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For Immediate Release: Sept. 22, 2011

Contact: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,


~Hands-on family friendly events introduce the importance of ecosystem science~

TALLAHASSEE – In celebration of National Estuaries Day, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA) will hold special events at Florida’s three National Estuarine Research Reserves. These events will give visitors an opportunity to learn more about Florida’s valuable estuarine ecosystems and what Florida’s citizens can do to help protect them.
Celebrated each year at the country’s 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves, National Estuaries Day offers an opportunity to enjoy these beautiful and important coastal environments, where the rivers meet the sea.  

Activities at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve celebration will focus on students and education. Activities include live reptile demonstrations, environmental scavenger hunts, simulated oyster tonging (oyster harvesting) and a wacky waterfront race. ANERR’s celebration will take place on Sept. 23.

Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve

Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

108 Island Drive

East Point, FL 32328

(850) 670-7700

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Naples invites guests to enjoy half-hour boat trips through Reserve, half-hour guided kayak trips along Henderson Creek, tours of the science labs, a marine critters touch tank, guided trail walks, face painting, among other activities. Plus, the U.S. Postal Service will be on site conducting a “First Day of Sale” of the new Saving Vanishing Species stamp and offering the semi-postal first class stamp for 55 cents.  Stamp collectors can take advantage of the First Day of Sale postmarking device to commemorate Save Vanishing Species stamp purchases made at the National Estuaries Day celebration.

Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center

Sept. 24, 2011

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

300 Tower Road

Naples, Florida

(239) 417-6310

The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM) has a variety of activities planned for the entire family to enjoy that focus on the importance of our estuaries. Included in the festivities will be live birds of prey presentations by H.A.W.K.E, a guided archeological bike ride, guided kayak trips led by Ripple Effects, a pirate invasion, hands-on science and live music by the Saltwater Cowgirls. All event proceeds will be used to support the education, research and stewardship programs of the Reserve.

GTM Reserve

Sept. 24, 2011

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

450 Guana River Rd

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

(904) 823-4500

CAMA is responsible for the state’s three National Estuarine Research Reserves. It is the mission of CAMA to protect, enhance, and restore natural habitats and resources of nearly 2 million acres of submerged lands.
Estuaries in Florida are vital to migratory species; provide critical habitat for a variety of marine plants and animals; help prevent coastal erosion; are recreational and tourist destinations; and are important for our future and the health of the oceans. Florida’s estuaries are important natural resources that also play a crucial role in our state’s economy, as more than 70 percent of Florida's recreationally and commercially important fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish spend part of their lives in estuaries.