National Estuaries Day

Rain. Rain. And more Rain. Streets are flooded.  The roof is leaking–first time ever. This strange weather has been going on since we returned about 2 weeks ago.  And we hear that it rained the entire six weeks that we were gone.  

Last week was “Save our Water” week.  There were several events–all outdoors–I would have liked to have attended but the forecast for rain put me off.  Very disappointed.  

The Three Sisters Spring presentation I posted about yesterday was indoors and we ran in with our umbrellas unfurled and kept our eyes down to miss the numerous puddles. There were only about twenty people attending and several of those were volunteers from the park in their uniforms.  I’m blaming the low attendance on the damp weather.

Saturday was National Estuaries Day at the Crystal River Preserve State Park–another event I wanted to attend but didn’t think was possible since it was outdoors and even included a boat ride to the Marine Science Station.  We woke up Saturday morning to a gray and cloudy sky but no rain. So we jumped in the Camaro and headed north.

National Estuaries DayThere were several tents set up at the Crystal River Preserve State Park, many of them for children to enjoy.  While waiting for our boat ride, we chatted with a ranger from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  She was very informative and happy to talk about the refuge.  She even invited us in to shelter from the sprinkles that started shortly after we arrived.

FWS Ranger

Crystal River
The skies were looking ominous on our boat ride on the Crystal River.

Our boat captain was volunteering for this event and during the ride told us about the Crystal River and the Salt River plus identified the birds we saw.  We even saw two manatees on our way back.  He was especially knowledgeable about the Academy of Environmental Science–right across the river from the Marine Science Station–because his own two children attend the school.

Academy of Environmental Science
Academy of Environmental Science

According to their website, The Academy is a Citrus County School Board–initiated charter school open to all students in the county from 9 – 12 grade that meet the requirements and it provides the necessary basic skills for careers in the environmental science. 

Marine Science Center
Can you see that viewing tower? More about that in a moment!
Marine Science Center
Marine Science Center Dock

We were met at the dock by our own tour guide, Paisley.  She is a student in AP Biology at Crystal River High School.  Paisley led us around the compound and explained what each building was for.  At several stops we were met by other young people, either AP Biology pupils or students at the Academy of Environmental Science. All of the student volunteers were eager to explain their station and very informative.

Cafetaria
Dining Hall

Volleyball court

Boys Dorm
Boys Dormitory
Fresh Water Aquarium
Fresh Water Aquarium
Bird Watching Station
Bird Watching Station
Student's Reports
Student’s Reports on Science Experiments
Marine Museum
Marine Museum
Museuam
Rendering of aquariums that will eventually be in museum.
Museum
The students invited us to pick up anything in the touch tank. As long as our hands were disinfected. No thanks.
Museum
There’s a slug like creature living in that seashell.
Observation tower
And then there was the 50-foot viewing tower. (Have I mentioned I have a slight fear of heights?)
Observation Tower
This is as far as I got. The young volunteers at the swaying top urged me on. But I told them, I was good. I could see plenty as I firmly grasped the handrail and tried not looking at the step that was perforated metal. So they shouted down to me all about the view. Yeah.

Call me crazy, but I’ve always like teenagers.  Even the surly ones.  It was so much fun to spend the day with these young people that really appreciated the opportunities that the Marine Science Station and the Academy of Environmental Sciences offered them.  

While we were waiting for our return boat ride, two of the instructors asked me how we liked the tour.  I told them how impressed I was with all of the kids and how happy I was to see what was available for them in Citrus County.  I said something about everyone being so old here which probably made for a miserable life for the young people.  They both laughed–but it’s true.  The average age is 65 in Citrus County.  Seriously. 

All 4th grade, 7th grade, and high school science students in Citrus County students spend educational time at the Marine Science Station.  Plus there are two summer camps available–one for Middle School and one for High School students–both for five days and four nights.  Paisley told us that attending the camp was the best time in her life. 

It was great and educational day and I urge anyone interested in learning more about our estuaries to take advantage of future tours.  

3 thoughts on “National Estuaries Day

    • Thanks for reading Michelle and Yvonne. I was so impressed with these young people and the education opportunities they have here in Citrus County. And I think the rain is finally going to stop sometime this week!

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