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MEDIA ADVISORY: April 12, 2012

CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us


~Events pair environmental stewardship with enjoyment of Florida’s natural resources~

Henderson Beach

Clear blue skies and wavering sea oats at Henderson Beach State Park.

TALLAHASSEE–The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Park Service invites Floridians to join in the annual Earth Day celebrations hosted by Florida’s state parks, greenways and trails. From brightening up beaches and beautifying green spaces to recycling races and walks among the wildflowers, events throughout the state offer opportunities to help preserve and celebrate Florida’s rich natural resources.
Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in Earth Day events every year.
Earth Day events in Florida State Parks include:

Northwest Florida

Earth Day Beach Clean-up
April 21, 8 10 a.m.
Henderson Beach State Park
Come be a part of this annual event organized by the Okaloosa Environmental Council and sponsored by the Tourist Development Council and the Okaloosa County Commission. Participants will receive free T-shirts, snacks and drinks while supplies last. Volunteers are asked to wear closed-toe shoes, gloves, a cap and sunscreen.

4th Annual Earth Day Festival & 5K Race
April 21, 8 a.m. 5 p.m.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
This event is open to all and will begin with a Beach Clean-Up from 8 to 10 a.m., followed by the Earth Day Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At 4 p.m., a 5K Race will conclude the annual event. The day-use parking area off of Hwy 30A will be available for participants.

Earth Day Celebration
April 21, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Florida Caverns State Park
Join in a day of environmental awareness and exploration with displays and activities that will include a reptile interpretation area, a native animal exhibit, wildflower walks and guided interpretive hikes on native flora and fauna. This will be a family-friendly event that features an array of activities in the beautiful natural setting of the park.

Northeast Florida

Earth Day Park Clean-up
April 21, 8 – 11 a.m.
Crystal River Preserve State Park
Come assist in the beautification of the park. Staff and volunteers will join together to remove debris from park grounds. This park-wide, family-friendly waste removal effort will ensure an attractive, safe park for visitors and wildlife. Suggested items to bring include water, gloves, sunscreen, bug spray and a snack, if desired. Long pants, a hat and sturdy, closed-toe shoes are also recommended.

Earth Day Observance
April 21, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Event will include educational, interpretive carts and exhibits that will be set up and displayed within the Garden of the Springs and throughout the park. Regular park admission will be charged.

Earth Day Pepper Pull
April 22, 8:30 a.m. – noon
Crystal River Preserve State Park
Staff and participants will restore an 11-acre coastal hammock in the preserve by removing invasive, exotic Brazilian Pepper seedlings by hand. Suggested items to bring include water, gloves, sunscreen, bug spray and a snack, if desired. Long pants, a hat and sturdy, closed-toe shoes are also recommended. Lunch will be provided by Friends of Crystal River State Park for all participants. To register for this event or for more information contact Jon or Stephanie at (352) 563-0450.

Earth Day Shoreline and Beach Clean-up
April 22, 9 – 11 a.m.
Fort Clinch State Park
To celebrate Earth Day, volunteers will help remove trash and debris along a one-mile stretch of shoreline within the park. Minors should be accompanied by an adult. Please bring water, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes.

Exotic Plant Pull
April 22, 9 a.m. – noon
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Celebrate Earth Day by making a difference at this National Natural Landmark. Volunteers will help restore wildlife habitats by removing invasive, exotic plants from the sensitive hammock forests within the park. Please bring lunch or snacks, gloves, sunscreen, bug spray and water. It is recommended to wear a hat, long pants and sturdy shoes.

Earth Day Shoreline Clean-up
April 22, noon – 3 p.m.
Little Talbot Island State Park
Volunteers are invited to show community support by aiding in the clean-up that will help safeguard our fragile marine and estuarine environments. Volunteers will learn about the impacts of marine debris and how to prevent future occurrences. Please bring lunch, gloves, a hat, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, bug spray and water. Volunteers should meet at Pavilion 1 inside the park.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
April 22, 1 – 4 p.m.
Fanning Springs State Park
Fanning and Manatee Springs State Parks and Nature Coast State Trail will host a collaborative park-wide scavenger hunt. Park Ranger Howard Meyer will read a book by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings entitled The Secret River before the hunt begins. The reading will take place on the park stage from 1-1:30 p.m. The hunt will begin immediately afterward. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place participants and all will receive a certificate of participation.

