Janice Jones: Have you research the best way to get to know Florida? 73,000 acres of living laboratory await you at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve. A getaway here is perfect for eco tourists looking to travel lightly, soak up the sunshine states natural side and get to know the locals.
Emily Jane Murray: The GTM research reserve is a good place to visit because you can enjoy some of Floridas more natural habitats, and then you can also stop by the education centre and learn about our current research efforts. Janice Jones: The GTM is a working research facility and part of a nation wide network of protected estuaries. Emily Jane Murray: Estuary is where there river meets the sea, we collect base line data that it will help us track changes every time and things like water quality, sea levels, habitats species. Janice Jones: On this conservation land you too sift your toes through the sand, reel in a big one hit the trail and sneak in some serious education.
Emily Jane Murray: Kids love the exhibit hall because we have a giant whale hanging on the sealing.
Janice Jones: The Environmental Education Centre is packed with interpretive exhibits and aquariums and entertains seekers of all ages with the scavenger hunt. Emily Jane Murray: We also have 10 miles of trails that you can hike, bike, walk, run, ride horses.
Janice Jones: The reserves coastal water caving grounds for the endangered right whale. The beaches boast great ways and majestic views. Emily Jane Murray: Some areas we have dunes that reach up to 40 feet high and not a house inside.
Janice Jones: You can dig into archeological and historical research here at the GTM as well. Emily Jane Murray: On Guana peninsula we have over 5000 years of human occupation, so we have everything form prehistoric shamans to the ruins of historic houses. Janice Jones: Another unique spot in the reserve is here at 30 degrees 8 minutes north latitude, where some historian believe it was just off shore that Juan Ponce de Leon and his fleet may have first spotted the coast of Florida.
The education centers in Ponte Vedra on A1A, theirs is minimal admission fee and they offer special programs like guided hikes, animal presentations and lectures.