National Estuaries Week 2015: September 19 -26

IMG_0280I wanted to inform you of National Estuaries Week coming up…  If you want to get outside and learn a little more about your coast, there will be events going on you can participate in.  Check out the website for the event for local events around the country:  https://www.estuaries.org/national-estuaries-week.

You may not have given an estuary a second thought, but they are so important!  They are like a natural cleanse for our water systems and support a ton of wildlife.  Many juveniles (fish) spend their early life stages there before moving offshore, but look for other wildlife too.  One 5-second look and you will most likely see shorebirds of all kinds, crabs, snails, dragonflies…  It’s a lot of bang for your buck!  You may also see dolphins and manatees!  If you spend all week in the office, it can be really refreshing to go see wildlife you don’t see every day.  I would highly encourage you to go to one of the events.  Search your local area for places to visit.
I absolutely love the “GTMNERR”, a reserve just south of Jacksonville, FL, so I’m going to highlight them here…  They have a beautiful educational facility and lots of things to do.  There website is http://www.gtmnerr.org/.  Their calendar is here: http://gtmnerr.org/News-and-Events.php.
They have some events going on this month… and one of them is “Family Seining”. Let me tell you, seining is really fun.  You look in the water and may not see anything at first, but once you pull the net through the water, it’s like magic :).  You’d be surprised how many little things are living in there.  So give them a call and get the details… I know you have to register before but the event is free.
Some other events I would go to if I were there…
Marineland Lecture
This program is one of an ongoing lecture series held on the third Tuesday of the month at the GTM Research Reserve office in the town of Marineland. The series is designed to help inform the public about their coastal natural world. The Reserve is located off A1A at 9741 Ocean Shore Blvd, at the south end of Marineland. These events are FREE however space is limited so reservations are requested. Reservations can be made by at Eventbrite or by calling (904) 823-4500. Make sure to show up about 5 minutes early to get good seating. Please RSVP online (http://gtmnerrmarinelandlecture.eventbrite.com/) or by calling (904) 823-4500.
Matanzas Inlet Hike
The GTM Research Reserve, in conjunction with the National Park Service, will take hikers to the shore to learn about Inlet dynamics and more. At the north end of the Inlet is a bird sanctuary where hikers might see wood storks and least terns. They will also learn about seashells, coquina rock, dune vegetation, heavy minerals, mollusks, dune vegetation, and the history of beach sand. Please RSVP online (https://gtmnerrmatanzashike.eventbrite.com) or by calling (904) 823-4500.
Guided Beach Walk
The GTM Research Reserve will guide hikers along the beach at Flagler County’s “River to Sea Preserve” at the Town of Marineland. Expect to learn about the geology, sand, shells, heavy minerals and coquina rock. Discuss the value of dunes and dune vegetation. Expect to see shorebirds and learn about seashells and mollusks. Please RSVP online (http://gtmnerrmarinelandbeach.eventbrite.com/) or by calling (904) 823-4500.
Hike the River to Sea Preserve
The GTM Research Reserve will guide hikers through Flagler County’s “River to Sea Preserve” coastal hammock to the Matanzas River along a 1.2-mile trail. Learn about nature’s bountiful vegetation and observe signs of wildlife. Hear tales of Native American lore, including how they used indigenous plants for food and medicine. Please RSVP online (http://gtmnerrmarinelandtrail.eventbrite.com/) or by calling (904) 823-4500.

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