Fun while learning at Guana Reserve

Emily Jane Murray reported to Historic City News in St Augustine the following entertaining and educational programs at Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve during the coming month.

The 73,352-acre reserve, located at 505 Guana River Road in Ponte Vedra Beach, is dedicated to the conservation of natural biodiversity and cultural resources through research and monitoring to guide science-based stewardship and education strategies.

These protected areas provide habitat for a wide variety of fish and wildlife. A species list recently compiled for Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve indicated the presence of at least 44 mammals, 358 birds, 41 reptile, 21 amphibian, 303 fish and 580 plant species. It contains habitats essential to 48 protected animals and eight protected plants.

–Open to the public by reservation–
Due to the high demand in new volunteers at the reserve, Carly Swatek will be offering new volunteer orientations monthly to be held on the first Friday of the month from 9-11:30am. All new volunteers are required to attend or to have met with Carly prior to beginning their volunteer work at the reserve. If you are well into your volunteer service at GTM but have not been through an official orientation, you are of course welcome to attend to learn more about the reserve. Next new volunteer orientation will be held on Friday, August 3. Attendees will receive a program overview, learn volunteer rules and responsibilities, and take tour. If you are able to attend, please RSVP to by August 1.

–Open to the Public–
The GTM Research Reserve will host its August Brown Bag Lunch Lecture from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, August 3. The Reserve’s very own Resource Management Coordinator Joe Burgess will talk about the variety snakes that call Florida home, focusing on the local Northeast region. He will discuss common misconceptions about snakes and the importance role they play in ecosystems. His presentation will include live specimens of local species to view and touch. The talk is sponsored by the GTM Research Reserve and there is no cost to attend; however, due to limited seating, reservations are requested by calling (904) 823-4500. If you would like to tour the Environmental Education Center before or after the lecture, the cost is $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children age 10 to 17 and children under 10 are free.

–Open to the Public–
The Friends of the GTM Research Reserve will hold its monthly meeting from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on August 14. The public is invited to attend. For further information, please call 904-823-4527.

–1.5 mile guided walk through Guana Trail–
The GTM Research Reserve will host a trail walk every second Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Join GTM Research Reserve staff or volunteer for a 1.5-mile walk that the entire family will enjoy. Meet at the Trailhead Pavilion. Wear comfortable closed toe shoes. There is a $3 per vehicle parking fee. Reservations can be made by calling (904) 823-4500.

— Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? —
The GTM Research Reserve will present “Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?” in preparation for International Coastal Clean-up Day on September 15. The film will be shown every Saturday and Sunday during the month of August at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Bag It follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he tries to make sense of our dependence on plastic bags. Although his quest starts out small, Jeb soon learns that the problem extends past landfills to oceans, rivers and ultimately human health. There is no cost to see the movie. If you would like to tour the Environmental Education Center before or after the movie, the cost is $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for children age 10 to 17 and children under 10 are free. Call (904) 823-4500 for further information.

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