The Environmental Learning Center (ELC) invites residents and visitors, young and not-so-young alike, to its annual celebration of National Estuaries Day on Saturday, September 24th from 9am to 1pm. Our very own Indian River Lagoon has been named an “Estuary of National Significance,” one of only 28 in the nation and cited as among the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America. This 156-mile long estuary is a vital part of our community; and National Estuaries Day is a time of education, music, fun and celebration at the ELC!
What exactly is an estuary and why is it important? An estuary is a dynamic ecosystem composed of a brackish mix of seawater entering from the open ocean and fresh water flowing in from rivers and streams. Estuaries are the “nurseries of the sea” because they provide an environment along with abundant food sources where fish and shellfish can get a relatively protected start on life.
The ELC’s day of celebration will feature live music by Lonnie Dee and Jinna Jean Robertson of Heart of Oak Music who not only build hand-crafted Heart of Oak Dories but entertain with their music! Come take a quick canoe trip under mangrove tunnels with a canoe guide; go dip-netting in our pond (be sure to bring your close-toed water shoes to dip-net) and see all the juvenile marine life. There’s a guided Nature Walk at 10 am. Hear a Dolphin Fun Facts talk, and stroll our 1 ½ miles of boardwalks and nature trails. Visit our Discovery Station Interactive Museum with 145-gallon touch tank, aquariums & exhibits. See a live natural “Tipee” sprouting from gumbo limbo branches, and visit our native plant greenhouse. And of course let the children play at the Imagination Station play area.
“This is an opportunity for us, as a community, to celebrate this incredibly biodiverse estuary that we are so fortunate to live near. So come enjoy the celebration at the Environmental Learning Center!” says Molly Steinwald, ELC Executive Director. General Admission is $5 for adults and children 12 & over, but FREE for children under 12 and ELC Members. Please go to our website at discoverELC.org for more information.
The Environmental Learning Center is located north of Vero Beach off County Road 510 at the end of the Wabasso Bridge. Its 64-acre campus includes exhibit areas, native plant gardens, picnic facilities and visitor center. ELC membership benefits, a list of its many field excursions, EcoVentures, including nature walks, canoe excursions, and boating adventures can be found at www.DiscoverELC.org.