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Times of the Islands Magazine

Sanibel’s Nonprofit Gift Shops Benefit Island’s Natural Resources

Aug 28, 2017 11:52AM ● By Kevin
From clothing to outdoor equipment, Sanibel’s boutiques and stores offer a variety of beautiful, high-quality items. But the most meaningful shopping experiences can be had at the array of gift shops that support the island’s non-profit organizations, with proceeds supporting many important causes such as natural resources, public outreach and wildlife.

At the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, for example, the focus is on items reflecting island history. The village gift shop will feature handmade seagrass baskets by artist Gisela Damandi, honey from descendants of the late Francis Bailey’s bees, related books and wood toys. There are also reproductions of Calusa artifacts, including painted masks and figurines of Key Marco Cat, a half-human/half-panther thought originally to have been carved from buttonwood.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Native Landscape and Garden Center is stocked with gardening accessories and seeds, teas, jellies and jams made from native ingredients such as elderberries. Yaupon Holly tea, brewed by Florida’s inhabitants for thousands of years, is naturally caffeinated and rich in antioxidants. Mangrove bee honey and nesting boxes built by SCCF volunteers are popular.

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) Visitor Education Center gift shop offers wildlife themed jewelry and artwork, home décor made from natural materials, holiday ornaments, CROW logo clothing and hats, plush toys for children. Proceeds support the nonprofit’s mission to save injured wildlife through veterinary care, research, education/public outreach and conservation medicine. The wildlife hospital each year treats more than 3,500 patients.

Sanibel Sea School’s mission is to improve the ocean’s future. Proceeds from the organization’s retail shop, Ocean Tribe Outfitters, support that cause. Available are stand-up paddleboards made in Florida, rash guards, water shoes, Turkish towels, reusable water bottles, logo clothing, nets and buckets, books and ocean-themed accessories.

The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge gift shop, which is run by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society, offers products that benefit both the refuge and those in need. Highlights include military ties, which are reusable water bottle handles made from paracord by American military veterans, Jabebo earrings made from recycled cereal boxes, and Sugarpost metal art, crafted using recycled “junk” sourced from around the world. The store’s spotlight is on environmentally friendly items, so chic reusable shopping bags, reusable water bottles and handmade soaps are also available for purchase.

So the next time you are shopping for yourself or others on Sanibel, consider purchasing from these organizations that are working hard to preserve the island’s history and natural beauty. You will be surprised by the variety and quality of what is available. There is truly something for everyone, whether you are a resident or a visitor, and there is no better opportunity to take home something very nice while simultaneously supporting a cause that is important to you and your neighbors. 

Written by Leah Biery, communications director for the Sanibel Sea School and a frequent contributor to TOTI Media.

At a Glance

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, Sanibel


Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Native Landscape and Garden Center


Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW), Sanibel


Sanibel Sea School, Ocean Tribe Outfitters, Sanibel


J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel


Also Visit

The Bailey-Matthew’s National Shell Museum gift shop, where every shell sold is responsibly sourced. 239-395-2233,

Did you know? offers ways to support your favorite island nonprofits when you shop online.  Amazon Smile will donate a portion of profits from each purchase made to your favorite organization at no extra cost, and some organizations (including CROW) have set up Wish Lists of desperately needed items, which you can add to any order and ship directly to them. Visit to learn more.