7 Local Earth Day Events to Check Out

Organizations across the Paradise Coast will celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with plein-air painting, organic produce, recycling, and more

Lovers Key at sunset. Photo by Brent Jesperson
Lovers Key at sunset. Photo by Brent Jesperson

Earth Day 2021, honored each April 22, marks the 51st anniversary of this global movement that inspires people to take action and make a commitment to protecting our natural resources. Here is a guide to local Earth Day events that take place on April 22 unless otherwise noted:

Reuse & Recycle Earth Day Roundup

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Goodwill of Southwest Florida has partnered with Collier County Solid & Hazardous Waste Management Division, Keep Collier Beautiful, Operation Medicine Cabinet, and Drug Free Collier to create an event everyone can participate in. Residents are encouraged to donate computers, household items, clothing, shoes and books to the Goodwill at Naples Towne Center (3759 E. Tamiami Trail). Waste-handling representatives will be in the parking lot offering free pharmaceutical disposal, secure document shredding (up to 20 pounds free) by Safeguard Shredding, and tire recycling (up to six tires, 18” or smaller, Collier residents only). The county will also be accepting at no charge: oil and oil filters, gasoline, antifreeze, propane tanks, latex and oil-based paints, ink cartridges, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, mercury-containing devices, electronics, cell phones, and medical sharps and needles in approved containers. Learn more: 239-252-7575.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Bioblitz

April 15 through April 21

The Dalton Discovery Center is still undergoing renovations, so the Conservancy’s annual event has been reshaped into two virtual educational experiences designed for elementary and middle school students. Backyard Bioblitz Bingo for elementary-age children encourages observation of backyard biodiversity. Middle school students will learn how to observe and photo-document wildlife and upload the photos to the iNaturalist.org site or app, thus becoming a citizen scientist. They can also participate in a project to learn about coral bleaching. “A bioblitz is an event where people come together to find and identify as many species of living organisms as possible during a short period of time. This data is shared by other community scientists all over the world to explore and celebrate the amazing biodiversity on our planet,” according to the Conservancy. There will be prizes for individuals or classes who “find the most species, the most unusual organisms, or just blow away the Conservancy’s scientists and educators.” Conservancy Bioblitz E-Learning

Shangri-La Springs Produce Market
Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Springs

Shangri-La Springs Produce Market

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The historic downtown Bonita Springs property will be selling produce from its five-acre, certified organic garden at 27750 Old 41 Road. The sale will be cash-only and will feature herbs, perennial vegetables, fruits, and more. On Earth Day, purchases will come with a complimentary luffa and cosmos seeds with a plantable wildflower seed box. Remember to take your reusable tote bag. More information: Shangri-La Springs

The Lovers Key Welcome & Discover Center will set the scene for plein-air painting on April 22. Photo by Owen Ames Kimball
The Lovers Key Welcome & Discover Center will set the scene for plein-air painting on April 22. Photo by Owen Ames Kimball

Lovers Key State Park Earth Day Plein Air Painting

9 a.m. to noon

Award-winning, professional artist Jenny Morley Licht will give demonstrations on the outdoor, ground level of the new Welcome & Discovery Center at the park (8700 Estero Blvd., Bonita Springs). She will teach a monthly “Nature-in-Mind” class, the third Saturday of each month, beginning in October.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Refuge on Sanibel Island

7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free events include: tool down Wildlife Drive by car, foot, or bicycle; birding and bicycling tours, and a mindfulness walk; debut of the outdoor Junior Ranger Program; and paint a spoonbill with artist-in-residence Rachel Pierce. Sign up for events: Ding Darling Events Signup

Growing Climate Solutions: Path to Positive Southwest Florida

4 p.m. to 5:30

Wharton School of Business finance and real estate professor Benjamin Keys will discuss the impact of climate change on housing and mortgage markets along the Florida coast that are vulnerable to sea level rise in this free, virtual presentation. Register here: Growing Climate Solutions

Earth Day in the Park at Sugden Regional Park

Saturday, April 24, 9 a.m. to noon

Learn about pollinators and how to create a butterfly habitat and about native plants with the Florida Native Plant Society. Bring a lawn chair to enjoy the day. The park is located at 4284 Avalon Drive.

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