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‘Harvest the Bay’ Festival: Free Tours, Exhibits at Island Beach State Park Saturday

Marshes along Island Beach State Park's bayfront. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Marshes along Island Beach State Park’s bayfront. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Island Beach State Park will host its annual Harvest the Bay Festival Saturday, an event which includes free seining and clamming tours, interactive exhibits and more on the bay’s ecology.

The festival is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ocean Bathing Area 1 pavilion. The event is free with park admission.

According to its organizers, Harvest the Bay is designed to foster public appreciation of the bay’s natural environment and the recreational and commercial fishing industries that depend on the watershed. Park naturalists will provide free clamming and seining tours, while also teaching visitors about the role of clams, crabs and fish in the Barnegat Bay ecosystem, and how they depend on a healthy bay.

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“We are very eager to host Harvest the Bay again this year, especially after seeing how popular the event has become with our summer visitors,” said State Park Service Director Mark Texel in a statement. “This is a great chance for kids and families to participate in interactive events, while also learning about the importance of Barnegat Bay to our environment, and to our local communities.”

Visitors will also learn proper techniques for harvesting bay resources and will be able to sample locally caught seafood.

The Harvest the Bay education program was developed in 2013. Island Beach State Park interpretive programs are created and run through a partnership of the Department Environmental Protection’s Division of Parks and Forestry, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and the Friends of Island Beach State Park, organizers said.

A rain date of August 15 is set in the event of inclement weather.

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