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Earth Day activities abound in Cape Coral

By Staff | Apr 17, 2015

An abundance of Earth Day activities are being held throughout Cape Coral starting this weekend and carrying on through next week.

Keep Lee County Beautiful Inc. is sponsoring the Great American Cleanup Earth Day Trash Bash at 14 locations throughout Lee County this weekend, including one in the Cape.

Program Coordinator Trish Fancher said the Great American Cleanup program runs from March 1 through May 31.

The Cape Coral location, which is being hosted by Councilmember Rick Williams and Keep Lee County Beautiful board member David Scott, will be held at the Burnt Store ramp located at 230 Burnt Store Road. S., this Saturday.

Fancher said volunteers are asked to arrive at the boat ramp by 8:30 a.m. to check in and pick up supplies. She asks that large groups sign up by visiting www.klcb.org under the Great American Cleanup tab to ensure they have enough supplies on hand.

Fancher said the volunteers will clean a large section of northwest Cape from the Burnt Store ramp area.

One hundred and fifty volunteers are expected to volunteer at that location and about 1,200 volunteers throughout Lee County.

Volunteers will be picking up casual litter and debris, which may include food wrappers, cans and bottles.

“They will pretty much pick up anything,” Fancher said.

When the event was first held in Lee County 60,000 pounds, or 30 tons of trash was collected. Fancher said that number has gone down, which is great news.

“It is decreasing,” she said of the waste. “The education is working and people are taking responsibility of securing solid waste.”

This year she said they have secured two, 20-yard Dumpsters which can accommodate 10 tons of trash.

Fancher said the Earth Day Trash Bash is a great event. She said it provides a great opportunity for students to put in volunteer hours for school, as well as providing a great project for companies to do team building.

“It’s great for individuals to get out and participate in their community and get to know their neighbors,” she said.

For more information, or to locate a specific site, call Fancher at (239) 220-3771.

Rotary Park Environmental Center is also hosting an Earth Day event this Saturday, April 18, as well as on Earth Day itself, Wednesday, April 22.

The Native Plant Sale, now in its 12th year, will feature three vendors from local nurseries that specialize in native plants from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

“People wait for the Native Plant Sale,” Environmental Recreation Specialist Honey Philips said. “We have tons of people come here.”

She said those who are seeking a good selections of plants should come first thing in the morning.

There will be numerous plant experts on hand to help people purchase plants. They also will share information regarding what the right plant would be for the right place.

The four-hour Rain Barrel Workshop, taught by a master gardener, will be held during the sale. Phillips said they have a couple openings left for the workshop. It is $45 per person and includes a rain barrel.

On Earth Day, the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife will host a special butterfly house tour at the park from 10 a.m. to noon. Although the tour is free, donations for the Friends of Wildlife are accepted.

Phillips said the tours are normally offered Monday, Friday and Saturday.

Also on Wednesday, April 22, at 3 p.m. the City of Cape Coral and Lee County Electric Co-Op will donate three more fruit trees for Trafalgar Middle School’s garden. Mayor Marni Sawicki and students will plant the trees that afternoon. The public is invited to attend.

Trafalgar Middle School has 26,000 square feet dedicated to a garden and fruit trees, which helps serve local soup kitchens.

“We wanted to provide fresh vegetables and fruit to local soup kitchens . . . people in need,” Trafalgar Middle School Builders Club Advisor Al Piotter said of the garden that began in August 2014.

Piotter said Bob Feiler and Tom Andrighetti have played a crucial role in the garden and remain very involved. Also students Doodland Martial and Melissa Vu have donated a great deal of time taking care of the garden.

The garden has such staples as tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, collards, eggplant, dill, Swiss chard and basil. It also has 67 fruit trees.

“It’s unbelievable,” Piotter said.

The Garden Club developed out of the Builders Club, which participates in community service projects almost every weekend. Once the garden came to fruition, the community stepped in and provided materials and funds. Individuals have sponsored rows in the garden.

Trafalgar Middle School was recently invited to the White House because they placed first in the state of Florida for the Single Service Project for having a garden that produced one ton of produce. The school also received an award from Kiwanis International for their garden.

Haley Gamez, now a freshman at Mariner High School who played a vital role in the garden last year, her mother, Piotter and one other advisor will travel to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, April 29.

Last year, the garden provided more than 5,000 pounds, or 2.5 tons of food to the soup kitchen. Piotter said they have already provided 3,700 pounds of food to the soup kitchen this year.

Both the Builders Club and the Garden Club take care of the garden on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. Students and members from the community also tend to the garden on Saturday. Piotter said they also have master gardeners, community volunteers and teachers that provide a helping hand in up keeping the garden.

He said they plan to start another 900 square foot garden, as well as a 250 square foot mint garden and a 250 square foot flower garden. He said a student came up with the idea of starting a flower garden, so they could begin donating flowers to Hope Hospice and nursing homes.

The garden has also promoted a garden class at Trafalgar Middle School with 21 students enrolled.

All Aboard Preschool, 1918 S.E. Santa Barbara Pl., decided to host an Earth Day event for its parents and family members from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22.

Director Ann Marie Walsh said Kimberly Cain will be in charge of the first year event. She said since they received a greenhouse they wanted their students to get involved in more earthy activities.

Parents and family members who attend will help plant flowers and vegetables in such items as boots, rain boots, shoes and buckets.

Events also will be going on throughout the county on Wednesday.

The public is invited to an Earth Day celebration on April 22 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Fort Myers Regional Library on the Cornog Plaza. The Lee County Library System will make a special public announcement at 10:30 a.m., which will coincide with a national announcement at that same time.

A variety of environmental programs will take place including an eco-themed storytime for kids beginning at 10:30. A representative from ECHO will discuss sustainable agriculture and world hunger. Lee County Solid Waste and Fort Myers Regional Library will have activities for kids and adults including a planting station, chalk drawings and an eco-craft table.

The Fort Myers Regional Library is at 2450 First St, Fort Myers.

Trafalgar Middle School is at 2120 Trafalgar Pkwy.

Rotary Environmental Park is at 5505 Rose Garden Road.