Central Florida

Earth Day Guided Hike and Recycle Relay Race
April 21, 9 a.m. – noon
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Event will include a ranger-led hike on the Gobbler Ridge Trail starting at 9 a.m. Participants will also enjoy the fun of a recycle relay race at 11 a.m.

23rd Annual Earth Day Celebration
April 21–22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Activities will include arts and crafts vendors, living history demonstrations, environmental and cultural booths, live entertainment, nature programs, live animals, games of chance and a large children’s environmental activity center. A variety of food and drink will be sold by vendors and local organizations.

Earth Day Kayaking Festivities
April 22, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Faver-Dykes State Park
Event includes a kayak journey exploring the remote and serene Pellicer Creek from Faver-Dykes State Park. An interpretive naturalist will teach proper kayaking technique and guide the participants on a 3-hour environmental expedition. The cost is $55 per person, which includes admission into the park, guide service and kayaking equipment. Space is limited. For more information contact Chris Kelley at (904) 347-1565 or reserve online at www.RippleEffectEcotours.com.

Southwest Florida

Earth Day Great American Clean-up – Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful
April 21, 8:30 a.m.
Alafia River State Park
Part of a nationwide effort to remove litter from our environment and beautify our nation by beginning with our immediate communities, this event is sponsored by Keep America Beautiful in conjunction with Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful. Volunteers will help to make a visible difference at the park through activities such as litter removal, recycling and improvement programs. Space is limited. To sign up for the Great American Clean-up or for additional information please visit www.khcbonline.org.

Earth Day Great American Clean-up – Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful
April 21, 8:30 a.m. – noon
Hillsborough River State Park
Volunteers will help remove trash and debris from areas throughout the park to celebrate Earth Day. Upon arrival at the park, please notify the staff at the Ranger Station that you’re supporting the clean-up efforts. Participants will meet at parking lot #4, at the state park Blazing Star pavilion. Clean-up event is limited to 50 participants. To sign up for the Great American Clean-up or for additional information, contact Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful at (813) 960-5121.

11th Annual Earth Day Celebration
Koreshan State Historic Site
April 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This family friendly event will include environmental presentations, free kayak rides, children’s activities, a drum circle, live entertainment on a solar powered music stage, organic food vendors, art booths and more. Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Admission is $10 per carload.

23rd Annual Earth Day Celebration
April 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Oscar Scherer State Park
Event includes live music, kid’s activities, environmental booths and more great activities.

Southeast Florida

Earth Day Great American Clean-up – Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful
April 21, 8 – 11 a.m.
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Show that you care about the marine environment by helping to keep it free of litter. Be an environmental steward and join other volunteers working toward a common goal. Supplies will be provided to those who attend. For more information contact Art at (561) 624-6970 or visit online at http://www.keeppbcbeautiful.org/.

Earth Day Tree Planting
April 21, 10 a.m. – noon
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Celebrate Earth Day and help beautify the park’s Pine Grove Campground. This event is for adults and families with children ages 6 and up. Meet in the Pine Grove Campground. For more information or to register, contact the Kimbell Center at (561) 745-5551, or email alexandra.onisko@dep.state.fl.us.

4th Annual Earth Day Celebration
April 21, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Event will include live entertainment, holistic and alternative energy workshops, special discussion sea turtle conservation and volunteer opportunities, presentations from earth-friendly businesses and organizations on cutting-edge environmental issues and sustainable topics and much more. There will also be an extensive dune restoration project which will include the planting of protected sea oats. Native plants will be given away to volunteers who participate in the restoration efforts. For more information contact the park at (954) 564-4521 or visit online at www.EarthDayHughBirch.com.

Earth Day Celebration
April 22, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Barnacle Historic State Park
Celebrate all things green at The Barnacle. Festivities include booths featuring green businesses and local environmental groups and children’s activities. Acoustic music will be provided by Florida Historian-in-Song Grant Livingston from noon until 3 p.m.