ST. PETERSBURG - Why not celebrate Earth Day in April with a stop by Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg and experience first hand the beauty of our planet?
The Preserve reveals roughly 3,700 acres sprawling next to Old Tampa Bay. It is a rich mosaic of mangrove forest, open salt flats, pine flatwoods and oak hammocks. A window into the past is opened to discover the prehistoric people that once inhabited the land, and visitors can learn about their ancient culture and how people continue to shape the environment.
To help celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day on Saturday, April 18, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., a Developing the Urban Tree Canopy and Your Florida Yard program is planned.
Get inspiration from Stan DeFreitas, a.k.a. Mr. Greenthumb, author and southern garden expert, as he discusses water-thrifty landscaping ideas, the importance of shade trees and gardening. Trees help control air pollution, recycle water, control humidity and produce oxygen. Not only that, but trees provide food and shelter for wildlife. Author of many gardening books, Mr. Greenthumb will autograph books, and some will be available for sale. The program is free and great for all ages. Register by calling 727-453-6500.
On Friday, April 17, from 7 to 8 p.m., visitors can learn about the new energy efficient power plant on Weedon Island Preserve at a free The Repower Project: Making a Difference in Pinellas County program. The repowered Bartow Plant will soon double the plant’s generating capacity and significantly improve air emissions with the change in fuel site use from oil to natural gas. This program is best for adults and is free. Register by calling 727-453-6500.
April is loaded with other opportunities to explore the Preserve. Saturday guided hikes, booktimes for little ones, a guided canoe trip and bird quest are ways to enjoy the great outdoors. If setting out solo appeals, the Preserve offers a 45-foot-high observation tower, two self-guided paddling trails, self-guided hiking trails, bayside observation platform and two canoe/kayak launches. Along the boardwalks and trails, 20 interpretive trail signs are a fun way to learn more.
The Cultural & Natural History Center features an extraordinary 6,000-square-foot exhibit hall, Connecting People and Place, which is an art-inspired, hands-on educational approach to the area’s history, ecology and people. The Center welcomes visitors Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.