Category Archives: Events

Fall Bay Day – October 16, 2021

Join Us Saturday, October 16th2021 for our popular FALL BAY DAY! There will be lots to see and lots to do. Best of all, the Low Country Shrimp Boil will be delicious – as always! Meet you on the deck of the Visitors Center! … no admission fee!

Tour the Preserves: Enjoy a guided Tram Tour through the backwoods trails of the Buffer Preserves and learn about the native animal and plant life along the bay.   Bay Day tram tour seating will be first come first served. Reservations are recommended and will be available at the Bay Day event.

Field Trips: Birding Tour: (To be announced)

Nature Exhibits: St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve, Sweetwater Bay Native Plant Society, Bay County Audubon Society, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, Fire Marshall’s Display, and Bay Scallop Restoration.

Live Music: (To be announced)

Low Country Shrimp Boil:   11am – 2pm EDT    $12 Donation

Location: The Bay Day events are located at the St. Joseph Bay Preserves Visitor Center, 3915 State Road 30-A (C-30), Port St. Joe, Florida 32456. The Preserves Center is approximately 5 miles south of Port St. Joe; approximately one hour east of Panama City; and approximately two to two and a half hours south and west of Tallahassee.

Presented by: Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves, Inc. and the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve.
Proceeds to benefit the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves.
Questions: For more information: Call 850-229-1787 or
Send Us an Email

Bay Dayz Photo Gallery

Join the Sea Urchin Roundup#2 – September 25th

Participate in the Sea Urchin Roundup #2  on Saturday, September 25, 2021

The FDEP/Central Panhandle Aquatic Preserves and FWC/FWRI are hosting the St. Joseph Bay Urchin Roundup#2 on Saturday September 25th. We are looking to recruit volunteers to help collect urchins to relocate out to deeper water to help reduce grazing pressure on seagrasses in St. Joseph Bay. See the information flyer.

Check-in is at the Frank Pate Public Boat Ramp in Port St. Joe.  We will also have a registration tent and outreach tent at Frank Pate Boat Ramp all day for the event.

Bring your own boat, gloves and snorkeling gear and join us in removing sea urchins from seagrass beds! We will provide maps and gps locations showing where to collect urchins and buckets to put them in. Return buckets filled with urchins to our check-in station and get some swag. We will relocate the urchins to deeper water away from seagrass.

Check-in begins at 8:00 AM, and all urchins must be turned in by 5:00 PM. Please check in with an FWC or DEP employee to get your bucket and sign a volunteer waiver. Urchins should be returned in this bucket with seawater to be safely relocated by FWC or DEP employees.

St. Joseph Bay, located in Gulf County in the Panhandle, once contained extensive beds of seagrass and supported an abundant scallop fishery. Residents and visitors enjoyed extensive, pristine seagrass beds and clear bay waters. Summertime recreational scallop harvesting contributed greatly to the local economy. Seagrass beds in the bay are dominated by turtle grass which also provide food for abundant green sea turtles. The scallop fishery has become depleted in recent years, algal blooms are more frequent, and the acreage of seagrass beds has decreased. An overabundance of sea urchins (Lytechinus spp.) continues to destroy turtle grass beds through overgrazing. This project will jump start natural recovery of seagrass by installing exclosures over grazed areas to allow seagrasses to grow back without sea urchin grazing pressure. In addition, sea urchin roundups, public outreach events, will involve citizens to remove sea urchins from active grazing fronts. The animals will be released in deeper areas of the bay at a distance from grazed areas.

This project is a partnership between FWRI and the Central Panhandle Aquatic Preserves of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Staff from both agencies are maintaining the exclosures, monitoring the abundance of sea urchins quarterly, assessing sea grass abundance by in-water and mapping surveys, and measuring water quality monthly.

