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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Think Earth Day Every Day

Apr 01, 2017 01:14PM ● By Sandra Murphy


The federal Every Student Succeeds Act, passed in December 2015 to take effect in the 2017-2018 school year, is the first law in U.S. history to include language that supports environmental education. Plans call for it to be integrated with current state standards, graduation requirements, teacher development and assessment, funding sources and policy action steps. offers lesson plan ideas for students. For example, students from third grade through high school might collect their household junk mail and explore ways to reduce it. Those in kindergarten through eighth grade may create a binder of information on endangered species that includes maps, animal facts and threats to their survival, exploring causal interconnections throughout the planet. Students can also build a cafeteria compost pile or find ways to improve their school’s recycling program.

Kathleen Rogers, president of the nonprofit Earth Day Network, on, says, “We need to promote environmental consciousness into our children’s curricula so they are able to analyze problems, think critically, balance needs and take informed action.”

Earth Day isn’t just one day. Aware citizens can take a rewarding action every day. Help Southwest Florida celebrate and forward its progress toward sustainability at these local Earth Day 2017 events.

The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens WILD for the Planet

9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 1

One of more than 100 U.S. accredited zoos and aquariums participating in North America’s largest combined Earth Day celebration, conservation groups and local businesses with a green focus will discuss living more sustainably. Kids will get free Earthfriendly gifts from participating partners and guests can test their skills at the Trash Challenge, plant a seed to take home and more.

Free for Collier County residents. Location: 1590 Goodlette Rd., Naples. For more information, call the Info ZooLine at 239-262-5409 or visit

Earth Day Re-Use and Recycle Roundup

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, April 13

Goodwill Industries will celebrate Earth Day by encouraging area residents to bring clothing, electronics, shoes, books, household items, computers and cell phones to donate. Free shredding of documents is offered by Goodwill Secure Shred and residents can discard unused, unnecessary or expired medicines with safe disposal provided by Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Cabinet. Hazardous household chemicals, rechargeable batteries, paints, used motor oil and fluorescent bulbs are also accepted for collection by Collier County Solid Waste Management.

Location: Goodwill Towne Centre parking lot, 3579 Tamiami Tr. E., Naples. For more information, call 239-995- 2106 ext. 2213 or 239-252-7575.

Earth Day Presentation and Guided Walk on Sanibel

11 a.m., Friday, April 21

Participants can enjoy a guided trail walk through the interior wetlands and mid-island ridges of the Center Tract while listening to a discussion of native habitats, natural and cultural history, and preservation efforts. Meet at the Nature Center and proceed to the trails.

Cost: $5 for non-members and free to members and children. Location: Sanibel- Captiva Conservation Foundation, 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Rd., Sanibel. For more information, call 472-2329 or visit

House of Gaia Can’t Stop the Feeling

6 to 8 p.m., Friday, April 21

Children, ages 6 to 12, can celebrate Earth Day in style with a Glow Dance. Hosted by a DJ, participants can dress up and enjoy face painting, music, dancing and celebrate life together. Parents can drop kids off or stay. Healthy snacks will be available.

Cost: $10 per child and $5 for each adnatural awakenings April 2017 31 ditional siblings. Location: 1660 Trade Center Way, Ste. 1, Naples. For more information, call 239-272-6152 or visit

Pepper Ranch Preserve Guided Hike

9 a.m., Saturday, April 22

The 2,512-acre Conservation Collier preserve property was acquired to help protect and restore the native habitats for the benefit of wildlife, providing aquifer recharge and nature-based education and recreation for residents.

Cost: free. Location: 6315 Pepper Rd., Immokalee. For more information or to register, call 239-252-2961.

Lee County Great American Cleanup

9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 22

Keep Lee County Beautiful recruits volunteers, site captains, area managers and local sponsors to foster unity and strengthen bonds through beautification and improvement efforts across the county and is part of the nationwide Great American Cleanup effort. Projects may include community gardens, habitat restoration, invasive plant removal, litter-free events, litter cleanups, landscape maintenance and planting, playground/park equipment restoration and tree plantings.

