Saving the Earth While on Vacation


Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife RefugeSaving the Earth
During Earth Month much attention is paid to making a difference in and around the areas we work, live and even where we play. If your play includes The Palm Beaches, Florida, here are some ways you can make a difference to help reduce your ecological footprint.

Volunteering to Keep Things Looking Sharp
Alligators need a little love. Okay, they aren't the most cuddly animal, but keeping their "home" clean is something you can do this stay. It takes more than 150,000 volunteer hours to operate the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach each year; where you will find a vast population of alligators spread over the Refuge's more than 221 square miles. From daily, weekly or monthly service commitments, the Refuge Volunteer Program accepts visitors to a variety of volunteer positions. There are even RV Pads available for visiting volunteering guests. And along 47 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline in The Palm Beaches, monthly and annual beach clean-ups take place with a variety of organizations. For example, meet at the Sandoway House on April 21 for the Great American Cleanup Beach Walk.

Putting a Little "Sole" into Your Trip and Adopting a New Friend
As part of the area-wide GO GREEN effort in The Palm Beaches, three locations have initiated the "Shoes for the Cure" project. More than 350 million pairs of shoes end up rotting in landfills every year. While on vacation, you can donate used shoes at the Daggerwing Nature Center, Okeeheelee Nature Center or Green Cay Nature Center, which will be cleaned and refurbished for sale at second-hand shops or processed into rubberized athletic surfacing. Add a furry, feathered or scaly friend to your family through the "Share the Care" animal sponsorship package at the Palm Beach Zoo or Adopt a Turtle program from the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Starting at $50, the sponsorships include an 8"x10" color photo of your animal, certificate of sponsorship, fun facts and more.

Learning Made Fun
That's right. Yes, it can be done - learning more about the environment around you and having a terrific time. During your visit to the many nature and wildlife centers located throughout The Palm Beaches, such as the Sandoway House Nature Center, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, John MacArthur Beach State Park, Mounts Botanical Garden or Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, take a guided tour, listen to a presentation or take a short class. And back over at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, kids may participate in the Junior Veterinary Learning Lab at the new Children's Research Station. In this experiential lab, a free, half-hour program allowing the kids to participate in a mock sea turtle rescue to release.