FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 27, 2013
ROOKERY BAY RESEARCH RESERVE RECEIVES NATIONAL DESIGNATION
~Coastal America Partnership recognizes Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center as a Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center~
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is the first NERR to receive this designation.
NAPLES – Rookery Bay National Estuarine
Research Reserve is the newest member of Coastal America’s prestigious network
of Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers, one of 25 designated learning centers in
the country designed to educate and engage the public in protecting coastal
Governor Rick Scott said,
“We are proud that Florida is home to the first reserve ever to receive this
prestigious designation. Rookery Bay is one of the many reasons Florida will
attract more than 100 million visitors next year.”
The network creates a
partnership between federal agencies and marine education centers
across North America like the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, with a
shared goal of educating and involving the public in protecting our nation's
coastal and marine ecosystems.
is crucial to making sure all Floridians do their part to protect our
environment," said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. "We must
educate all of our citizens on how they can personally prevent
pollution. It is critical that all of us are dedicated to getting the
water right and protecting our estuaries."
The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research
Reserve has provided environmental education to local students and the public
in the Southwest Florida for more than 25 years.
“We are very
proud to add the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to our network
of Coastal America Learning Centers,” said Ralph Cantral, Director for the
Coastal America Partnership. “The outstanding education, outreach, and research
efforts of the Reserve will add many new opportunities for our existing system
of 24 centers which extend from Alaska to Mexico and California to New England
and Canada to provide critical information about our coastal and ocean ecosystems
to their many visitors.”
becomes the third CELC designated in Florida, and the first site in the
National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The Reserve was honored during a
ceremony with federal and regional partners on Friday.
“It is quite an
honor to receive this designation, and an accomplishment we have worked toward
for a few years,” said Gary Lytton, Director for Rookery Bay Reserve. “Our
programs and facility are a perfect fit for this network.”
Coastal America partnership, Rookery Bay Reserve will gain access to the
scientific resources of 13 federal agencies that can offer items such as ship
time, technical expertise, exhibits, and educational materials, as well as
chances to collaborate on research projects. The arrangement also provides the
government agencies access to thousands of visitors at Rookery Bay
Environmental Learning Center each year.
Rookery Bay Reserve’s designation ceremony was scheduled in
conjunction with National Estuaries Day to give the community an opportunity to
interact with members of the Coastal America Partnership through educational
booths and activities on Saturday. In addition to the two-story visitor center
where exhibits explain the importance of estuaries, Rookery Bay Reserve
annually invites residents and visitors to experience this estuary first-hand
through free guided kayak and boat tours, stand-up paddleboard demonstrations, lab
tours, marine life touch tank, films, live music, food
National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses 110,000 acres of coastal lands
and waters between Naples and Everglades National Park on the Gulf coast of
Florida. It is managed by The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Coastal Office in cooperation with
NOAA’s National Ocean Service.
information visit www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal or www.rookerybay.org.