I live in Baltimore, Maryland, in a town called White Marsh. My dad (who is also from Baltimore) and Stepmom live in Estero.  I enjoy visiting Estero because it’s very relaxing. It gives me the feeling that I don’t have a care in the world to be worried about. Being in Estero gives me a feeling of calmness and relaxation.
 
Blue Heron

Blue Heron by Christine Tolentino

Everyone I have met in my Dad and Stepmom’s development have been very nice and welcoming.  Going into the stores and restaurants, the employees treat people with kindness and respect. I love the Gulf coast beaches and have found many unique shells. My favorite shell is the conch shell, which are very difficult to find here along the beaches in Ocean City, Maryland. The shells are beautiful, even the broken ones.  I enjoy getting in the water on the Gulf and floating in the waves. It certainly is not as rough as the Atlantic Ocean.    

 
Along our wildlife tour at J.N. Ding Darling Nature Refuge, I was able to capture this picture of a Blue Heron. We also spotted a baby horseshoe crab, two small starfish, a blue crab, various species of birds and a gar (a fish I have never seen before). 
 
I look forward to coming back to visit Estero, FL in the near future.  I enjoyed the time I spent there.  I also accomplished something I have never done before or would have even thought of doing. I went on a 17 mile bike ride with my dad and a few of his friends. Not once did I give up or even think about turning around to go back even after falling off the bike.  I got up and kept going.   
 
As the saying goes “Every Seashell has a story”.
 
Submitted by Christine Tolentino