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Press Release:


FAU Harbor Branch Open House to Celebrate National Estuaries Day

FORT PIERCE, FL (September 16, 2011) – Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute will opens its gates on Saturday, September 24, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for a day of laboratory and Indian River Lagoon tours, wildlife lectures and family fun in celebration of National Estuaries Day (NED; The event is being held in conjunction with the NED Festival, hosted by the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.  Admission to both events is free, and a shuttle will be available to transfer visitors between the two locations.

Harbor Branch is located on the banks of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), which is considered North America’s most biologically diverse estuary, and much of the event is dedicated to helping visitors understand the IRL better. FAU Harbor Branch scientists will be casting nets into the Lagoon and analyzing the contents at hands-on science activity stations, as well as narrating boat tours ($10 per person) of IRL habitats near Harbor Branch. The lecture schedule includes presentations on FAU’s dolphin photo identification, turtle and shark research efforts, and its dolphin rescue program.

Laboratory tours will provide rare glimpses of the FAU Harbor Branch Marine Mammal Critical Care Center, Aquaculture Park, and Ocean Visibility and Optics Lab. Other family attractions include arts and crafts activities, learning games, inflatable bounce house and slides, and food concessions.

The Smithsonian event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Museum Pointe Park. Activities include an Enviro-Fair with food vendors, live entertainment, a showcase of environmental art, and exhibitors that support research, education, conservation and recreation on the IRL.


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute:
Founded in 1971, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University is a research institute dedicated to exploration, innovation, conservation and education related to the oceans.  The institute specializes in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, ocean optics research, and marine education. For more information, visit

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