Apalachicola Research Reserve Celebrates the Estuary

Oct. 2, 2014

~More than 600 visitors participate in free, family friendly activities on National Estuaries Day~

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Children had the chance to learn more about the reserve as a whole.

The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) hosted its annual National Estuaries Day Celebration on Friday, Sept. 26, in Eastpoint. Approximately 618 visitors interacted with more than 25 staff from ANERR, along with 57 adult volunteers and 13 student volunteers.

“This event was incredibly successful and we are pleased so many of our community members came out and enjoyed the reserve,” said Jennifer Harper, manager of ANERR. “It was a great opportunity for visitors, especially our younger generations, to get a hands-on experience and learn what the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve is all about. This celebration’s success is due, in large part, to our wonderful volunteer team. We couldn’t have reached as many people as we did without their help.”

Volunteers at the event were from the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, University of Florida Franklin County Extension Office/ Sea Grant office, the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Environmental Cooperative Science Center, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Wild Mammal Association.

The National Estuaries Day celebration offered dozens of free, fun and educational opportunities for kids of all ages including marine animal touch tanks, scavenger hunts and games. Presentations about soft shell crabs and other local wildlife were given, along with a demonstration about safe fishing practices for kids.

Adults had the opportunity to learn how to make a rain barrel, tour the ANERR’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certified facility, and view the new temporary exhibit in the visitor’s center, Changing Seas.

Dr. Dean Grubbs, faculty at Florida State University and featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” spoke about the critically endangered smalltooth sawfish and visitors viewed an exhibit created by ANERR researchers about creatures that prey on oysters in Apalachicola Bay. The EnviroScape game taught guests about the worldwide water-monitoring project and how behaviors at home can have an impact on the bay.

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