Camp Vester returns to Florida Gulf Coast University

Reporter: Annalise Iraola Writer: Elyssa Morataya
Published: Updated:

Hurricane Ian essentially closed Camp Vester after it almost destroyed the Florida Gulf Coast University facility.

“The easiest way to tell is if you look at the building, you see the cross beam that’s going parallel to the ground. The water touched that,” said Adam Catasus, a research and education coordinator with the Vester field station.

“All the first floors of all the buildings were basically destroyed. And it took a long time to get everything rebuilt,” said Mike Parsons, a professor of Marine Science at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Now is the first time since Ian that middle schoolers have come to Camp Vester at FGCU’s Vester field station.

“Basically, it’s just getting these kids [the] hands-on experience. In the water around the water, everything to do with our oceans estuaries, beaches, mud,” said Parsons.

This week, Camp Vester is in full swing and the kids are back to learn and grow.

Here, FGCU researchers carry out samples of the soil so that the kids can learn what the different layers mean.

The rainy weather kept Camp Vester on land for the day, but the skills and knowledge these kids learned will stick with them for years to come.

“So we will get kids from up north and other places. They get to experience what we have here in beautiful Southwest Florida as well,” said Parsons.

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