Alachua County unveils slate of Earth Day events

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
Andriy Blokhin via Shutterstock

Few places in Florida offer the kind of outdoor experiences area residents enjoy in North Central Florida, with its springs, parks and rich natural resources. That means there are lots of ways to celebrate Earth Day later this month.
In preparation for the 51st anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Alachua County has released a list of events to mark the occasion. Here’s the rundown: 
Passport to the Preserves (from April 10 to May 3) – Alachua County invites residents to travel to the beautiful local nature preserves. After visiting the preserves, participants can fill out a web form for an entry to win an earth day celebration prize. To participate and learn more, visit Alachua County Environmental Protection website, or contact Hollie Greer at 352-264-6827.
Earth Day 2021 and Water Conservation Month Proclamations – The Alachua County Commission will announce both Earth Day and Water Conservation Month proclamations at its April 13 Regular Commission Meeting. 
8th Annual ‘Saving My Alachua’ Environmental Art Contest Winners Ceremony (5:30 p.m. on April 22) – The ceremony will take place at the County Administration Building west lawn (12 S.E. 1st Street, Gainesville). Participants must RSVP by contacting Eliana Bardi at 352-264-6810.
Cross Creek Boat Ramp Tree Planting Event (April 23, at 10 a.m.) – The County will be planting trees at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Park, Kate Barns Boat Ramp (18800 S. County RD 325, Cross Creek). Those interested in volunteering should contact Lacy Holtzworth at 352-548-1266.
iNaturalist City Nature Challenge (from April 30 to May 3)- Alachua County and the City of Gainesville are joining 250 other cities and counties around the world in participating in the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge. To participate, residents must download the free iNaturalist app on their smartphone. Participants take photos of all the plants and animals they can find in their yards, neighborhoods, local parks, and at one of the county preserves, then post the photos to iNaturalist through the website or app. To learn more, go to City Nature Challenge website.
Other community Earth Day events include:
Party for the Planet – The Santa Fe Teaching Zoo is hosting a virtual party for the planet throughout the month of April. Visit the zoo’s Facebook and Instagram pages for hands-on activities in the community and meet animal ambassadors. For information, go to Party for the Planet (
The Florida Springs Institute (from April 19 to April 23) – The Florida Springs Institute is hosting digital presentations for protecting springs. Learn more at the Florida Springs Institute website.
Melrose Earth Day Celebration (April 22, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) – This is a free public event with activities for kids and adults, located at Mossman Hall (301 S.R.-26, Melrose). For more information, call 352-475-2924.
University of Florida events include:
Florida Springs Film series: Biodiversity (from April 22 to April 27) – The Florida Museum of Natural History is hosting the Florida Springs Film series: Biodiversity. The series starts on April 22 and culminating in a panel discussion from 7–8:30 p.m. on April 27. For more information, visit the event website.

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