PORT ST. JOE – Experience the natural beauty of the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve at the Bay Day celebration on Saturday, Feb. 7. The day’s events include tram tours through the heart of the preserve, shoreline excursions, birding and nature walks, educational talks and a traditional low country boil.
The Bay Day celebration kicks off with a birding trip at 8 a.m. at the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve Visitor’s Center. Participants will be led by a guide on a car caravan to several sites along a 13-mile progression. The caravan will stop at each location and the guide will lead guests on a leisurely walk through the backwoods of the preserve, using binoculars to observe the many different bird species. The birding trip ends at the T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, but a few pairs will be available for use on a first-come, first-served basis.
Guests can also take a tram tour through the backwoods trails of the buffer preserve to view rare and endangered plants, prescribed burn sites and various native plants. An experienced guide will teach guests about ongoing research within the preserve, the history of the land and the many plant and animal species that call the buffer preserve home. There will be three tram tours offered throughout the day, beginning at 10 a.m.
“We are very fortunate to have a staff and cadre of volunteers who understand the value of this event,” said Dylan Shoemaker, manager of St. Joesph Bay Buffer Preserve. “Educating the public about the ways the Buffer Preserve works to protect St. Joseph Bay is of extreme importance. Creating conditions that help our rare, endangered or threatened plants survive and thrive is an important aspect of our mission and Bay Day allows us the opportunity to show the public know how we do this and how they can help.”
“The Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves count it as a privilege to sponsor the Bay Day celebration,” said Friends President, John Ehrman. “Some of our volunteers have been a part of this event for years, going above and beyond to make each Bay Day an outstanding event. We couldn’t be more thankful for their hard work and dedication.”
The St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve was established in 1995 to protect the surrounding uplands and preserve the bay’s pristine natural resources and water quality.
For outdoor tours, including tram tours, the appropriate dress and following supplies are suggested: hat, closed-toe shoes, insect repellent, sunscreen and a refillable water container. In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, an additional stand-by date has been set for Saturday, Feb. 14. The Low Country Boil will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a $10 donation benefitting the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves. For more info and excursion times, click here.
WHAT: Bay Day Celebration
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve Visitor’s Center
3915 State Road 30-A
Port St. Joe, FL 32456