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Young visitors find Sea School's painted coconut on the beach

May 16, 2014
By MCKENZIE CASSIDY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Hamel family were strolling the beach of Sanibel Island when they found what appeared to be a balloon on the beach.

Jenna, 7, and Amelia, 4, of Simbsbury, Connecticut, came across a painted coconut from the Sanibel Sea School that had washed ashore.

Hundreds of coconuts had been painted by students from the Gladiolus Learning and Development Center in Fort Myers and sold during the school's annual "Octifest on the Beach." The event, on April 12, raised funds for scholarship programs to allow any child to attend the Sanibel Sea School.

Article Photos

Jenna and Amelia Hamel with the painted coconut they found. PHOTO PROVIDED.

Coconuts were sold for $50 each and released offshore to also aid the school in conducting active research. They also track each coconut landing online and the very first coconut to surface, number 187, was found on Vanderbilt Beach in Naples, Florida.

"They were very excited about this fun find," said their mother Lisa Hamel. "They called the school, asked many questions, and even earned $1 for reporting the location of this awesome discovery."

For more information about the Sanibel Sea School, visit The painted coconuts can be tracked by visiting and choosing the "Coconut Landings" tab.



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