FLORIDA KEYS — Earth Day is to be commemorated around the globe April 22, but in the Florida Keys & Key West, surrounded by a national marine sanctuary and paralleled by the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef, celebrations take place throughout the month.
Key Largo’s Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock and John Pennekamp Coral Reef state parks are to join forces to host Native Plant Day. This Earth Day event is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, mile marker (MM) 102.5. The day’s activities include guest presentations by Florida state park biologists Janice and James Duquesnel, native plant giveaways, nature walks, exhibition booths and children’s activities. The park’s entrance fee will be waived for those attending the event. For further information, call 305-451-1202.
Bahia Honda State Park, located in the Lower Keys at MM 36.8, is to host its 16th annual Earth Day Celebration Saturday, April 16, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free family-friendly event features live music, a sand sculpture contest, fish printing, puppet shows, children’s games, environmental exhibitions by local groups such as Marathon’s renowned Turtle Hospital and more. For more information, call the Bahia Honda Sand and Sea Nature Center at 305-872-9807.
Green Living & Energy Education (GLEE), a local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable living in the Keys, will host its annual Earth Day celebration 5-8 p.m. April 22 at Key West’s Bottle Cap Groove Lounge, 1128 Simonton St. Free and open to the public, the celebration is to feature a healthy living cook-off complete with a raffle and prizes. In addition, attendees can pay a small fee to judge the cook-off. For more information, call Bridget at 305-923-1994.
Dolphin Research Center, MM 59 bayside on Grassy Key, is to host its annual Ocean Day Celebration Thursday, April 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open to the public and local grade school students, the event is a fun-filled day of watching the center’s resident dolphins and learning about marine life, the Florida Keys environment and other topics. As well as Dolphin Research Center, presenters include environmental organizations Reef Relief and Save-a-Turtle, the National Key Deer Refuge, Everglades National Park and Bahia Honda State Park. General admission is $20 per person for adults, $15 for children ages 4-12, $17.50 for members of the military and free for children 3 and younger. For information, call 305-289-1121.
Florida Keys visitor information: www.fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS