PONTE VEDRA BEACH – The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve is receiving $60,000 from the Friends of the GTM Reserve as part of a local match to federal grant funding to the GTM Research Reserve. This funding will be used to enhance the reserve’s education and research programs. In addition to upgrading the Environmental Education Center in Ponte Vedra Beach, these monies will be used to construct three cabins located at Princess Place Preserve.
“These environmentally friendly cabins will encourage the additional research and education needed to monitor and protect the habitats of the Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve,” said Michael Shirley, director of the GTM Research Reserve. “GTM Research Reserve’s visiting scientists and educators will be able to book these fully furnished, air conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled cottages at an affordable rate.”
The GTM Research Reserve received this federal grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Flagler County is also providing $220,000 in services to support the cabin design and construction.
These eco-friendly cottages will be designed to conserve water, energy and other natural resources. The cabins will have a small footprint and be constructed in a manner that is protective of Princess Place Preserve and Pellicer Creek.
The GTM Research Reserve is also funding the construction of flow-through outdoor holding tanks that can be used for experiments that mimic natural saltmarsh conditions. The cabins will allow scientists to have immediate access to the saltmarshes of lower Pellicer Creek, with the tanks serving as an important research tool.
The proposed plans for overnight-stay facilities for those conducting research at this remote location generated letters of support from researchers at several universities and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
The cabins will also be offered to the general public through Flagler County. For more information about this project, please call 904-823-4500.