Celebrate National Estuaries Day at Florida’s Research Reserves and Aquatic Preserves

Sept. 23, 2014

~Celebrate the estuary by participating in free, family friendly activites at four sites~

The celebration that recognizes the importance of estuaries – the habitat where rivers meet the sea – takes place the final weekend in September on National Estuaries Day.

Four locations in Florida host National Estuaries Day celebrations: the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve.

The activities offered during the National Estuaries Day celebrations vary by location, but each celebration site offers events and activities for the entire family to enjoy. All events are free and open to the public.

On-the-water activities such as boat tours, kayaking and paddleboarding are offered at some locations, while hands-on indoor activities like scavenger hunts, marine-mammal touch tanks and kid’s safe fishing demonstrations will be offered at others. Check with each location for precise event scheduling.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. is attending the celebration at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

“These estuarine activities shine a light on the importance of unique coastal habitats,” said Secretary Vinyard. “A family wide approach to ecosystem restoration ensures that all generations are learning what is necessary to keep Florida healthy and vibrant.”

More than a quarter century after the first National Estuaries Day in 1988, there is more evidence that estuarine ecosystems serve as natural barriers to buffer against storms and floods, absorb and store carbon and provide critical habitat for commercial and recreational fisheries. The 2014 National Estuaries Day focuses on increasing national awareness of estuaries and how estuary conservation efforts support our quality of life and economic well-being.

 WHAT:  GTM National Estuarine Research Reserve
               National Estuaries Day Celebration

 WHEN:   Sept. 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 WHERE: GTM Environmental Education Center
505 Guana River Road
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32082
904-823-4500
www.gtmnerr.org

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WHAT:   Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve
               National Estuaries Day Celebration

WHEN:   Sept. 26, 1:30 – 6 p.m.

WHERE: Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve
108 Island Drive
Eastpoint, Florida 32328
850-670-7700
http://apalachicolareserve.com/

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WHAT:    Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
                National Estuaries Day Celebration

WHEN:    Sept. 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WHERE: Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
300 Tower Road
Naples, Florida 34113
239-530-5977
www.rookerybay.org

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WHAT:    St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve
                National Estuaries Day Celebration

WHEN:    Sept. 27, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

WHERE: St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve
3266 North Sailboat Avenue
Crystal River, Florida 34429
352-563-0450

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