VISIT FLORIDA celebrates its natural resources for Earth Day 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 15, 2020): In celebration of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary on April 22, VISIT FLORIDA is shining a light on how destinations across the state are making strides towards sustainability.
As we look to the future, its vital that eco-friendly practices are top of mind to preserve the health and wellbeing of the Sunshine State’s natural resources for generations to come.
In November 2019, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the nation’s largest private conservation grant-maker, announced that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in partnership with Florida State University, would be awarded approximately $20.1 million to complete the second phase of an Apalachicola Bay Oyster Reef Restoration. This project will implement up to 1,000 acres of oyster reef restoration in Apalachicola Bay and includes development of oyster harvest management strategies for Apalachicola Bay and Suwanee Sound to ensure sustainability of restored reefs.
The local community in Brevard County recently voted to approve a half-cent sales tax to be used over the next 10 years as part of the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project. The program focuses on a number of restoration projects, including the removal of derelict vessels from the waterway.
Tastes of Sustainability
Tallahassee has a thriving cultural sustainability scene. It is home to RedEye Coffee, providing organic brew that is both safe to birds and fairly traded by small farmers. The Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery in the Bradenton Area doesn’t just use local grapes, but recycles and composts nearly everything. Even their irrigation system is solar-powered.
In Amelia Island, The Sprouting Project at the Omni Amelia Island Resort, features a state-of-the-art aquaponic greenhouse, an expansive organic garden, a large collection of beehives, and a barrel room. Its sixteen colonies of bees are both educational and make tasty additions to the resort’s dishes.
Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, founded by eco-conscious surfers and fishermen, have developed biodegradable six-pack rings made from pressed, recycled grain. Fully disintegrating in about 120 days, the rings can be safely consumed by marine life and work to offset plastic pollution damage to the ocean ecosystem
Future travelers to the Sunshine State have the opportunity to leave a positive mark by participating in eco-initiatives in various local communities.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, statewide, offers a variety of volunteer opportunities across Florida – including helping to restore bay scallops in St. Joseph and St. Andrews Bays in Northwest Florida, shorebird monitoring near Jacksonville and St. Augustine, collecting important fisheries data in Central Florida’s Highlands County, and helping maintain butterfly gardens in the Everglades.
At the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, located in St. Petersburg, volunteers can work alongside local park and preserve managers on a variety of tasks including removing invasive plants, planting native plants and trash clean-ups. There is also an opportunity to become a citizen scientist by participating in an environmental monitoring program.
In the Florida Keys and Key West, it’s all about volunteering in the name of coral restoration. The second Friday of each month is Coral Restoration Day. Visitors can participate in working dives to coral nurseries, to learn about how the animals are raised and transported to restoration sites.
Back to Nature
With 2,000 miles of coastline, 175 state parks, 320 freshwater springs and more than 1,300 trails, Florida offers endless breathing room to enjoy and appreciate the state’s natural playground.
One of greenest ways to get around is to paddle. From canoeing, to kayaking, to stand-up paddle boarding, there are endless opportunities to reconnect with nature along the waterways. Florida Hikes! offers a comprehensive overview of paddling trails across the state.
In Pensacola, the mayor recently announced the city’s intent to become a Florida Paddling Trails Blueway Community, providing casual paddlers, day paddlers, and weekend paddlers with additional access to the outdoors.
For more information on the Sunshine State or to plan a 2020 vacation to Florida, visit www.VISITFLORIDA.com.
High-resolution images available upon request.
About VISIT FLORIDA
As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 124.7 million visitors in 2018. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $85.9 billion to Florida's economy and supported 1.5 million Florida jobs in 2017. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $2.15 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, The Hertz Corporation, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando, Simon Shopping Destinations and Universal Orlando Resort. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA, please go to VISITFLORIDA.org or follow us on our industry social media channels: Facebook and Twitter @FloridaTourism.