Three-day event part of Christie Administration’s commitment to full restoration of state parks after Superstorm Sandy
Island Beach State Park, one of the crown jewels of the state park system, is hosting the first of three “Harvest The Bay” festival days on Tuesday, July 23, allowing visitors to learn of the park’s educational and interpretive programing while also sampling locally-caught seafood prepared by chefs from participating restaurants.
The first “Harvest The Bay” festival day will take place Tuesday from 3-7 p.m. at Ocean Bathing Area 1 and on August 20, also from 3-7 pm. Attendance is free with park admission.
On October 12, the third and final “Harvest The Bay” event of the season, will culminate with a Local Celebrity Chef Cook-Off.
“These festival days are just another way of highlighting the strength of our nature and interpretive programs at Island Beach State Park, especially as we rebound from Superstorm Sandy,” said State Park Service Director Mark Texel. “In many ways, this programming, which has been buoyed by our partnerships and appreciated by our visitors over the years, has only gotten better since Superstorm Sandy.”
“We invite people to come out to sample some fresh, local seafood and some unique hands-on activities.”
Island Beach State Park, a narrow barrier island stretching for 10 miles between the ocean and Barnegat Bay, partially reopened from the storm in late January and became fully operational in early July.
With its return, Island Beach State Park reinstated a full raft of interactive and educational nature programs. The newest addition to the summer programming at the park are the increasingly popular “Harvest the Bay” educational programs, where participants engage in popular Jersey Shore pastimes like clamming, crabbing, and fishing
“Harvest the Bay” combines seaside recreational enjoyment with active support of commercial industry and local food resources. Park Natural Educators join visitors as they explore clams, crabs, and fish, their role in the Barnegat Bay ecosystem, and how they are impacted by the health of the bay. Participants then learn proper techniques for harvesting these creatures.
The “Harvest The Bay” education programs are made possible through a generous grant from Barnegat Bay Partnership, which will also include implementation of the programs in Spanish.
The Barnegat Bay Partnership is also funding the ‘Harvest the Bay” festival days.
The “Harvest The Bay” educational programs are components of the Island Beach State Park Interpretive Program, which is 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.
The park has also hired new full-time naturalist, Dr. Edward Hale, to enhance the park’s interpretive programming.
“Many visitors come to Island Beach State Park for our beautiful beaches and we welcome them,” said Park Manager Ray Bukowski. “But there is so much more to this park and these Harvest The Bay festival days are a perfect way for people to come out, enjoy some great food and also learn about our tremendous educational and interpretive programming.”
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/
For more information about the “Harvest the Bay” summer programs, or if you own a restaurant that would like to participate in the August or October events, contact Dr. Edward Hale at (732) 793-0506 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Logo courtesy New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection