Fort Matanzas bird walk planned for Saturday

VERONICA PETERSON

VERONICA PETERSON

The National Park Service will host an opportunity for local Historic City News readers to explore the ecology and birds of Florida’s coast on Saturday, December 19th, from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Join Veronica Peterson, the VIP (Volunteer-In-Parks), monthly for an informative bird-watching tour at Fort Matanzas in the park’s diverse habitat.

“Originally from West Palm Beach, I relocated to St. Augustine by way of Atlanta, GA, in 2003. A bird-watching enthusiast all my life, I have been seriously studying birds for 25 years and can spend hours just watching one pick at seeds,” Peterson told Historic City News local reporters. “I began volunteering at Fort Matanzas National Monument in 2003 in the Visitor Center, and began leading bird walks about 5 years ago.”

This Saturday’s event will meet at the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center. Participants are reminded to bring bug repellant, comfortable, closed-toe shoes, and binoculars — although the park may have several pair for loan. This bird walk is appropriate for all ages and difficulty level is mild, with some uneven or sandy terrain encountered during the walk.

“My husband and I travelled the US in an RV in 2001-2002 and visited 170 National Parks. During that time, I fell in love with the Park Service and the dedication the Rangers had for their sites, and made the decision that wherever we moved to had to have an NPS site so I could volunteer,” Peterson said. “We have now visited over 230 sites and our goal is to visit them all.”

Fort Matanzas is located 14 miles south of St. Augustine on Anastasia Island, four miles south of SR 206 on Highway A1A. The park address is 8635 A1A South, St. Augustine, FL 32080.

Fort Matanzas is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There is no entrance or parking fees required to visit the park, take the short ferry ride to the fort, or to participate in the bird walk. Programs and ferry service are subject to cancellation due to bad weather.

Fort Matanzas National Monument preserves a unique example of a fortified Spanish watchtower, a fort which successfully defended the southern approach to St. Augustine. It also remembers the 1565 Spanish slaughter of over two hundred French Huguenot soldiers by preserving the approximate location of the event. Finally, Fort Matanzas National Monument preserves nearly three hundred acres of rare, virtually undisturbed barrier island and associated dunes, forest, marsh and endangered plants and animals. Learn more at www.nps.gov/foma and visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/FortMatanzasNPS.

Comments