Earth Day is to be commemorated around the globe April 22, but in the Florida Keys & Key West, surrounded by a national marine sanctuary and paralleled by the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef, celebrations take place before, on and after the official date.
LIST OF EVENTS:
- Wednesday, April 22: Join Florida Keys Community College students for a clean up of Stock Island followed by a celebration of the Earth. Members of the Environmental Club, the Scuba Club, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society will lead activities that start at 9 a.m. on the Key West Campus and return back to campus for a barbeque at 2 p.m. All are invited to participate in any or all portions of the day’s events. For information about supporting this student effort, please contact Emily Drummond at 305-809-3207 or email Emily.Drummond@fkcc.edu.
- Wednesday, April 22: Earth Day Water Conservation Fair from 1 to 5 p.m. at Founders Park, MM 87, invites guests to learn how to conserve water at home and work. Meet with representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, the FIU Extension Service and Islamorada’s Landscape Advisory Committee. For more information and to sign-up to make your own rain barrel, contact Mary Swaney at 305-664-6411.
- Wednesday, April 22: The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, located at 5210 College Road, will be open to the public for three extra hours on Earth Day, April 22. Though the facility usually closes at 4 p.m., it is to stay open until 7 p.m. and offer free admission for visitors and families to picnic or enjoy the lush tropical surroundings.
- Thursday, April 23: Volunteers can join Marathon’s Dolphin Research Center to collect discarded trash, monofilament fishing line and other debris at Tom’s Harbor Bridge, MM 62, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. Participants should wear hats, shoes and clothes that can get wet or dirty and bring a reusable cup, bug repellent, sunscreen and a cutting tool. Dolphin Research Center will supply water, trash bags and gloves.The cleanup will begin on the south side of the bridge. For more information, call Courtney Coburn at 305-289-1121, Ext. 231.
- Saturday, April 25: Bahia Honda State Park, located in the Lower Keys at MM 36.8, is to host its 20th annual Earth Day Celebration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees can expect live music, food and fun for the whole family. Local environmental groups are to have exhibits and interactive activities, Children can get their faces painted, participate in a sand sculpture contest and play games. In addition, guests can create a fish print wall hanging or print a T-shirt or tote bag that they bring to the event. Admission to the event is free with regular park admission.
- Every day: Visitors who want to do something positive for the environment beyond Earth Day, and add an enriching element to their next Florida Keys vacation, can connect and get involved with “voluntourism” opportunities through www.keysvoluntourism.com or www.fla-keys.com/volunteer. The sites provide direct links to Florida Keys charities, nonprofit organizations and foundations — all dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of human and animal life in the island chain — that are seeking volunteers.