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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2010
CONTACT: Jennifer Stan Diaz, DEP, (850) 245-2112
  Diana Eissing, GTM NERR, (904) 823-4500

DEP’s Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve Celebrates National Estuaries Day

~Family and educational activities celebrate “Where Rivers Meet the Sea”~

PONTE VEDRA BEACH – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR) today celebrated National Estuaries Day with fun and educational activities for families and children. The celebration focused on the importance of Florida’s estuaries – the special places where rivers meet the sea.

Among the most productive ecosystems on earth, estuaries serve as nurseries for fish and shellfish and providing vital nesting and feeding grounds for coastal birds, sea turtles and marine mammals. Governor Charlie Crist issued a proclamation declaring September 25, 2010 as National Estuaries Day.

“Estuaries are important economic engines that provide millions of dollars to coastal communities through tourism, recreational sport fishing and boating” said DEP Secretary Mimi Drew. “I invite everyone to visit these unique ecosystems throughout the year, and to work with the Department to help preserve and protect them.”

The day began with the GTM NERR’s participation in an International Coastal Cleanup as part of National Estuaries Day. Each year, volunteers remove and record data on the trash and debris collected from their local beaches, rivers, lakes and streams as well as along shorelines and underwater

The event also featured performances by the “Puppet People”, a nationally recognized group of professional puppeteers, singers, actors, artists and musicians. The message of their program “Water Smart” focused on water conservation. Other activities throughout the day included live animals and touch tanks, hands-on science fun, kids’ crafts and games, research activities and information, several exhibits from partnership organizations, marsh observation stations and kayaking tours. “Cama” the Dolphin also attended to teach children about conservation.

Since its inception in 1988, National Estuary Day has strengthened the partnership between the National Estuary Program and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The two programs protect more than 50 estuarine habitats that have been federally designated as living resources.

About GTM NERR
GTM NERR is dedicated to the conservation of natural biodiversity and cultural resources through research and monitoring to guide science-based stewardship and education strategies. The NERR is located along the coast of northeast Florida, south of Jacksonville and sandwiching St. Augustine. This proximity to major population hubs and near pristine quality makes it an exceptional recreational site for local residents and visitors as well as providing opportunities for research and environmental education. For more information on the GTM NERR, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/gtm/

About DEP’s Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas (CAMA)
CAMA manages three National Estuarine Research Reserves in the state, 41 aquatic preserves, the Coral Reef Conservation Program and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. CAMA’s programs and activities are designed to help Floridians better understand and conserve the state’s resources through research, education and preservation. For more information on CAMA, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal

wading bird

"Estuaries are important economic engines that provide millions of dollars to coastal communities through tourism, recreational sport fishing and boating."

Mimi Drew
DEP Secretary

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Last updated: January 25, 2011

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