On The River – April is Earth Month

BY KELLY PATTON, Outreach Director, St. Johns Riverkeeper


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.


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.

Learn more about these and other river events at stjohnsriverkeeper.org.

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.”

About Kelly Thompson

Kelly Thompson Outreach Director St. Johns Riverkeeper Kelly's job responsibilities include expanding the St. Johns Riverkeeper's geographic outreach efforts by organizing engaging community events and programs, developing partnerships with local organizations and businesses, and connecting citizens to the water through everyday action opportunities along the St. Johns River. A Georgia native, Kelly grew up spending summers on the coast, where her outside experiences kept her closely connected to the water and everything it touched. With a strong passion for marine conservation, Kelly received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Before joining the St. Johns Riverkeeper team, she started her coastal career as a Naturalist and Sea Turtle Technician on Sea Island, GA (one of Georgia’s 14 barrier islands) and spent four years working in coastal outreach and education with One Hundred Miles, an environmental advocacy nonprofit on the Georgia coast. In coastal Florida, Kelly has also worked with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program conducting wild bottlenose dolphin research and coordinated sea turtle rehabilitation and education efforts with Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Outside of work, Kelly enjoys nature photography, kayaking, and a good book. With a recent move to Jacksonville, she is looking forward to exploring the natural wonders of Florida and everything the St. Johns River has to offer.

october, 2021