First Lady Ann Scott Celebrates National Estuaries Day

EASTPOINT More than 600 guests were in attendance as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted First Lady Ann Scott at its annual open house celebration in honor of National Estuaries Day. The event focused on the importance of the water and environment in estuaries that are home to an abundance of Florida’s birds, wildlife and fish.

“National Estuary Day provides an opportunity to teach our children about the importance of Florida’s waters and coasts,” said First Lady Ann Scott, “Florida’s ecosystems are delicate and require preservation for our future generations to learn from and enjoy.”

The First Lady participated in a variety of events set up around the Reserve and led an educational reading session for the children and families. Children of all ages listened to Mrs. Scott read the environmental children’s book A House for Hermit Crab, written by Eric Carle.

After the children finished their sea critter activity sheets, touched tanks of living sea creatures and created environmental art projects, the First Lady took a tour of the reserve’s research facility. The facility features advanced technology that monitors the health of the Apalachicola ecosystem, one of the most productive and pristine estuarine systems in the northern hemisphere.

“We are so honored that First Lady Ann Scott attended this important event in support of National Estuaries Day,” said Kevin Claridge, director of the Department’s office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas. “The area that Apalachicola Reserve protects is a critical estuarine system and her attendance highlights the importance of these systems to Florida.”

This celebration also included activities such as T-shirt giveaways, a beach scavenger hunt, ocean bingo and other activities for young children.

A similar event was held in St. Augustine at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve and an event is scheduled for Saturday in Naples at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Florida is home to three of the nation’s 28 reserves protected by the NERR System, totaling more than 1.3 million acres of resilient estuaries and coastal watersheds where human and natural communities thrive.

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