About Us

The Sarasota Shell Club is a non-profit organization comprised of seashell and fossil seashell collectors, shell enthusiasts, artisans, and beachcombers. The club hosts monthly membership meetings from September through April with guest speakers, drawings for shell-related prizes, and guest shell vendors. Topics range from a scientific explanation of shells to voting for our favorite “shoebox exhibits” of seashells members have collected.

The club also sponsors social events and optional excursions throughout the season. Members can collect shells from barrier islands, in Sarasota Bay, and go shelling at other exotic locations. Please see the  “Calendar” page for the current meeting, excursion and event schedule.

Sarasota Shell Club - Shell Show

Objectives and Goals of the Sarasota Shell Club

  • Develop an interest in, and knowledge of, shells and related mollusks.
  • Build a respect for the environment inhabited by shells and related mollusks.
  • Provide opportunities and experience in collecting and identifying shells.
  • Emphasize the importance of teaching new generations about shells.
  • Provide educational opportunities.
  • Provide a venue by which collectors may exhibit their collections and artisans may exhibit their creations.
  • Create opportunities for collaboration with other shell clubs, organizations, and professionals.

Officers and Board for the 2023-2024 Membership Year

President: Duane Kauffmann
Vice President: Ron Bopp
Recording Secretary: Debbie McDermott
Treasurer: Allan Banko

Board Directors: Debby Alexander, Amy Bentley, Nancy Cadieux, Karen Huether, Donna Krusenoski, Sally Peppitoni.

Committee Chairs

Artisans Co-Chairs: Debby Alexander and Guelda Wooldridge
The Beauii newsletter: Ron Bopp
Historian: Open
Field Trips: Gary Martinez

Librarian: Debbie McDermott
Membership: Lisa Kinney
Shell Show: Ron Bopp
Sunshine: Debbie McDermott

About our Logo Shell

Siratus beauii, (Fischer & Bernardi, 1857), “Beau’s Murex”

From the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum: The Beau’s Murex, Siratus beauii, is a moderately deep-water Muricidae species that lives in the tropical western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, in depths between about 660 to 1,315 feet. Shells of this species can reach 120 about 4.7 inches, showing high degrees of variation in color and sculpture strength, in particular the size of spines and varices (the wing-like shell expansions). The species was included in the celebrated book “Rare Shells” published by S. Peter Dance in 1969, but now is known to be fairly common in deeper water.

How did this shell come to be the logo of the Sarasota Shell Club? At the time the club was forming, there were a couple of local captains who took their boats into the Gulf of Mexico to dredge in deep waters for shells. One of the most beautiful shells they brought up was the Beau’s Murex, and the Sarasota Shell Club adopted it for their logo.

There are two forms, a slender one with sharp spines, and the “winged” form, which is our logo. The winged form is by far the rarer of the two. Seashell enthusiasts can sometimes still find Siratus beauii in some older collections or from some dealers.

About our Logo the Beauii image

Siratus beauii – our logo – the “winged” form.

Siratus beauii

Siratus beauii – the slender one with sharp spines.

Shell Collector’s Code of Ethics

Mollusks are part of our precious natural wildlife resources. Therefore:

  • I WILL make every effort to protect and preserve them not only for my own future enjoyment, but for the benefit of generations to come.
  • I WILL always leave every shelling spot as undisturbed as possible.
  • I WILL take only those specimens needed for my collection and for exchange at the time… shells in a box cannot reproduce while I am waiting for a place to send them.
  • I WILL leave behind the damaged and young specimens so that they may live and multiply.
  • I WILL NOT collect live egg cases unless they are to be used for study and then only small quantities.
  • I WILL NEVER “clean out a colony” of shells.
  • I WILL practice and promote these conservation rules in every way possible.

History of the Sarasota Shell Club from 1964-2014

More history photos