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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Earth Day Spotlights Species: Protection Is the Focus of 2019 Campaign

Mar 29, 2019 11:53AM ● By Ronica A. O'Hara

On April 22, eco-conscious citizens will come together again in communities across the country to celebrate Earth Day and work for the planet’s healthy, sustainable future. This year, the Earth Day Network (EDN) is asking people to join its Protect Our Species campaign to raise awareness of the crucial roles that plants and animals play in the ecosystem and the current threats faced by many of them.

The nonprofit cites that the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction in 60 million years because of human activity, including climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides. But the good news, EDN says, is that the rate of extinctions can be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now. This will necessitate a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders and scientists that demands immediate action.

EDN is asking people to advocate for government policies that protect species and their habitats, and to continue to build on the worldwide efforts that embrace the value of nature.

It is also asking people to undertake such individual actions as adopting a plant-based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use. More information, including teach-in toolkits and facts on threatened species, from whales to insects, can be found at

Help Southwest Florida celebrate and promote progress in species sustainability efforts by participating in these local Earth Day 2019 events.

Earth Day 24,901 Mile Run/Walk Challenge – Cape Coral

Earth-Day EquatorApril 1-30

The goal during this month is to collectively see how many times participants can run the distance of the equator: 24,901 miles. Organizers need at least 415 people to commit to run at least two miles a day for the month of to try to reach that number. Runners, walkers or joggers of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels may join this epic challenge. Recruit your friends, family and co-workers. Log your miles and report them via results page daily or weekly which will be tallied toward the overall goal.

Free participation; upgrade registration and receive an Earth Day official T-shirt, commemorative medal and pack of wildflower seeds. For more information, visit Share your mission by tagging @VirtualRunChallenge and #VRCEarthDayChallenge.

Pre-Hurricane Season Roundup

8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 6

Collier County Solid and Hazardous Waste Management will accept hazardous household chemicals, rechargeable batteries, paints, used motor oil, tires, fluorescent bulbs, ink cartridges, cardboard, plastics #1-7, mercury-containing devices, aluminum electronics, ballasts and medical sharps and needles for disposal. Also, free tire recycling will be available, along with auto and home products and devices for recycling; free paper shredding by Adera On-Site Security Shredding; and clothing, shoes and books collected by Goodwill Industries for resale.

Six Collier County locations: Naples Recycling Drop-off Center, 2640 Corporate Flight Dr., Naples; North Collier Recycling Drop-off Center, 9950 Goodlette Rd. N., Naples; Marco Island Recycling Drop-off Center, 990 Chalmer Dr., Marco Island; Hazardous Materials Collection Center, 3728 White Lake Blvd., Naples; Collier County Fairgrounds, 751 39th Ave., NE, Naples; Immokalee Transfer Station, 700 Stockade Rd., Immokalee. For more information, call 239-252-7575.

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens – Party for the Planet

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 6

One of more than 100 U.S. accredited zoos and aquariums participating in North America’s largest combined Earth Day celebration, the Naples Zoo will host conservation groups and local businesses that will discuss living more sustainably. Guests can enjoy education stations, free, Earth-friendly gifts from participating partners and a giveaway of 5,000 native sapling trees.

Free to Collier County residents. Location: 1590 Goodlette Rd., Naples. For more information, call 239-262-5409 or visit

Lee County Great American Cleanup
a.k.a. ‘Earth Day Trash Bash’

8 to 11 a.m., April 13

Keep Lee County Beautiful recruits volunteers, site captains, area managers and local sponsors to foster unity and strengthen bonds through county-wide beautification and improvement efforts, 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 sites and event dates vary. For more information or to register, call 239-334-3488 or visit

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Earth Day Festival

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 13

This event will include many vendors and environmental exhibitors showcasing fun, educational and entertaining family activities and experiences. Participants can enjoy live music, festival food, crafts, live animal programs and more. Eat, play and learn while experiencing the Conservancy Nature Center buildings and take an electric boat ride, rent a kayak or canoe or walk a nature trail.

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

Earth Day 2019 ‘Recycling in Immokalee Our Home’

11 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 13

The fifth annual Earth Day presented by the One by One Leadership Foundation, the Immokalee Pioneer Museum and community partners offers activities and informative booths that will inform participants about recycling at home as an outdoor family day. The iCo dance team and Oficina da Capoeira will perform. Taste of Immokalee will serve samples of their well-known salsa, plus a local food truck will be present. Enjoy many children’s activities, other live performances and displays of art created by Immokalee students. Bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets.

