‘Wet’ appetites at ELC’s Splish, Splash Lagoon Bash

Zachary and Sailas Hilberer [Photo: Kaila Jones]

Unlike the song, no one was taking a bath, but there was definitely some splish-splashing going on at the Environmental Learning Center’s Splish, Splash Lagoon Bash last Saturday in celebration of National Estuary Week and the ELC’s 31st birthday.

“We just want to be busy all the time; we want people of all ages to keep coming back,” said Barbara Schlitt-Ford, who was recently appointed to the position of executive director, having served as interim executive director since this past April. She is only the third executive director in the nonprofit organization’s history.

Morning activities were more geared to the younger crowd, with two local authors delighting children with their lagoon-centric books: Leslie Maloney read “Mermaid Meg and the Magic Lagoon,” and Heather Kramer, an ELC educator who publishes under the name Heather Feather, read her book, “The Horseshoe Crab’s Crown.”

Youngsters who wanted to get their feet wet could go seining and pond dip netting or, to stay a little dryer, could get close encounters with marine life by dipping their hands into the Touch Tank. Families could also take the little ones on canoe rides through the mangroves – some even in clear, see-through canoes.

For the older crowd, there were several EcoTalks, including one by Paul Fafeita of the Clean Water Coalition and another by Storm Water Management’s Alexis Peralta who spoke about the Osprey Acres Stormwater Park and Nature Preserve.

And the third time was the charm for Mangroves and Malts, a pairing with Walking Tree Brewery, which had twice been postponed due to weather. Walking Tree Brewery provided four different brews – Prop Root, named for the roots of the red mangrove, White Walking Tree, Sandy Feet and Mr. D’s, named after the late Paul Dritenbas – and the ELC provided the guides for tours through the lush mangroves with stops for a cold one along the way.

Going forward, Schlitt-Ford envisions nothing but good things for the ELC and its 64-acre campus, whose primary focus is informing children and adults how to be good stewards of the environment. She wants members of the community to visit the ELC often for a host of activities they offer, including numerous workshops and classes, such as a new Celestial Navigation Workshop series for adults, and to also take advantage of one of the prettiest spots in the area for their events and weddings.

For more information, visit discoverelc.org.

Photos by: Kaila Jones
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