For Immediate Release: August 17, 2011
DEP’S APALACHICOLA NATIONAL
ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE OPEN FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. attends
as special guest~
DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. cuts a ribbon ceremoniously opening the new Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center.
Also pictured, ANERR Manager Lee Edmiston, Franklin County Commissioner Pinkie Jackel and Executive Director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Anita Grove.
EASTPOINT – The
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today officially opened the new Apalachicola
National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) Nature Center with a ribbon-cutting
ceremony and media tour. The ANERR Nature Center features 18,000 square feet of
learning space, including two working wet and dry research laboratories. Representing
the river, bay and gulf habitats found in Apalachicola, the center features
three large walk-around tanks that each hold over 1,000 gallons and house a
variety of native plant life and creatures. The new building is built to Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certificate standards.
“For more than 30 years, the Apalachicola National
Estuarine Research Reserve has done an incredible job protecting one of
Florida’s most productive water bodies,” said Secretary Vinyard. “Education and
outreach are important parts of the Reserve’s work, and this new facility will
help us share the important work we do with even more students, residents and
ANERR, spanning approximately 246,000 acres, is located
in Franklin, Gulf and Liberty counties on the Florida panhandle, approximately
75 miles southeast of Tallahassee and 60 miles east of Panama City. ANERR is
managed by the DEP Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA) and is
part of a nationwide network of 28 research reserves overseen by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
ANERR was established in 1979 to protect the region’s biological diversity, as well as the economic value
of the natural resources and pristine conditions. Between 60 to 85 percent of
the local population make their living directly from the fishing industry, most
of which is done in reserve waters.
“The design and the exhibits in the
new facility are meant to give visitors an orientation to where they are in
Florida and in this important watershed,” said Lee Edmiston, ANERR Director. “The
exhibits demonstrate the connectivity among the river, bay and gulf habitats,
and guests can explore the idea of a continuum of habitat versus discreet,
Research projects that target commercial fisheries
management and the food web are a high priority at ANERR. In addition to its
water quality monitoring program, the new facility has a highly sophisticated
geographic information systems (GIS) database, which is used to educate coastal
managers and visiting researchers about the area and its ecology. Other
educational offerings include ongoing guest lecturers for the community and
coastal management workshops for environmental professionals. ANERR’s K-12
educational activities are divided between classroom and on-site programs. For
more information about the research and education programs offered, please
contact the Reserve at (850) 670-7700 or visit the website: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/apalachicola/.