Location: Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch, 1215 Roberts Ave., Immokalee. For more information, call 239-252-2611 or visit

Earth Day Re-Use and Recycle Roundup

Keep Lee County Beautiful 2018
Keep Lee County Beautiful 2018
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 18

Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida encourages residents to bring gently used clothing, shoes and books, electronics, household items, computers and cell phones to donate. Also, free shredding of documents is offered by Goodwill Secure Shred. Residents can rid medicine cabinets and homes of unused, unnecessary or expired medicines with safe disposal by Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Chest. Hazardous household chemicals, all types of batteries, latex and oil-based paints, used motor oil and filters and tires 18 inches or smaller, antifreeze, fluorescent bulbs, ink cartridges, cardboard, plastics #1-7, mercury-containing devices, aluminum electronics, ballasts and medical sharps and needles are also accepted for collection by Collier County Solid Waste Management.

Location: Naples Town Center parking lot, 3759 Tamiami Tr. E., Naples. For more information, call 239-252-7575.

Canal/Coastal Cleanup – Cape Coral

8 to 11 a.m., April 20

Part of the Keep Lee County Beautiful Cleanup, volunteers can help on foot, in kayaks or boats. Check in by 8 a.m. Gloves, trash bags and litter pickers will be provided. BYO water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Volunteers at a waterway cleanup site must provide their own watercraft.

Locations: Horton Park, Jaycee Park, Rotary Park and the Burnt Store Boat Ramp, in Cape Coral. For more information, call Keep Lee County Beautiful at 239-334-3488 or register at

Earth Day Ceremonies at Happehatchee Center

Happehatchee Earth Day
Happehatchee Earth Day
1 to 6 p.m., April 20

Celebrate Earth Day with the public offering mini-meditation and yoga sessions, labyrinth walks, a plant sale/exchange, vegan-friendly food and beverage options, local artisans, live music harmonized to 432hz and Espiritu Maya/traditional Mayan ceremony. Exhibitors include local artisans Red Gypsy Sew, Yoga Mama Soap Shop, Massage by Mario Reyes, Marta’s Jewelry, Subtropical Plant Nursery. Live Entertainment by The B432 Band and Espiritu Maya with traditional Mayan dancing followed by a community drum circle.

Free admission. Location: 8791 Corkscrew Road, Estero. For more information, 239-992-5455, email [email protected], or visit

Earth Day at the Refuge
J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge

7 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 22

Visitors can bike or hike Wildlife Drive for free from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., with free bike rentals provided by Tarpon Bay Explorers. Ongoing recycled earth crafts will be offered in the Visitor and Education Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – meet Bagzilla, too. Bring a bicycle for the Bike the Refuge Tour at 9 a.m.; or Birds and Wildlife Tour at 9:30 a.m. Beach Walk at 10 a.m.; Photo Walk or Horseshoe Crab Program at 11 a.m.; Gators and Crocs Program at 1 p.m.; and concludes with Refuge Cleanup at 2 p.m. Visitors can watch films Straws at 9 a.m.; Bag It at 10 a.m.; Addicted to Plastic at 1p.m.; and Plastic Paradise at 2 p.m. Free gift if attendees ride their bike to Tarpon Bay Explorers.

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

Arbor Day Celebration and YMCA Healthy Kids Day

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 27

The city of Bonita Springs partners with Bonita Springs YMCA for their Healthy Kids Day event, featuring a poster contest (Kindergarten through eighth grade) with local schools, tree -planting ceremony, Tree City USA flag raising, and free milkweed for butterfly gardens. The U.S. Forestry Service will give away free trees until they are gone. Arbor Day giveaways include bookmarks, pencils and pins to the kids.

Location: Bonita Springs YMCA, 27200 Kent Road, Bonita Springs. For more information, call 239-949-6262 or visit

Eco-Friendly Love Event Earth Day Benefit

10 a.m. to 2 p.m., April 27

Hosted by Mindful Morning Family Yoga, Sun Leaf and Mini Buddhas Kids Yoga, this event will feature eco-friendly vendors, food trucks, free face painting, cookies and crafts for kids, prizes and raffles, demonstrations from local businesses and fitness studios and more.

Location: Cambier Park, 755 8th Ave. S., Naples. Vendors and food trucks interested in participating, email [email protected].

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