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Island agencies work with community to make Earth Day every day

By Staff | Apr 17, 2009

It’s Earth Day tomorrow.

For some this day set aside every year at the end of April means an ordinary day in the park. But for others the day symbolizes hope and change for making the planet a healthier place to live.

Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day created the idea to help inspire decision makers to pay attention to the environment.

On a local level, area agencies are holding events this Saturday to bring awareness to maintaining and protecting the planet. The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge’s theme for Earth Day is Reconnect: Earth, Family & Fitness.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Ranger Toni Westland will be working with families at “Ding’s” Earth Day events on Saturday, April 18th.

Families will be able to participate in bike rides at “Ding”, family yoga and nature journaling for the children.

Education and fun will be the main conduit to sharing the importance of taking care of the Earth.

“I think we should do this more often than one day a year,” Westland said.

In addition to protecting the Earth, Westland said getting families together outdoors is key to keeping children healthy and off the couch.

“We’re trying to reconnect families,” Westland said.

There will be family fitness activities at “Ding” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free bike rentals and tram rides will be available to explore nature at “Ding”. Ding’s concessionaire the Tarpon Bay Explorers will have kayaks available for touring the waters as well.

At the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation Earth Day will be packed with lectures and activities surrounding the use of solar energy.

At 10:30 a.m. folks will be able to listen to a talk about the use of solar energy. And in the afternoon, those interested in learning how to put a solar unit together will have the opportunity at a solar workshop. Cost for the workshop is $25. There are limited seats available.

Solar energy is believed to be key to preserving the environment to agencies such as SCCF.

“As a community we can make a really big difference and focus on solar energy,” said Dee Serage-Century, SCCF habitat coordinator. “I think it’s one of the most important things we can do.”

Some residents are already taking the plunge into solar living. John and Cathy McCabe of Captiva recently made 80 percent of their home solar. The couple received hefty rebates for transitioning to solar based energy, Serage-Century said.

Other families are gearing up to have solar based homes.

“It’s a good time to do it,” Serage Century said.

Other agencies such as People United to Restore our Rivers and Estuaries (PURRE) just want people to be aware on Earth Day and everyday the importance of maintaining the Earth – specifically the waters.

“If people thought that way on a daily basis we wouldn’t have to have an Earth Day,” said Maureen Valiquette, vice chair of PURRE.

Through working with decision makers and politicians the PURRE agency is striving to keep bring the local waters back to the unpolluted state they were years ago.

The Sanibel School’s environmentally-minded group The Green Team will be onhand at SCCF. The Green Team will also be holding a Green Team meeting at the school on Tuesday, April 21 at 2:15 p.m. They will be discussing starting a Green Board and seeking members. The meeting is open to the community. The Green Team embraces the environment by tending to its organic vegetable garden on the school grounds.

“I wish everybody knew everyday is Earth Day,” said Green Team leader Tylor Compton.