Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Marco Island Shell Club Shows Beauty from the Beaches

The three day show saw about 2,000 visitors enjoy the exhibits and crafts.

The three day show saw about 2,000 visitors enjoy the exhibits and crafts.

By Steve Gimmestad

steve@coastalbreezenews.com

Once again, the work of the Marco Island Shell Club was put on display March 12-14 for all to experience. And what a show it was. For 35 years, the MI Shell Club has been on a mission; to promote the study, conservation, history, and science of seashells and mollusks, and to encourage shell-related interests, such as shell collecting, crafting and shell art. The Shell Show saw about 2,000 visitors come through the doors at the United Church of Marco, which also serves as headquarters for their workshops and other endeavors. Greeters gave a quick overview to visitors as they entered the show. There was a lot happening and Shell Club members were readily available to answer questions as people toured the aisles. Entries for the Artistic Category were
judged by Phyllis Gray and Bill Jordan, while the Scientific judges were Dr. Jose Leal and Dr. Gary Schmelz. There were 13 scientific categories and 11 for artistic. A full listing of awards and honors are available at the Shell Club website (shown below). In addition to the exhibits and awards, the variety of crafts, jewelry, decorations and collectibles was astounding. Money raised at the show goes toward providing scholarships and grants to various schools and organizations in the area including Florida Gulf State University, University of Southern Florida, Rookery Bay and others. Last year, the Shell Club donated $15,000 to these organizations. Jae Kellog was the Chair for this year’s show. “My favorite part is the people,” she said of the Show and the Club. “We have 170 members now and growing. If you are looking to be part of something fun, it’s us!” “I am amazed,” said Gail Johnson visiting from Galena, Illinois. “I find shells on the beach all the time and think they are so cute. I had no idea you could do such incredible things with them. Guess I’ll have to stop just walking on them and start noticing them a lot more now.” While the Shell Show is a major event for the club, they put on numerous workshops, seminars, excursions and other events for the public all year long. All that glitters does not have to be gold. In the hands of the right person, it can be the tiniest of shells turned into works of art or discovery. What started 35 years ago by a couple people with a common interest meeting in a garage, has become a very productive and integrated part of an extended community that produces both artistic and scientific benefits for everyone. Visit the Shell Club website for more information on their activities and how you can be involved – marcoshellclub.com

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