FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Apr. 28, 2014
DEP PROVIDES STATE PARK PASSES TO NEW U.S. CITIZENS
~Earth Day and the importance of environmental awareness highlighted at special naturalization ceremony~
ORLANDO - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection participated in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Special Naturalization Ceremony in honor of Earth Day Friday. This special keynote address given by DEP Central District Director Jeff Prather was delivered to a crowd of nearly 250, including 83 new citizens representing 36 countries. The keynote address followed the Administration of the Oath of Allegiance, which is the final step in the citizenship process.
“When we as individuals start to reduce the amount of energy and water used, and the amount of waste generated, we get smart on the type of products we use,” Prather said to attendees. “We become leaders within our own houses, neighborhoods, workplaces and communities, and we will make a difference in our local environment. That is the first step in making bigger changes regionally, nationally and globally.”
Prather further advised attendees, “We’re relying on you to become engaged and informed as residents of Florida and the U.S. We want you to be interested in and invested in your community. A big part of that community, especially here in the beautiful state of Florida, is our environment, that includes the 161 state parks open to the public.”
As the new citizens of the U.S. were awarded their certificate, they were also given Florida State Park passes and encouraged to visit Florida’s award-winning state parks. This is the first time the department has participated in a naturalization ceremony, but the partnership is one that can potentially grow in the future. The department will be participating in future ceremonies to encourage environmental stewardship of the new U.S. citizens and Florida residents.