June 17 Tram Tour

The third Thursday of every month, the Buffer Preserve offers a tram tour through the preserve. The tour will begin with a separate history talk inside the Visitor Center at 8:00 a.m. EDT. Attendees will then proceed to the Main Gate parking lot (across the street from the visitor center) to board the tram.
The tram moves slowly, and our staff will interpret the surroundings while you ride down Treasure Road and Sandridge Road. Remember to bring anything that will make your ride more comfortable: hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellent, raincoat, camera, binoculars, etc. The tram has no roof so be prepared for sun or possibly a light shower. We will not cancel if the rain is light and no lightning is present.

To reserve your spot please email Sandra Chafin at Sandra.Chafin@floridadep.gov. , or phone her at 850-229-1787. Include the names and number of people in your party.
Masks are suggested on the tram.

Join the Sea Urchin Roundup – May 22nd

Participate in the Sea Urchin Roundup on May 22, 2021

The FDEP/Central Panhandle Aquatic Preserves and FWC/FWRI are hosting the St. Joseph Bay Urchin Roundup on May 22nd. We are looking to recruit volunteers to help collect urchins to relocate out to deeper water to help reduce grazing pressure on seagrasses in St. Joseph Bay. See the information flyer.

Check-in is at the Frank Pate Public Boat Ramp in Port St. Joe.  We will also have a registration tent and outreach tent at Frank Pate Boat Ramp all day for the event.

Bring your own boat, gloves and snorkeling gear and join us in removing sea urchins from seagrass beds! We will provide maps and gps locations showing where to collect urchins and buckets to put them in. Return buckets filled with urchins to our check-in station and get some swag. We will relocate the urchins to deeper water away from seagrass.

Check-in begins at 8:00 AM, and all urchins must be turned in by 5:00 PM. Please check in with an FWC or DEP employee to get your bucket and sign a volunteer waiver. Urchins should be returned in this bucket with seawater to be safely relocated by FWC or DEP employees.

Rain date is June 5, 2021.

St. Joseph Bay, located in Gulf County in the Panhandle, once contained extensive beds of seagrass and supported an abundant scallop fishery. Residents and visitors enjoyed extensive, pristine seagrass beds and clear bay waters. Summertime recreational scallop harvesting contributed greatly to the local economy. Seagrass beds in the bay are dominated by turtle grass which also provide food for abundant green sea turtles. The scallop fishery has become depleted in recent years, algal blooms are more frequent, and the acreage of seagrass beds has decreased. An overabundance of sea urchins (Lytechinus spp.) continues to destroy turtle grass beds through overgrazing. This project will jump start natural recovery of seagrass by installing exclosures over grazed areas to allow seagrasses to grow back without sea urchin grazing pressure. In addition, sea urchin roundups, public outreach events, will involve citizens to remove sea urchins from active grazing fronts. The animals will be released in deeper areas of the bay at a distance from grazed areas.

This project is a partnership between FWRI and the Central Panhandle Aquatic Preserves of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Staff from both agencies are maintaining the exclosures, monitoring the abundance of sea urchins quarterly, assessing sea grass abundance by in-water and mapping surveys, and measuring water quality monthly.

 

April 2 Let’s G.O. Walk in the Preserve

Let’s G.O. means “Let’s Get Outdoors.” Join a volunteer for a walk on the Island Road, about 1.5 miles round trip. We will meet at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time in the Island Gate parking area on County Road 30 (C30). Unfortunately the sign for Island Gate has been lost. The gate is located 0.9 mile east of the intersection of C30 and Cape San Blas Road, and 0.6 mile west of Money Bayou.

Maps are on our website:   “Maps.”

We’ll learn about interesting native plants and look out for birds and signs of other animals that live in the Preserve.

Children and dogs are welcome. Dogs must be leashed. Please wear a mask and comfortable shoes, bring sunscreen, water, and a hat, and be aware that we may encounter shallow pools of water or mud at spots along the trail.

For questions or reservations, use the Contact Us button on the menu across the top of our home page, or email admin@stjosephbaypreserve.org . Hope to see you this Friday!