Location of sites and event dates vary. For more information or to register, call 239-334-3488 or visit

Rain Barrel Workshop Native Plant Sale

9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 22

Choosing native plants for the yard can save time, money and work because they are adapted to our dry winters and hot, rainy summers. Rain barrels save money and resources by gathering and storing rainwater safely for yard watering. Lee County master gardeners will answer questions at the workshop (until noon) and the sale.

Admission is free; workshop: $45 includes barrel. Advance registration and payment is required. Location: Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Rd., Cape Coral. For more information or to RSVP, call 239-549- 4606 or visit

Arbor Day Celebration

9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 22

Featuring native plants and trees for sale, the Arbor Day Celebration includes demonstrations and exhibits. Visitors can enjoy live music, a poster contest, a giant slide, free trees and free ice cream for the first 50 kids.

Location: Riverside Park, 10450 Reynolds St., off Old U.S. 41. For more information, call the Tree Advisory Board Liaison at 239-949-6262 or visit

Earth Day Buy One, Get One Sale

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 22

In celebration of Earth Day, the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center will offer buy-one, get-one-free admission.

Cost: $5 for adult and $3 for children ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Cannot be combined with other offers. Location: 300 Tower Rd., Naples. For more information, call 239-530-5972 or visit

Celebrate Earth Day at Naples Botanical Garden

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 22

Origami in the Garden is on exhibit through April 23.

Cost: Free for members and children 3 and under. $14.95 for non-member adults and $9.95 children ages 4 to 14. Location: 4820 Bayshore Dr. For more information, call 239-643-7275 or visit

Earth Day at the Refuge at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 22

Visitors can bike or hike Wildlife Drive for free from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., watch Bag It! Is Your Life Too Plastic?, a free film, from 11 to 11:45 a.m. and participate in a family craft and story from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. The refuge will celebrate the 47th anniversary of Earth Day in partnership with the Ding Darling Wildlife Society- Friends of the Refuge. Along with many fun Earth- and family-friendly activities, attendees can enjoy the appearance of Bagzilla, a “bag monster” dressed in the average person’s annual plastic bag consumption. A Birds of the Refuge Program will take place in the Crossdike Pavilion from 1 to 1:30 p.m.

Location: 1 Wildlife Dr., Sanibel. For more information, call 239-472-1100, ext. 236, or visit

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Earth Day Festival

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 22

Visitors can enjoy local entertainment, keynote lectures, conservation speakers and children’s presentations at this event, featuring many vendors and environmental exhibitors. Activities include exploring the Conservancy Nature Center buildings, taking an electric boat ride, renting a kayak or canoe or walking a nature trail.

Free admission for members, $10 for non-member adults and $5 for children 3 to 12. Location: 1495 Smith Preserve Way, off Goodlette Rd., Naples. For more information, call 239-430-2466 or visit

Musical Earth Day Program

10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 22

Led by educator, musician and Calusa Nature Center volunteer Carolyn Stanley, children from 3 to 12 years old will sing songs, make rhythm instruments and draw pictures while learning how to care for the environment and why trees are essential for our survival. Sponsored by Fort Myers Quakers, registration starts at 10 a.m.

Cost: $5 for children, $10 for adults and free for first 50 children age 3 to 12. Location: 3450 Ortiz Ave., Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-275-3435 or visit

Koreshan Farmers’ Market and Native Plant Sale

8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, April 23

Native plant experts from the Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will answer questions and give advice on using native plants in landscaping, the fertilizer ordinance and invasive plant species. Local fresh produce, seafood, honey, arts and crafts, pickles and olives, fresh mozzarella cheese, native plants and trees are available for purchase.

Cost: $1 environmental impact fee. Location: 3800 Corkscrew Rd., Estero. For more information, call 239-273-8945 or visit

Invasive Species Presentation

7 p.m., Wednesday, April 26

Annisa Karim, of Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species, will give a presentation on combating invasive plants and animals, along with an introduction to regional efforts and reporting options.

Admission is free. Location: Interpretive Center, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, 7751 Penzance Blvd., Fort Myers. For more information or to reserve a seat, call 239-533-7557 or email [email protected].

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