Coral Restoration, Turtle Release and Other Highlights to Mark Earth Day in the Florida Keys
The Florida Keys and Key West are putting Earth Day in the spotlight with a wide range of activities throughout the island chain on and around 22 April 2023.
Every day is a reason to celebrate the beauty of the planet in the Florida Keys, full of natural wonders including ten state parks, two national parks, four federally protected havens and the continental United States’ only living coral barrier reef.
Earth Day specific activities include:
Coral Fragging Party with Captain Hook’s
In the Lower Keys, Captain Hook’s on Big Pine Key is teaming with Reef Renewal USA for a three-day immersive ‘Make a Difference’ citizen science initiative leading up to Earth Day that enables divers to gain knowledge while actively aiding reef restoration. The programme is to begin with a Coral Fragging Party set for 20 – 22 April to study and participate in fragmenting corals into small pieces for widespread propagation. Divers can then suit up 22 April for an Earth Day Coral Nursery Dive to work on ‘coral tree’ development and planting.
Earth Day Inspired International Film Festival Screening
To kick off Earth Day weekend, Mote Marine Laboratory is to present the ‘Youth Making Ripples’ International Film Festival Screening on Friday 21 April, at the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Centre in Key West. The screening is to feature entries from the current year’s competition and top films from previous years. Topics range from local marine concerns to a specific call to action for marine conservation. Doors open at 5 p.m., followed by a ribbon-cutting celebration for the reopening of Mote’s coral research and restoration exhibit at the centre at 5:30 p.m. The film screening will start at 6 p.m.
Celebrate Earth Day with NASA Scientists
Islamorada’s History of Diving Museum, NASA and Coastlove are to host an action-packed Earth Day event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 22 April at Marathon International Airport. NASA earth scientists are to be on hand to talk about their climate work in South Florida aboard the agency’s Blueflux carbon-monitoring aircraft. The scientists also will offer tours inside the plane to view monitoring instruments used for climate and environmental research. The History of Diving Museum is to have displays of vintage dive gear and information about the history of diving in the Florida Keys. To emphasise the connection between mangrove trees, which absorb atmospheric carbon, and the health of the Keys’ reefs and marine ecosystems, environmental organisation Coastlove and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission have scheduled a coastal clean-up and mangrove planting experience near the event site.
Take Part in a Sea Turtle Release
Wildlife enthusiasts can celebrate 22 April, with the Florida Keys–based Turtle Hospital by witnessing a planned sea turtle release at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. The Turtle Hospital ambulance is to arrive at 9:30 a.m. and the turtle will be released at 10 a.m. A licensed veterinary hospital dedicated to the treatment of sea turtles, the Turtle Hospital was opened in 1986 with the goal of healing injured sea turtles and returning them to the wild.