April Tram Tour, April 15, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Eastern

The third Thursday of every month, the Buffer Preserve offers a tram tour through the preserve. Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, our visitor center is closed again, and this tour will not include a separate history talk. Attendees will meet directly at the Main Gate parking lot (across the street from the visitor center) at 9:30am.
The tram moves slowly, and our staff will interpret the surroundings while you ride down Treasure Road and Sandridge Road. Remember to bring anything that will make your ride more comfortable: hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellent, raincoat, camera, binoculars, etc. The tram has no roof so be prepared for sun or possibly a light shower. We will not cancel if the rain is light and no lightning is present.
To reserve your spot please email Sandra Chafin at Sandra.Chafin@floridadep.gov. Include the names and number of people in your party.
PLEASE NOTE: Since the visitor center is closed, our bathrooms will not be available. As well, masks are suggested on the tram.

Let’s G.O. walk in the Buffer Preserve, Friday, Feb. 5, 9:00 Eastern

Island Road Trail

Let’s G.O. means “Let’s Get Outdoors.”  Join a volunteer for a walk on the North Spur Road, 1.9 miles round trip.  We will meet at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time in the Main Gate parking lot across the road from the Buffer Preserve Visitor Center, 3915 State Road 30A.  We’ll learn about interesting native plants and look out for birds and signs of other animals that live in the Preserve.

Children and dogs are welcome.  Dogs must be leashed.  Please wear a mask and comfortable shoes, and be aware that we may encounter shallow pools of water or mud at spots along the trail.

Let us know if you plan to attend: use the Contact Us button on the menu across the top of our home page.  Hope to see you this Friday!

January Tram Tour, Thursday, Jan. 21

The third Thursday of every month, the Buffer Preserve offers a tram tour through the preserve.  Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, our visitor center is closed again, and this tour will not include a separate history talk.  Attendees will meet directly at the Main Gate parking lot (across the street from the visitor center) at 9:30am.

The tram moves slowly, and our Environmental Specialist Sophia Fonseca will interpret the surroundings while you ride down Treasure Road and Sandridge Road.  Remember to bring anything that will make your ride more comfortable: hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellent, raincoat, camera, binoculars, etc.  The tram has no roof so be prepared for sun or possibly a light shower.  We will not cancel if the rain is light and no lightning is present.

To reserve your spot please email Sophia at sophia.fonseca@floridadep.gov.  Include the names and number of people in your party.

PLEASE NOTE: Since the visitor center is closed, our bathrooms will not be available.  As well, masks are suggested on the tram.

Festival of Trees at The Joe Center for the Arts, through Dec. 12

See the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves Christmas tree at the Festival of Trees, at The Joe Center for the Arts!  Many organizations and businesses have decorated beautiful and original trees for this display.  Vote for your favorite!  Plus there are special events including a Silent Auction.  For the schedule, see https://thejoecenterforthearts41.wildapricot.org/

201 Reid Avenue, Port Saint Joe/ Wednesday-Saturday, 11-6, except Thanksgiving weekend (closing at 3 on Weds., reopening on Sat.)

December Tram Tour, Dec. 17

WHEN: Thursday, December 17th, 9:30am – 11am

WHERE: Main Gate Trail Entrance

DESCRIPTION: Every third Thursday of the month, the Buffer Preserve offers a tram tour through the preserve.  Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, our visitor center is closed again, and this tour will not include a separate history talk.  Attendees will meet directly at the Main Gate parking lot (across the street from the visitor center) at 9:30am.

The tram moves slowly, and our Environmental Specialist Sophia Fonseca will interpret the surroundings while you ride down Treasure Road and Sandridge Road.  Remember to bring anything that will make your ride more comfortable: hat, sunscreen, water, insect repellent, raincoat, camera, binoculars, etc.  The tram has no roof so be prepared for sun or possibly a light shower.  We will not cancel if the rain is light and no lightning is present.

To reserve your spot please email Sophia at sophia.fonseca@floridadep.gov.  Include the names and number of people in your party.

PLEASE NOTE: Since the visitor center is closed, our bathrooms will not be available.  As well, masks are suggested on the tram.