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Every day is Earth Day at Weedon Island
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An aerial view of Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG - Earth Day may be celebrated on April 22, but in Pinellas County, every day is Earth Day.

Youth and families are invited to join University of Florida/ Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty on Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19, for an Earth Day Everyday program at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE., St. Petersburg. The programs is designed to improve relationships with the planet.

On Friday, April 18, students will learn about the habitats and critters that live in estuaries like Tampa Bay. Then, they will interact with a hands-on model of the coastal environment to learn how their actions can positively impact the Tampa Bay environment.

Utilizing a Kill-a-Watt electricity meter, students can discover how much energy average household appliance use.  Each participant will receive an insulated shopping bag filled with fun takeaways. This program is intended for a youth/family audience, best suited for children 6 to 12 years.

Earth Day Everyday continues on Saturday, April 19 from 9 a.m. to noon. A three-hour hands-on workshop will include rainwater harvesting, energy conservation, and estuary-friendly living complete with one-hour canoe excursion. Each participant will receive an Estuary to Friendly Living booklet, guide to rain barrels, insulated shopping bag, and home energy saving kit. Completed barrel available for $30, paid in advance.

The Weedon Island Cultural and Natural History Center has a plethora of events to learn about nature and history throughout April. Most programs are free, however registration is required. Visit www.w­eedon­islan­dpres­erve.­org for information.

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., visitors can learn about the ecosystems and the early residents of Weedon Island Preserve while hiking the coastal uplands and the boardwalks through mangrove forests. Best for ages 6 and older.

Every second and fourth Thursday of the month from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., Wee-time at Weedon treats children to a variety of stories and hands-on activities that connect them to their environment. This program is designed to introduce preschool children to the wonders of the natural and cultural world. This activity is recommended for ages 3 to 5. Advance registration requested.

On Friday, April 11, enthusiasts can assist in an annual checklist of Weedon Island’s bird population and learn the identifying marks and behaviors of the year-round feathered residents and seasonal visitors while enjoying a hike at Weedon Island from 8 to 10 a.m.

On Saturday, April 19, from 8 to 10 a.m., participants can grab a camera and hike the preserve in search of that perfect photo. After a brief classroom session, preserve volunteers highlight seasonal features of the preserve, as well as specific wildlife behaviors that help participants capture the natural beauty of Weedon Island Preserve.

Join a local Extension specialist and examine the basics of plant identification, from using simple keys to identifying critical characteristics that will help any would-be botanist in the field on Saturday, April 26 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. An emphasis will be placed on flowering plants, but ferns will be included as well. All materials are provided for registered students.

Connecting People and Place is an art-inspired, permanent hands-on educational exhibit of the area’s history, ecology and people at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center. The center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. It is closed all Pinellas County holidays.

To learn more about Weedon Island Preserve and its upcoming programs and events, call 727-453-6500. To register for programs and events visit www.w­eedon­islan­dpres­erve.­org. Videos featuring Weedon Island Preserve can be viewed at www.y­outub­­/pcct­v1.
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