Twenty million people took part in the first ever Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 1970. It had such an impact that important federal environmental laws emerged, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts – a real boon to those on the Paradise Coast of Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades.
Officially, Earth Day is designated as April 22, but on the Paradise Coast – surrounded as it is by Mother Nature’s wondrous bounty – you can pretty much kick off your shoes and celebrate it anytime. Between the pristine beaches, the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the alluring natural habitat of the Everglades, there is so much nature to appreciate in Naples and the surrounding areas.
Annual Events in Honor of Earth Day
Every year, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center hosts a whole day of Earth Day festivities for all ages. Drawing crowds of more than 1,200 earth lovers, this event is jam-packed with green activities for all ages, including electric boat tours, educational programs and expert lectures – not to mention live music and food. For the kids, there’s arts and crafts, face painting, hands-on habitat experiences, self-guided tours of the Dalton Discovery Center and the wildlife clinic’s baby animal nursery viewing area. Check out upcoming events at the Conservancy.
The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (C’MON) celebrates Earth Day in conjunction with Founder’s Fun Day each year. However, C’MON develops an appreciation of earth every day with hands-on exhibit galleries including “Green Construction” for environmentally friendly building; “The Banyan Tree,” a two-story banyan climbing frame with a lookout platform and crawling branches; and “At the Beach,” where a giant shell fosters a love for the outdoors and teaches the anatomy of a shark eye shell. See the museum’s calendar of events and festivals.
The Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre complex featuring lakes, distinct natural habitats and ecosystems, nature trails and a birding tower in addition to landscaped gardens blooming with plants from Florida, Asia, the Caribbean and Brazil. With a focus on green energy and the environment, Naples Botanical Garden has incorporated high-performance and sustainable green building practices into the design of its landscape and facilities.
Be sure to visit the interactive children’s garden and water garden, or attend one of the many workshops covering everything from gardening to photography. A popular venue for events, the garden also hosts Dogs in the Garden twice a week and the W.O.N.D.E.R. in the Garden program for children every month.
Sailing Florida’s Paradise Coast
Get up close and personal with Mother Nature by taking an eco-tour of the Naples area’s land-based wilderness trails, or tours by canoe, kayak or boat. Spend a day sailing with Island Sailing, Off The Hook Adventures or Sailing Adventures, or opt for any of the area’s other on-the-water charters or cruises. Several tour owners are members of the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism, offering eco-friendly treks into the wilderness and more than 30 miles of sparkling beaches.