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Celebrate National Estuaries Week!

National Estuaries Week will be observed this year from September 16 to 23. Each year, this celebration highlights these incredible ecosystems and the benefits estuaries provide. One important benefit, recreational opportunities, is especially important to physical and mental health. This year we are encouraging you to get out and explore your estuary to enjoy these benefits!

Thank you to all the photographers who participated in the 2021 National Estuaries Week photo contest. View this year’s winning photos and honorable mentions.

Go Explore!

The 30 national estuarine research reserves are yours to explore. Get outside and go hiking, biking, kayaking, or birding—or another self-guided activity—to see what lies within the waters or on the trails. Check with your local reserve for details on closures, safety measures, and adjusted hours. Below are some additional ways to get involved:

  • Visit the Restore America’s Estuaries map to find an event to participate in. Register your virtual or in-person event so others can join you.

  • Join a National Estuarine Research Reserve System friends group. Local friends groups are private nonprofit citizen organizations established to support and enhance environmental education, stewardship of natural and cultural resources, and scientific research of specific research reserves through volunteer initiatives, citizen involvement, and community partnerships. Find a reserve system citizen-support organization near you.

  • Sponsor a local naturalist or historian to provide an in-person or virtual guided tour or lecture.

  • Sign up for a monitoring or stewardship program, such as volunteering to help with sea turtles, an oyster restoration project, or a terrapin tally. Check with a reserve near you to see what you can do.

  • Find resources for highlighting estuaries in the classroom at coast.noaa.gov/estuaries. Many reserves are providing virtual lessons, Facebook Live events, YouTube videos, and other virtual education activities.

  • Follow #EstuariesWeek on social media to join the conversation and post photos of what you #Explore within your estuary.

About National Estuaries Week

National Estuaries Day began in 1988 to promote the importance of estuaries and the need to protect them. In partnership with the National Estuaries Program, National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, Restore America’s Estuaries, and many other organizations, we have extended the festivities to a whole week. National Estuaries Week is an annual celebration and campaign to increase public awareness of estuaries and to encourage people to become involved in the protection of these important natural resources.