This year, we’re looking for fresh ways to commemorate Earth Day. After all, we’ve got a lot to celebrate, considering the local Conservation Collier bill passed in 2020, allocating funds to secure more protected land, and congress passed a bill pledging $250 million for Everglades conservation on a national level. Need we mention we’re also in the early months of sea turtle nesting season? For all these reasons, and more, we handpicked activities to spread out the celebrations and give back to the environment.
Thursday, April 22
Spend time with the birds at CREW Land & Water Trust in Bonita Springs
Take an Earth Day hike with CREW volunteers through Flint Pen Strand. You’ll learn about the impact the organization has on the area as you walk around the Kehl Canal, Imperial River and other habitats CREW is working to restore. You won’t need much luck to get a chance to see white-tailed deer and swallow-tailed kites out in their native habitat—the watershed preserve is teeming with wildlife. Reservations are required.
Rise with the birds at “Ding” Darling on Sanibel Island
This Earth Day, become one with nature at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The day starts with a morning mindfulness walk to learn about nature as medicine. Bird watchers can search for different species around the refuge—by car or bike—guided by a naturalist. You can also stop by a painting demonstration with Fort Myers artist Rachel Pierce. Reservations required.
Friday, April 23
Get a greener thumb with ECHO Global Farm in North Fort Myers
Here, you can learn new gardening techniques through the farm’s Discovery Workshops. Take home a sample from the Herbs: Plant to Plate course and get the scoop on creating your own food garden with the Edible Backyard Design session. Reservations required.
Daily, Throughout April
Take a guided stroll through Clam Pass Park in Naples
Throughout April, volunteer naturalists from Conservancy of Southwest Florida lead free tours along the boardwalk and beach at Clam Pass Park to educate the community on the area’s wildlife. Search for wading birds in the mangroves or shells and shark’s teeth washed up on shore. Email [email protected] to reserve a spot.
Daily, Through June 15
Celebrate the Everglades’ beauty through Clyde Butcher’s eyes in Naples
Take in 30 years of archives from southwest Florida’s beloved nature photographer in America’s Everglades: Through the Lens of Clyde Butcher at Naples Botanical Garden. Stop by to see the stunning black-and-white images, and stay to stroll through the gardens, like the all-native Scott Florida Garden. Naplesgarden.org
Monday-Friday, Year Round
Pick your own produce at Farmer Mikes U Pick in Bonita Springs
Wander through the fields at Farmer Mikes to gather your own berries, vegetables and flowers (the farm is known for its towering sunflowers). When you buy local produce, you’re supporting local businesses and the environment—since the food isn’t traveling far, there’s less pollution going into the atmosphere. The farm is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Daily, Year Round
Adopt a Turtle Nest at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples
While this program runs all year, there’s no better time to support endangered animals than on Earth Day. For a $250 donation, you can adopt a turtle nest at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, which helps fund nesting supplies. With each adoption, a personalized 6-by-12-inch sign is placed near the nest, plus you’ll take home a certificate to show proof of your adopted reptile and a plush hatchling.
Wednesday-Monday, Year Round
Cruise through the swamp with the Miccosukee tribe in Everglades City
Open everyday except Tuesday, Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tours, led by conservationist Betty Osceola and others from the Miccosukee tribe, gives guests an inside look into the culture of the clans that live in the Everglades and how we can all help the fragile ecosystem survive. Reservations are required.