St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve Hosts National Estuaries Day Celebration

Oct. 3, 2014

~Visitors of all ages celebrate the estuary by participating in free, educational activities~

St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve

Visitors to St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve were able to spend time with a king snake.

More than 150 visitors celebrate National Estuaries Day by learning firsthand about the local estuarine community of the St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve. This event took place on Sept. 27 in partnership with the Citrus County School District’s Marine Science Station.

Both children and adults participated in hands-on activities that taught about the importance of local estuarine communities and about the animals that call them home. Visitors had the opportunity to pet a king snake and get up close and personal with local marine life in the touch tank. Face painting was available for kids of all ages, and many vendors offered educational activities at their booth in the Visitor’s Center.

Among those vendors were Citrus County School’s Marine Science Station, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Gulf Archaeology Research Institute, Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, The University of Florida Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society and The Friends of Crystal River State Parks.

“Estuaries, found within the aquatic preserves throughout the state, serve as nurseries and important habitat for approximately 70 percent of all recreationally and commercially important marine species at some point in their life,” said Tim Jones, St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve manager. “We are pleased that so many of our community members and partners participated in this event.”

National Estuaries Day guests also enjoyed a relaxing, free boat ride to the marine science station where they explored the grounds via guided walking tours and climbed the observation tower to get a bird’s eye view of the expansive estuarine system. The Friends of Crystal River State Park’s Citizen Support Organization sold food and beverages on-site.

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