Rookery Bay Reserve Hosts National Estuaries Day

Oct. 2, 2014

~More than 600 visitors enjoy tours and activities~

Rookery Bay National Estuaries Day

Arundhati Shrama (center) won the Coastal America Ocean Art Contest at Rookery Bay Reserve’s National Estuaries Day celebration.

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve welcomed 450 adults and 150 children for its annual celebration of estuaries, the special places where rivers meet the sea. The event engaged visitors in the enjoyment of coastal resources through staff-narrated boat tours, kayaking and paddle boarding on Henderson Creek, as well as food and live music.

Visitors also enjoyed the marine-critter touch tank and other live animal presentations, face painting, fish printing, behind-the-scenes tours of science labs, food, educational booths and an art exhibition by marine-life artist Guy Harvey in the gallery. “Tiger Shark Express,” a documentary film on shark migration, ran each hour in the auditorium. Smokey Bear also made an appearance.

One highlight of the event was a site visit by Florida Representative Matt Hudson. Following his tour of the reserve, Hudson shared a few words with visitors while presenting an Estuaries Day proclamation from Collier County Board of Commissioners, as well as a cash scholarship and plaque to one of 16 visual artists between the ages of 6 and 23 who were selected from a nationwide pool of entrants in the Third Coastal America Ocean Art Contest. The local contest winner was 7-year-old Arundhati Sharma of Fort Myers.

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in cooperation with NOAA. For more information about the reserve, click here.

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