The third and final Harvest the Bay festival of 2013 will be held Saturday, October 12, at Island Beach State Park, giving visitors another opportunity to learn about the clams, crabs and fish that are important to the ecology and economy of Barnegat Bay.
The festival’s finale will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ocean Bathing Area 1, rain or shine. The event is free with park admission.
“Our first two Harvest the Bay festivals over the summer proved to be really popular and interactive events that allowed visitors to not only get a unique perspective of Barnegat Bay, but to also get a better sense of the interpretive programming we have available at the park,” said State Park Service Director Mark Texel. “This is also our last scheduled event for what has truly been a great year at Island Beach State Park. We have made a tremendous recovery from Superstorm Sandy and that’s reason enough to celebrate.”
The festival is designed to foster public appreciation of the bay’s natural environment and the commercial fishing industry that depends on this watershed. Park naturalists will teach visitors about the role clams, crabs, and fish play in the Barnegat Bay ecosystem, and how they depend on a healthy bay. Visitors will also learn proper techniques for harvesting these resources and will be able to sample locally caught seafood.
New Jersey-based rock band, The Chillers, will also perform throughout the festival.
Island Beach State Park, one of the crown jewels of the state park system, saw strong attendance numbers in its first summer since Superstorm Sandy. A full raft of interactive and educational nature programs, including the Harvest the Bay series, were installed after the park re-opened earlier this year. A new park naturalist was also hired. The park hosted its first two Harvest the Bay events on July 23 and on August 20.
The Harvest the Bay education programs are made possible through a generous grant from the Barnegat Bay Partnership, which also provides the programs in Spanish. The Barnegat Bay Partnership is providing funding support for the series.
Island Beach State Park interpretive programs are supported by a partnership between the New Jersey State Park Service, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, the Friends of Island Beach State Park, Save Barnegat Bay, Ocean County Vocational-Technical School’s MATES Academy, ReClam the Bay and the New Jersey Beach Buggy Association.
To learn more about Island Beach State Park, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/island.html
To learn more about educational programs at Island Beach State Park this year, visit: www.conservewildlifenj.org/education/programs/islandbeach/