Monday, November 30, 2009

Right Whale Festival this Weekend

Dave Wax and Ann Butler | | November 30, 2009

"JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The annual North Atlantic right whale migration is under way in the waters off the First Coast, but some fear the public doesn't know enough about the giant creatures.

Saturday, Dec. 5, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is holding the first annual Right Whale Festival.

It will be at the Sea Walk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The festival is designed to inform the public about the critically endangered whales (there are an estimated 350 left), and how their migration affects our area.

They spend much of the year feeding in waters off New England and Canada, and begin their migration to the warmer waters here in November to give birth and nurse their young.

Our waters, extending up to the South Carolina coast, are the only known birthing area for the North Atlantic right whale.

Those going to the festival will learn about the no-approach rule and how to avoid mother-calf pairs.

Boaters will learn what to look for in open waters to avoid collisions. Biologists specializing in right whales will be on hand to answer any questions.

There is no charge to attend, and there will be live music and kids activities, plus exhibits including arts, crafts and food.

A beach cleanup will begin at 9 a.m. in the area, and anyone wanting to help out is invited.

There will also be a silent auction running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The music will begin at noon."

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