RED, BLUE, GREEN: An Introduction to Water Quality in Southwest Florida is a new exhibition open January 15 – June 12, 2022 at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel. Produced in partnership with Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and The News-Press and Naples Daily News, RED, BLUE, GREEN serves a visual introduction to the dynamics of water quality in the region, from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades to the Gulf of Mexico.


Through compelling photographs, maps, timelines, and other formats, the exhibition illustrates phenomena such as red tide and blue-green algae, the legacy of managing water flow in the region, and impacts of both good and poor water quality to ecosystems, wildlife, and the economy. Many of the photographs featured were taken by award-winning photographer Andrew West, who for over 20 years has documented changes in Southwest Florida’s ecosystems and the issues related to them. RED, BLUE, GREEN also spotlights work by local organizations to improve water quality and build awareness of these critical issues for Southwest Florida, and includes a children’s activity table with art projects related to the exhibition.


“Water is among the both most universally beloved attributes and vexing challenges for our region, and with so much good work and local expertise on water quality, this is an opportunity to introduce these often-complex issues to a broader audience, many of whom are new visitors to the area,” said Sam Ankerson, Executive Director of the National Shell Museum.


Added James Evans, CEO of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, “SCCF and other organizations have worked for decades to study and advocate for water quality and to protect and restore ecosystems throughout South Florida. This exhibition provides a new platform to educate and raise public awareness on these issues for the health of our region’s future.”


A related public program on Wednesday, April 6 at the National Shell Museum is a conversation with The News-Press and Naples Daily News photographer Andrew West, “Paradise Considered: Photographs of Nature and Change in Southwest Florida.” Information and registration is at


The exhibition is made possible by a gift from Joe and Jo Anne Orndorff. Additional support is from the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club.


RED, BLUE, GREEN will be on view beginning Saturday, January 15 during regular Museum hours and is included with the cost of admission through Sunday, June 12. Lee County residents receive half-price admission on Sunday afternoons, 12-5pm, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor. Other special exhibitions on view at the Museum this season include Blackwater Moments: Nocturnal Photography of Open-Ocean Mollusks, open through May 30. Learn more at


About the Museum: The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is a Natural History Museum, and the only accredited museum in the United States with a primary focus on shells and mollusks. Its mission is to use exceptional collections, aquariums, programs, experiences, and science to be the nation’s leading museum in the conservation, preservation, interpretation, and celebration of shells, the mollusks that create them, and their ecosystems. Permanent exhibitions on view include the Great Hall of Shells which displays highlights of the Museum’s collection of some 550,000 shells, as well as the Beyond Shells living gallery of aquariums and over 50 species of marine life. For more information on the Museum, please visit or call (239) 395-2233.