Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
PRESS RELEASE: Oct. 1, 2015
CONTACT: Patrician Price, 904-823-4506

 ~The Blackfly fundraising festival focuses on conservation practices~
Pictured (left to right) : Gary Raulerson, Andrea Noel, Michael Shirley, Shannon Rininger, James Ferguson, Vaughn Cochran, Jean Cochran and Nikki Dix 
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Friends of the GTM Reserve received a donation of $2,200 from Blackfly Outfitter, a full service fly shop in Jacksonville, Florida. The contribution was presented by Vaughn Cochran, owner of Blackfly Outfitter, Jean Cochran and James Ferguson to Michael Shirley, director of the GTM Research Reserve, who accepted on behalf of Friends of the GTM Reserve. 
"I believe I speak for the Friends of the GTM Reserve when I say that we welcome Blackfly Outfitter to help us support and enhance environmental education, stewardship of natural and cultural resources, and scientific research here at the reserve," said Michael Shirley.

Blackfly raised the donated funds about a month ago through its Flood Tide Festival. This event celebrates the start of the flood tide season and educates the local fly fishing community about the proper ways to enjoy the marsh, with conservation practices in mind. 

"This year was the second annual festival," said Vaughn Cochran, artist, entrepreneur and founder of the Blackfly brand. "Since last year's festival, the event has grown substantially and we hope it will continue to grow and spread a conservation-minded attitude throughout the surrounding communities."

The Blackfly brand is represented by Blackfly Outfitter, one of the top fly shops in the U.S., Blackfly The Restaurant located in St. Augustine, and Blackfly Lodge in Abaco, Bahamas. For more information about Blackfly Outfitter, visit

For more information on how to become a member of Friends of the GTM Reserve, click here

About the GTM Research Reserve
The GTM Research Reserve is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the nation focused on researching, educating and protecting the natural biodiversity and cultural resources within the estuary. It is managed by Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Environmental Education Center is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, 32082. For more information about the GTM Research Reserve, please call 904-823-4500 or visit