More than 360 people visited the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve to observe the Bay Day celebration on Saturday.


More than 360 people visited the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve to observe the Bay Day celebration on Saturday.



The event, run by the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves, raised money and welcomed guests for Tram tours that sought out wildflowers and butterflies and were led by preserve manager Dylan Shoemaker.



The “Deal Tract Adventure” taught hikers about the history of the Buffer Preserve and the importance of the bay’s natural resources, and the “Explore the Shore of St. Joseph Bay” took adventurers wading at Eagle Harbor.



Numerous walking tours to watch for birds and enjoy the views were also held across the 5,000-plus acre Buffer Preserve.



“Every tour was packed,” said Shoemaker. “Everyone had a good time and we had a really great response.



“The birding and exploration tours out on the Cape were a lot of fun.”



Shoemaker said that the highlight of the event for him was taking the Buffer Preserve’s former manager on a tour.



A Low Country Boil served up shrimp, sausage, corn and other goodies to hungry attendees.



“We were pleased with the response,” said preserve secretary Sandra Chafin. “The food was great and most of our tours were full.



“We called it a success.”



In October 2013, Bay Day suffered its first cancellation due to bad weather, but Chafin said that she was already thinking of the next Bay Day in October and has set up a series of rain dates in case the weather decides not to cooperate again.



“I’m making plans,” said Chafin. “We’re planning more activities to get more people out to the preserves.”



More than 50 volunteers helped serve food, direct traffic and help even attendees get around and Shoemaker said that he’s always on the lookout for excited and enthusiastic volunteers who want to get outside and come up with new and fun ideas.



The Friends group, a non-profit supporting the missions of the Preserves, boasts over 200 members and is growing. The next official meeting will be held from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. ET on Feb. 22 at the Buffer Preserve lodge. Chili will be served and those looking to join the organization are invited to attend.