Environmentalism—a rather broad philosophy and social movement; at its crux, an attempt to balance relations between humans and the various natural systems on which they depend in such a way that all the components are accorded a proper degree of sustainability.
According to Zach McKenna (owner) of St. Augustine EcoTours, St. Augustine FL and the coastal southeast is a spot unlike anywhere else in the world. It is an incubator of sorts, where 70% of all the life on the east coast originates. It is home to over 300 species of birds, from bald eagles to white pelicans to a pink bird called the roseate spoonbill only found in South America, Florida, and recently noted to be making their way to South Carolina; unusual jellyfish; sea turtles that come to lay eggs; hundreds of dolphins; the rare manatee; and further off shore, whales in the winter (females come from Nova Scotia to have their calves here, as the shallow warm waters of St. Augustine’s estuary protect them from the orcae.
McKenna says that St. Augustine EcoTours was founded as an educational resource for the local and extended community and started the first major population study of the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin in our area. All research is noninvasive and internally funded. It is an invaluable resource to our community with regard to efforts for marine mammal protection and wildlife rescue. A percentage of income is contributed to local, national, and international environmental organizations. “Our continuing goal is to give back to the community through research and presentations. In the future, we will take this a step further by building a program that offers under-privileged schools the opportunity to get on the water for natural observation experiences.”
St. Augustine EcoTours offers three adventures –kayaks, sailing, and research boat. All guides are interpretive naturalists and either/or certified kayak instructors or U.S. Coat Guard-licensed boat captains and will explain to you the elements of the estuary. These passionate guides are as good with people as with animals and will customize the trip to the interests of the group.” Our guides don't just tell you what you're seeing but WHY it's here”.
Experience is not required for the two-hour guided tandem kayak nature tour. A brief paddling clinic will get you comfortable with your paddle and kayak. Before getting into the boats, your guide will instruct you on the basics of how to hold and use your paddle in the most efficient way. You'll do a little kayak-specific stretching while you get comfortable with the equipment on land and learn the safety protocol. Then your guide will take you on a paddle under the St Augustine FL Bridge of Lions, past the Castillo de San Marcos, and into the saltwater marshes of the historic Mission grounds. If you’re up for a backcountry tour, your might enjoy Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Guana River - Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moses Creek Conservation Area, Faver-Dykes State Park, or Moultrie Creek.
The research boats will take you on a dolphin, birding, and nature tour, up to six passengers. This 90-minute trip explores the rivers and creeks surrounding St Augustine FL and combines dolphin and bird watching with marine ecology, historic sights, and an amazing boat ride. You’ll watch for wildlife in distress and maybe even get to hear the dolphins or a school of shrimp by way of the research hydrophones. This trip is guaranteed to excite and to educate!
If a 2-hour sailing adventure floats your boat, St. Augustine EcoTour’s 27-foot catamaran has comfortable seating in the back and a trampoline up front for lying between the sea and the sun. Learn to sail or lie back and relax!
St. Augustine EcoTours is just across the street from this St Augustine bed and breakfast. We have taken each adventure ourselves and will will be happy to help you decide which excursion is right for you and make the arrangements; you need only ask!
At Bayfront Westcott House, we will coordinate your every wish and spoil you every second.