December Adventure Quencher: Star Party 2016

On December 17, 2016, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted their annual Star Party. This party was the Reserve’s monthly “Adventure Quencher,” where the public is invited to visit the NERR to participate in activities to become better stewards of the environment, all while having fun!

A record number of 338 guests made it out to the Reserve to partake in all the Star Party fun. This year’s activities included a hayride to the boat launch for stargazing and learning about light pollution, arts and crafts, and a cookie decorating station. Hot chocolate and other warm beverages, as well as a variety of soups, were served on a first come basis.


Guests also participated in listening for screech owls as they followed a knowledgeable guide down our brand-new Savanna Trail boardwalk just behind the Coastal Resources Center. We heard several screech owls call back to us, and one even flew over one of our younger guests!

Santa and his elf made an appearance for pictures with guests, which can be found here:

Star Party 2016 Photos .


Dr. Ayesha Gray celebrates the announcement of being crowned with the crowd's favorite tacky sweater!

Dr. Ayesha Gray celebrates being crowned with the crowd’s favorite tacky sweater!

New to the Star Party were “reindeer games” (many might know this game by “cornhole”) by the oak tree. A homemade LED bucket light lit the area, and kids won prizes for winning the game!

Grand Bay NERR staff also participated in a tacky sweater contest, and the public voted on the winner. This year’s winner was Director, Dr. Ayesha Gray, who wore a mesmerizing “laser kitty” sweater.

This is her third Star Party as Director of the Grand Bay NERR, and she was extremely excited about the event’s turnout. “A tremendous amount of work went into making tonight so above and beyond,” said Dr. Gray. “Connecting with our community is part of what this place is all about and tonight was a terrific success.”

Thank you to all staff, volunteers, and guests for making this such a fantastic and a memorable event!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone,

-Grand Bay NERR Staff



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