Lots to do if you visit Guana Research Reserve

400-GTM-RESERVE-BIKE-TRAILSEmily Jane Murray reported to Historic City News that January will be a busy month at the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve; offering something entertaining and educational for readers with a wide array of interests.

The Research Reserve was formed to build citizen awareness, concern and participation through collaboration between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; including 74,000 acres of coastal lands in northeast Florida — from Ponte Vedra Beach to Palm Coast.

Activities for January 2013:

ECO GEEK
–Free and Open to the Public–
On Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 4 p.m., visitors can learn about the latest technology used in environmental research. Jan. 2 will explore how people have used the environment to their advantage, from Paleo-Indians to modern society. Jan. 9 will focus on orienteering techniques, from compasses to GPS and beyond. Jan. 16 will feature ways that we can recycle our environment, including Skype discussions with experts across the nation about restoration techniques. Jan. 23 will examine how we can assess the value of our environment and natural resources. The program is free with paid entrance and will take place at the Environmental Education Center located at 505 Guana River Rd in South Ponte Vedra Beach. Please RSVP by going to http://gtmnerrecogeek.eventbrite.com or by calling (904) 823-4500.

NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION
–Open to the Public through RSVP–
Due to the high demand in new volunteers at the Reserve, Carly Swatek (GTM Research Reserve Volunteer Coordinator) is offering monthly New Volunteer Orientations which are held on the first Friday of the month from 9 to 11:30 a.m. 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 the GTM Research Reserve but haven’t been through an official orientation, you are also welcome to attend. Attendees will receive training in all aspects of the GTM Research Reserve, learn general volunteer rules and responsibilities, and take tour of the Environmental Education Center. If you are able to attend, please RSVP to Carly.Swatek@dep.state.fl.us by Jan. 2.

GUIDED CULTURAL HIKE
— Free and Open to the Public –
On the first Saturday of every month from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., visitors can learn about the cultural history of the Guana Peninsula during a guided cultural hike. Find out about the peninsula’s 5,000 years of human history, including how native peoples used estuarine resources, what European plantation life was like and current efforts to learn about and save these resources. Meet at the GTM Research Reserve’s Trailhead Pavilion located west of the Guana Dam. Wear comfortable closed toe shoes. There is a $3 per vehicle parking fee. Please RSVP by going to http://gtmnerrculturalhike.eventbrite.com or by calling (904) 823-4500.

MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT….
–Free and Open to the Public–
On Saturday afternoons from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., visitors can learn more than they ever wanted to know about plant and animal life found in estuarine habitats. Jan. 5 will feature marine mammals and their unique adaptations to aquatic life. Jan. 12 will explore oceanic birds living near and far, along coastlines and out at sea. Jan. 19 will take a closer look at some of the 44 terrestrial mammals living in the Reserve. Jan. 26 will investigate the habits of upland and secretive marsh birds. The program is free with paid entrance and will take place at the Environmental Education Center located at 505 Guana River Rd in South Ponte Vedra Beach. Please RSVP by going to http://gtmnerrwantedtoknow.eventbrite.com or by calling (904) 823-4500.

FRIENDS OF THE GTM RESEARCH RESERVE MEETING
— Open to the Public —
The Friends of the GTM Research Reserve will hold its monthly meeting from 5 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 8. The public is welcome to attend. For further information please call Teri Webley at (904) 823-4527.GUIDED

TRAIL WALK AT RIVER TO SEA PRESERVE, MARINELAND
–Open to the Public–
Join GTM Research Reserve volunteer Ron Ceryak on Jan. 10 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. for a guided hike in Flagler County’s “River to Sea Preserve” along a mile-and-half trail through wooded coastal hammock to the Matanzas River. Expect to learn about nature’s bountiful vegetation and observe signs of wildlife. Hear tales of Native American lore, including how Indians made use of various plants for food and medicinal purposes.

