stays. They and their families are also helping us to set up environmental experiments and displays. If you would like more information on these great vets who are still giving, or wish to help, contact them on the web under 'From the Brink', through your state Rep.or at Big Shell Island 239-357-7098.
Other visitors we need to support are younger students (ages 12 - 17) whose stays may be for a short periods because of their attention span. This groups has to be more directed and under tighter supervision, however their needs are usually less demanding, thus we will use a combination of day camping and/or stay-aboard accommodations. Their studies will be done with the help of a visiting support group (Ostego Bay Foundation) who may supply additional components on your docked vessels as well as counselors and instruction materials. Check with them at www.ostegobay.org for a complete itinerary on summer camp. The children will love it and they will get a head start at school in the fall. A donation of time and/or money would be a great gift to show appreciation for the fine work they are doing.
Facilities to support our adult and college student groups whose typical stay will not exceed ten days and can be as little as few hours, must be provided. Rather than accommodate these adult students in elaborate facilites, they may use stay-aboard on state approved mooring facilities, on their own or the harbourage water crafts. All components needed to service this experience will be provided and properly regulated to insure that every phase of the operation run smoothly and meet community standards. A typical short term visit might be an evening kayak stop over with a rest and cook-out camping area for the Calusa Blueway. The camping area will have a grounded lightning-rain shelter and a basic portable comfort facilities sponsored by the Calusa Cove RV Park, Ft. Myers,Fl. www.calusa-cove-rv-park.com
In addition, we will offer "self-directed" programs for disabled persons, family groups and persons with specific interests who will be assisted by our counselors in selecting a program for their specific needs. In the future, many of our programs may offer continuing education, high school and in some cases college credits.