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Celebrate National Estuaries Week!

National Estuaries Week will be observed this year from September 19 to 26. Each year, this week is a celebration of these incredible ecosystems and the benefits estuaries provide, including recreational opportunities, which are especially important to physical and mental health. And these opportunities in the National Estuarine Research Reserves, parks, and other outdoor spaces wouldn’t be possible without our coastal heroes, who are still reporting to duty to keep these spaces maintained and safe. Let’s take some time this week to celebrate our coastal heroes. The reserves and partners may have adjusted the ways they are celebrating this year, but check with your local reserve to see what they have in store throughout the week.

Don’t forget to participate in our Estuaries Week photo contest! Whether you are able to visit a National Estuarine Research Reserve to snap new photos, or have some from a previous visit, submit your best 10 to the contest! Find inspiration by checking out the 2019 winning photos.

Go Explore!

While some reserves are accessible via virtual exploration, others are currently open for visitors interested in hiking, biking, kayaking, birding, and other self-guided activities. Check with your local reserve for details on closures, safety measures, and adjusted hours. Below are some additional ways to get involved:

  • 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 a virtual guided tour or lecture.

  • Sign up for a monitoring or stewardship program, such as being a sea turtle volunteer or helping with 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. Post photos of your own #EstuaryHeroes.

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.