Tag Archives: buffer preserve

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

Tram Tours running again!


Beginning Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
And continuing on each THIRD Thursday of the month.

We’re so excited to have our tram tours running again! Space is limited so please email our Environmental Specialist Sophia Fonseca to reserve your spot. Be sure to include how many individuals are attending.  Send Email

The tour is open wagon with no roof. Please bring hats and sunglasses to protect from the sun. The tour will begin on Treasure Road across the street from the Preserve Center. Looking forward to seeing you!  Learn More

Our Friends group land donation has made the news!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 24, 2019
Land Donated to State of Florida in Gulf County
~Donation will preserve undeveloped tracts of land for native plants and animals~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands, acting on behalf of the
Governor and the Board of Trustees, announces the donation of a valuable piece of conservation land to the St. Joseph Bay State
Buffer Preserve in Gulf County. The 7.23 acre-property was donated by the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves. This land is part of the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Florida Forever Project.
“This land will help protect one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in northwest Florida and one of the least disturbed coastal
bay systems statewide,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “We thank the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves for their donation,
partnership and dedication to protecting Florida’s unique natural resources.”
“Acquiring these lots will be very beneficial to the Buffer Preserve. Our staff constantly monitors the natural habitats of many plants and animals,” said St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserves manager Dylan Shoemaker. “This acreage contains wetlands that are extremely
important to cleaning waters which drain to the bay.”
Managed by DEP’s Office of Reslience and Coastal Protection, St. Joseph Bay Buffer Project will protect the water quality and
productive seagrass beds of the bay by protecting the undeveloped land around it, ensuring the survival of dozens of rare plants. The
land will become a buffer while providing opportunities for the public to enjoy the natural beauty of the bay.
“As President, and along with the entire Board, we are thrilled to be able to purchase these lots,” said President of Friends of the St.
Joseph Bay Preserves Lynda F. White. “One of our major goals has been to assist in every way possible to increase the Preserves’ acreage. By doing so, we are investing in the future of St. Joseph Bay and St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve.”
Florida Forever is the state’s conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving our natural resources and renewing our commitment to conserve our natural and cultural heritage. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship.

Preserves Hosts Students

Preparing to use the telescope with Lillian Hughes and Setting out on a tram tour with Dylan Shoemaker

Rooms at the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve have stayed nearly full this spring with several college student groups staying at the Buffer while doing research in the Buffer or Aquatic Preserve.

The Buffer Center has also hosted groups of preschool, elementary, and middle school students who visit with their teachers. During a morning visit, the children get a tram tour, several hands-on activities to help them learn about conservation, and snacks. We are very fortunate to have Sandra Chafin as the Buffer Preserve’s administrative assistant. She taught school for more than a decade and knows how to keep children busy and learning. Many volunteers from Friends helped with the school groups.

Friends to Purchase Land for the Preserve

Twenty-five quarter-acre lots adjacent to the north border of the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve came on the market in late 2016.
Dylan Shoemaker, Preserve Manager, told the Friends Board of Directors about this rare opportunity to expand the land area of the
Buffer. Dylan and the Buffer’s ecologist, Allix North, walked over the lots and rated them according to their potential benefit to the Buffer’s conservation efforts. Most of the land is too wet for  building; it is near State Road 30A in Simmons Bayou but has no road access. The Friends Board and the bank managing the sale have agreed on a contract and set the closing date for late April: Friends will buy 20 of the lotsfor $50,000 (leaving over $40,000 in the Friends’ treasury). Friends will transfer ownership to the Buffer Preserve and the State. All Friends members should celebrate this real and lasting gift to one of our Preserves!

Fire Week at the Buffer Preserve!

It was Fire Week at the Buffer Preserve! A Burn Party!! Staff and Trainees from the Prescribed Fire Training Center helped and trained for four days this week. It was a wonderful experience with weather conditions cooperating and providing the right conditions to do the Rx burning. Others help the manager and staff of the Preserve with burns and training. Caitlin from ANERR and the South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department, Volunteers from Tallahassee and St. George Island, T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula and Bald Point State Park are some that assist. FL Forest Service personnel are an important component when the Buffer Preserve conducts a prescribed burn! Many thanks to all of the agencies who assist us

In Honor of Roy Ogles

In Honor of Roy Ogles Roy Ogles  was the first manager of the Buffer Preserve, and since then he has been the chef for Bay Day Low Country Shrimp Boils for many years. He has now retired from that volunteer position. The Preserve and the Friends want to honor him by dedicating the new webcam on the observation tower to Roy Ogles in recognition of his many years of service to the organization. Roy is already an honorary lifetime member of Friends.