For anyone looking to celebrate Earth Day by being out and about in nature, here's the opportunity. Earth Day is actually April 22, but many events take place this weekend.
"The level of interest in Florida-friendly landscaping and a host of other earth-friendly practices proves that our residents really care about the earth and enjoy this lifestyle," said Mary Burrell, operations manager for Pinellas County Communications. "And what better way to show it than to participate in an earth-friendly activity during Earth Week."
Here are a few family-friendly opportunities coming up this weekend.
Spring Ecofest and Arbor Day Celebration in Largo
Check out this celebration Saturday at McGough Nature Park in Largo.
The city will give away trees during the free family event. Live wildlife exhibits will feature birds of prey and creatures ready to be seen and gently handled in a touch tank. Adults and children will have fun outdoors while learning about ecology.
"We're celebrating Earth Day on a local scale," said McGough park ranger Kyle Vogel. "We're bringing about awareness of issues that are of the biggest concern to us here in Florida."
The Spring Ecofest and Arbor Day Celebration is all about teaching people to be kind to the planet by learning to appreciate the unique environment that is Florida, but Vogel emphasizes that Largo does it through a fun event geared to all members of the family.
Where: McGough Nature Park, 11901 146th St., Largo.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Cost: Free. Food, drinks and snacks for purchase.
information: Call (727) 518-3047 or go to largo.com.
Down to Earth Family Fun Day in Clearwater
Not ready to roll with the family until early afternoon? Get out and enjoy this fun day beginning at 1 p.m. at the Clearwater Main Library downtown.
"The community will come in and take over the second floor," said Mercedes Bleattler, youth services manager. "We'll have tables between the stacks."
Tables will feature interactive stations for kids to try their hand at creating a robot from recyclables. Or they can pick up a packet that contains all they will need to find out "five things you can do with a string."
Adults aren't left out. There will be presentations on recycling, raising chickens in your back yard, properly planting trees and protecting marine mammals.
The event is a collaboration between the Pinellas County Extension Service, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, St. Petersburg Urban Homesteaders, the International Society of Arboriculture and the YMCA, with each teaching participants something connected to living a simpler, more earth-friendly existence.
Where: Clearwater Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave.
When: 1 p.m. Saturday.
information: Call (727) 562-4970 or view myclearwater.com/cpl.
'Photographing Nature' class and hike at Weedon Island
For anyone who likes to photograph wildlife, Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg has the program for you. A two-hour hike begins in the classroom to highlight specific wildlife behaviors and give focus tips. The rest of the time, participants trek through the natural beauty of a trail within the preserve's more than 3,700 acres.
Where: Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg.
When: 8 a.m. Saturday.
Cost: Free. Advance registration required at weedonislandpreserve.org.
information: Call (727) 453-6500.
Walk for Wildlife at Brooker Creek Preserve
On Saturday, this Brooker Creek Preserve fundraiser welcomes children, adults and groups to spend some time close to Mother Nature, and gives everyone a choice of how far they wish to walk.
You can choose the hiking loop that best suits you: 1 mile, 1.5, 2.8 or 4 miles.
"We would love for people to come out and enjoy this island of wilderness surrounded by a sea of development," said Barbara Hoffman, chairwoman of the Friends of Brooker Creek Preserve. "Brooker Creek Preserve is like a living piece of natural history that represents a remnant of what Pinellas County used to be."
The 8,700-acre preserve is home to many Florida animals, and while the trails are free all year long, the $10 donation to participate in the Walk for Wildlife hike will give adults, children and groups a chance to aid in the restoration efforts of Brooker Creek Preserve — and have the T-shirt to prove it.
Where: Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road, East Lake.
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Cost: $10 donation includes a T-shirt.
information: Call (727) 453-6800 or visit brookercreekpreserve.org.