Meet the guide in the parking lot of the River to Sea Preserve. See the River to Sea Preserve sign located on the west side of A1A at the southern end of the town of Marineland. A directional “NERR” road sign will also be placed at the entrance. Be sure to wear comfortable, closed toe shoes. Please RSVP online at http://gtmnerrmarinelandtrail.eventbrite.com or by calling (904) 823-4500.

SECOND SATURDAY TRAIL HIKE
— 1.5 mile guided walk through Guana Trails —
The GTM Research Reserve will host a trail walk every 2nd Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Join GTM Research Reserve staff and/or volunteers for a 1.5 mile walk that the entire family will enjoy. Meet at the GTM Research Reserve’s Trailhead Pavilion located west of the Guana Dam. Wear comfortable closed toe shoes. There is a $3 per vehicle parking fee. Please RSVP by going to http://gtmnerr2ndtrailhike.eventbrite.com or by calling (904) 823-4500.

MARINELAND OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: BEACH WALK
— Open to the Public —
Enjoy an outdoor adventure at Marineland on the third Wednesday of every month from 9 to 10:30 a.m. On Jan. 16, GTM Research Reserve volunteer Ron Ceryak will guide hikers along the beach at Flagler County’s “River to Sea Preserve” at the Town of Marineland. Expect to learn about the geology, sand, shells, heavy minerals and coquina rock. Discuss the value of dunes and dune vegetation. Expect to see shorebirds and learn about seashells and mollusks.

The GTM Research Reserve is on the west side of A1A at Ocean Shore Blvd, at the southern end of the Town of Marineland. See the GTM Research Reserve sign and a temporary event sign posted at the A1A entrance. Please RSVP online at http://gtmnerrmarinelandbeach.eventbrite.com or by calling (904) 823-4500. Be sure to wear comfortable, closed toe shoes.

MONTHLY MARINELAND LECTURE
— Free and Open to the Public –
On Tuesday, Jan. 15, 10 to 11 a.m., GTM Research Reserve biologist Wendy Eash will give a free, public presentation on how non-native mud crabs may compete with native species for habitat and food, prey upon native species and infect native organisms with new parasites and diseases. Protecting and conserving these native species is important to both the ecology of estuaries and to humans who rely on them as a food source and for commercial purposes. The program is entitled “Long Term Effects of Invasive Species and Parasites on Native Mud Crabs.”

The GTM Research Reserve is located on the west side of A1A at Ocean Shore Blvd, at the southern end of the Town of Marineland. See the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve sign. Due to limited space, please make reservations online at http://gtmnerrmarinelandlecture.eventbrite.com or by calling (904) 823-4500.

GUIDED BEACH EXPLORATION
— Beach stroll and discovery —
On the third Saturday of the month from 8:30 to 10 a.m., join GTM Research Reserve volunteers Rick and Roz Edwards for a beach walk at the Guana South beach location. Learn about the animals that call the beach their home as well as seashells and other interesting facts. This is a “Beaches 101” experience that the entire family will enjoy. There is a $3/per vehicle parking fee. After the walk, visit the GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center (EEC) or enjoy our many miles of trails. The EEC is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach FL 32082. Admission fee into the EEC is $2 for adults, $1 for children age 10-17 and children under ten are free.

Space is limited so please RSVP. You can make reservations at http://gtmnerrbeachexploration.eventbrite.com/ or by calling (904) 823-4500. Please provide your email and phone number in case we need to cancel due to inclement weather.

FAMILY SEINING ACTIVITY
–Free and Open to the Public–
Join GTM Research Reserve docents the last Saturday of every month from 8:30 to 10 a.m. for a family seining activity. Visitors will get the chance to pull a seine net through Guana Lake, collecting species of fish, crabs and more, and then learn about the animals and their roles in the habitat. All necessary gear including waders and boots will be provided. The program is free with paid entrance and will take place at the Guana Dam Recreational Area. Please RSVP by going to http://gtmnerfamilyseine.eventbrite.com by calling (904) 823-4500.

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