Sandy Hook: This past weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the Ocean Fun Days taking place on the hook. This was the back half of the two-day event which took place the day before at Island Beach State Park. This free two-day event was sponsored largely in part by The Sea Grant Consortium, The Department of Environmental Protection, NOAA, and the Division of Parks and Forestry. Additionally representatives from the American Littoral Society, Jenkinson’s Aquarium, New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG), the Coast Guard, and the Old Guard were all equally represented throughout the day.
By 1:00pm, approximately 1000 plus people were milling around the many great exhibits, and displays. Additionally, there were lines for both the beachcombing 101, and bird walking excursions throughout the day. In addition to the many activities being held on the eastern lawn, both the Marine and Science Consortium and the NOAA station were open to teach visitors about the science behind the local ecosystem that support estuaries, bays, and the ocean.
Midway through the day, U.S. Representative, Frank Joseph Pallone, Jr. (D) made an appearance to welcome attendees and to hand out the Stew Tweed Fisheries and Agricultural award to both Emily Casper of MAST and Jessica Valenti of Richard Stockton State College.
Throughout the day visitors were encouraged to think about the impact of habitat development, resource monitoring, climate change, ocean acidification, and habitat mapping as they went from location to location. Volunteers and staffers made sure that everyone in attendance had plenty of information about these themes and answered any question they may have had about the environment and importance of the ocean.
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By 2:00 the large crowd had started to subside. 2:30 marked the last hermit crab race of the day and final call for pictures with the Ocean Fun Days mascots. By 3:00pm the event had ended, but many people decided to stay and enjoy the beautiful weather, rent a bike, or just enjoy their day on the hook.