St. Joseph Bay educational adventure held Sept. 7-8

August 14, 2016

A view of St. Joseph Bay from a viewing tower at the St. Joe Bay Preserve visitor's center. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
A view of St. Joseph Bay from a viewing tower at the St. Joe Bay Preserve visitor’s center.  Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension faculty are continuing their Panhandle Outdoor education programs with a two-day water school Sept. 7-8, 2016. The school will focus on the water ecosystems of the St. Joseph Bay. The classes will be held at St. Joseph Bay State Buffer & Aquatic Preserves Center, 3915 State Rd. 30A, Port St. Joe, Florida 32456

The St. Joseph Bay ecosystem is home to one of the richest concentrations of marine grasses along the Northern Gulf coast. It supports an amazing diversity of fish, aquatic invertebrates and birds. Other local habitats of significance include nesting beaches for loggerhead sea turtles, salt marshes that support secretive marsh birds, and pine flatwoods uplands.

This two-day educational adventure is based at the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve near the coastal town of Port St. Joe, Florida. It includes field tours of unique coastal uplands, presentations by scientists and naturalists, and a kayak trip to explore the underwater life of the seagrass beds. Registration fees will vary depending on options selected for field trips.

A rare pine lily in bloom at the Preserve.  Lori Ceier/ Walton Outdoors
A rare pine lily in bloom at the Preserve. Lori Ceier/ Walton Outdoors

Cost is $80 for course only, $130 for course, kayak and snorkel rental, or $120 for course and kayak rental.

SCHEDULE:
Wednesday, Sept. 7
7:30 am – 8:30 am – BREAKFAST (if you can make it)
9:00 am – 12:00 pm – Introductions and workshop logistics, Field tour of the Buffer Preserve Property, Speaker on the Ecology of the St. Joseph Bay Ecosystem
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – LUNCH catered by Bite Me Deli, Apalachicola
1:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Field tour of Salinas Park and St. Joe Peninsula State Park, Discussion of Coastal Processes and Geomorphology
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm  – DINNER in Historic Port St. Joe at the Krazy Fish Grill (this dinner not included in price of ticket)

Thursday, Sept. 8
7:30 – 8:30 am – BREAKFAST catered by Bite me Deli, Apalachiciola
8:30 am – 11:30am – Kayaking and snorkeling the Sea Grass Beds, hosted by “Happy Ours” Kayak Outfitters
11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Return to Preserve Center to “freshen up”
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – LUNCH catered by Bite me Deli, Apalachicola
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm – Presentations on Diamondback Terrapin Ecology and Bay Scallops

Click here for registration and accommodation recommendations. For more information, call (850) 653-9337 or email mmhuber@ufl.edu.