Earth Day, celebrated April 22, is the largest global celebration recognizing the importance of conserving and protecting our planet. The Conservancy of Southwest Florida hosted its 2018 Earth Day Festival to celebrate with the local and regional community. Typically, 800-1,200 people frequent the Conservancy during its Earth Day Festival and this year guests were fortunate to have sunshiny weather with a breeze. The purpose of the festival was to connect people in our community to Southwest Florida’s land, water, and wildlife.
“We cannot take these things for granted: the beautiful beaches, the abundant wildlife, the ability to go fishing,” President and CEO Robert J. Moher said. “These are the things we work to protect and today is a fun way but important way to engage the community that we all need to be in this together and take action if we want to keep protecting our land, water, and wildlife.”
Accommodating our area’s growing ecotourism, the Conservancy’s nature center stays open almost 365 days of the year. It is a resource for both the local and visiting community, including snowbirds.
From the Everglades to the Gulf of Mexico, our area is globally significant. There is marine life, like the loggerhead sea turtle; aerial animals, like the bald eagle; and land creatures, such as the Florida panther, one of the most endangered mammals in the world. When visitors learn about Southwest Florida and the Everglades, a prized, beautiful national asset, they also become aware that the area is in trouble. The message is clear: Everyone should be concerned about our local environment. The Conservancy is just one of the many players in that effort.
At the Earth Day celebration, there were 65 vendors and tents that ranged from food to face painting and arts and crafts, to informational environmental displays. A total of 65 staff members and volunteers were ready to help guests, engaging them to raise awareness of our ecosystems.
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck type of day here at the Conservancy,” Communications & Marketing Director Catherine Bergerson stated. “We have a team educating about local and state and federal level actions. A science team to describe the research we do that involves sea turtles, pythons, and mangroves. Hospital members to explain the kinds of rehabilitation work they do and to educate people how to prevent injury to our native wildlife. Of course, the entire education team are the stars of the day by connecting the community to the reasons why we love Southwest Florida.”
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Earth Day goal is for people to have fun and learn more about what is unique and special about Southwest Florida.
For more information about Earth Day and the Conservancy’s efforts to maintain our natural environment, visit www.conservancy.org or call 239-262-0304.