St. Joseph Bay educational adventure Sept. 19-20

August 20, 2017

A pair of Southern Bald Eagles perched over the St. Joe Bay Buffer Preserve. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The University of Florida IFAS Extension faculty are continuing their Panhandle Outdoors Live programs for 2017. They include presentations, as well as, traditional excursions to explore and learn about the Panhandle’s signature ecosystems. The latest program is St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County, Sept. 19-20.

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.

Download brochure.pdf

To view short video on the Buffer Preserve click here

Participants need to bring personal snacks and/or drinks (bottled water and simple snacks are supplied), bug repellent, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, etc. Canoes or kayaks may be rented (see ticket options for prices); however, participants may also bring their own kayak or canoe and paddling gear (life jacket, emergency whistle, paddle, etc.), although a $10 launch fee will be applied by the outfitter (included in ticket options).

Base registration fee covers breakfast and lunch, facility costs, water & snacks, transportation and educational sessions. Additional costs are related to lodging, rental fees for canoes and kayaks. To find cost, registration, and lodging information click here.

SCHEDULE Of ACTIVITIES

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

9:00 am -12:00 pm Introductions and workshop logistics, field tour of the Buffer Preserve Property with Manager, Dylan Shoemaker; Presentation on the Ecology of the St. Joseph Bay Seagrass Ecosystem with John Brucker

12:00pm – 1:00 pm LUNCH catered by the Sand Dollar Cafe

1:30 pm – 5:00 pm Field tour of Salinas Park and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, discussion of Coastal Processes and Geomorphology with Park Staff/ Discussion of Coastal Habitats with Sea Grant Faculty

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm DINNER in Historic Port St. Joe (not included in ticket price)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

8:00 am – 9:00 pm BREAKFAST catered by Sand Dollar Cafe

9:00 am – 11:45 am Presentations on Diamondback Terrapin Ecology with Rick O’Conner, on Bay Scallops with Erik Lovestrand and Bay Water Quality with Ray Bodrey

11:45 am – 12:45 pm LUNCH catered by Sisters of Port St. Joe

12:45 pm – 3:00 pm Kayaking and snorkeling the Sea Grass Beds, hosted by “Happy Ours” Kayak Outfitters

3:30 pm Return to Preserve to “freshen up” and depart