BY KELLY PATTON, Outreach Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper
CELEBRATE AND PROTECT CLEAN WATER
Last month, the world celebrated World Water Day to highlight the importance of freshwater and advocate for sustainable management of this natural resource. In the Jacksonville area, we are fortunate to have water all around us. On average, 5.4 billion gallons of water are discharged from the mouth of the St. Johns River into the Atlantic Ocean every day. This vast network of water forming 310 miles upstream is a significant part of our identity as a River City.
Let’s raise our voices for clean water. This Earth Month, there are many ways to celebrate water and the environment in our community and beyond.
EXPERIENCE THE ST. JOHNS RIVER
April 20–22 The Great St. Johns River Campout (DeLand) The St. Johns RIVERKEEPER is celebrating Earth Day with a full weekend of camping and events on the water. Join for three days, one day, or a one-time activity adventure in Deland, Florida, the St. John River’s middle basin. Whether it’s learning to be a citizen advocate, enjoying a boat cruise, kayaking, or a naturalist birding hike, experience a new section of the river in your own way.
April 22, 10am–12pm Rising Tides: McCoys Creek Cleanup The Rising Tides, the group for young professionals of St. Johns RIVERKEEPER, is hosting an Earth Day cleanup and planting at McCoy’s Creek in Jacksonville. Restore the creek with new grasses, pine straw, and signage. Bags and gloves provided. Kayaks welcome. Close-toed shoes recommended. This event is kid-friendly.
It’s difficult to connect with a place you haven’t explored. Wherever you venture out, share your experiences and tell your stories. We should remember to celebrate what makes it worth protecting in the first place. I encourage you to take Florida author and environmental writer Bill Belleville’s advice to heart: “Turn off your computer, go outside, and breathe deeply. Take a walk in the woods. Snorkel or scuba dive in a spring, a lake or a river, an ocean. Paddle your canoe or kayak until you can no longer hear the hum of the mechanized world. Or, just sit under a tree and relax. Let our genetic predisposition for the natural world kick in. You’ll know what to do.”