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Next Meeting of the FSSR
Our meetings are bi-monthly on the fourth Tuesday of the odd numbered months (except July), starting at 6pm at the North Indian River County Library on CR 512 (Sebastian Blvd.) in Sebastian.
Our meetings are always free and everyone is welcome. These events are not sponsored by the North Indian River County Library.
Click here for a calendar of all FSSR scheduled events and other activities we expect to participate in.
The presentation at our meeting in March 2018 was about microplastics in our oceans and waterways. Speaker Nikki Munroe showed an extended trailer of the documentary "Plastic Oceans," demonstrating the magnitude of the problem. This trailer is displayed below and may be viewed by clicking on the image. Ms. Munroe works for the UFL/IFAS Extension Service in Indian River County and much of the information she presented at our meeting was developed by the University, and is available online at www.plasticaware.org. The "Plastic Aware" campaign is designed to help educate everyone about the scope of the microplastics issue and includes a citizen-science project, allowing anyone to contribute to greater understanding and finding a solution to this problem. The Plastic Aware website also includes a link to their "Take the Pledge" survey which Ms. Munroe handed out at the end of our meeting.
The PBS NewsHour has run a special segment on "Plastic Pollution" in late September 2018 on the issue of microplastics and plastic polluting our oceans. Click here to view their news segments on this issue.
Landscape Architect, Robin Pelensky gave a presentation to the Friends in November 2017 on rain gardens. Many of the online resources she mentioned are avaiable from the University of Florida/IFAS here.
Indian River Land Trust - Conservation Lands ToursNovember 2019 through May 2020
Throughout the coming season, the Indian River Land Trust is offering guided tours of some of their Lagoon-front properties, including the Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail, Lagoon Greenway and Bee Gum Point. The tours are free and some specifically offer birding-watching events. Some tours have limited availability - please visit their website at www.irlt.org or call 772-794-0701 for more information.
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute5600 US 1 North, Ft. Pierce, Florida
The films and lectures below are held in the Johnson Education Center on the Harbor Branch campus and are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the HBOI website or call the Friends of Harbor Branch office at 772-242-2559.
Ocean Science Lecture SeriesWednesdays, 4 & 7pm through March
For more information, visit www.fau.edu/hboi/community/osls.php
National Geographic Live! Hidden Wild: Secrets of the EvergladesWedensday, February 5, 2020, 7pm
Lyric Theatre, Stuart, FL
Author, photographer, conservationist and National Geographic explorer Carlton Ward Jr. travels the world to find and document conservation stories that have not yet been told. He has lived deep in the Amazon, documented new species in the rainforests of Gabon and photographed endangered desert elephants in Mali. Then he discovered the biggest untold story of his career, hiding in his own back yard.
Ward is an eighth generation Floridian, and he uses his camera to tell the story of the little-known world surviving in the shadows of the beaches and theme parks that people associate with Florida. He has trekked more than 2,000 miles on two National Geographic-supported expeditions, to showcase a statewide vision to protect Florida’s wild places. Both expeditions produced award-winning books, PBS films and widespread outreach. Ward continues to fight to protect an endangered wildlife corridor needed to keep the Everglades connected to the rest of America. His current National Geographic project, “Path of the Panther,” is using sophisticated camera traps and intimate photojournalism to create an unprecedented glimpse into the life of one of America’s most endangered and elusive predators.
Please visit the Lyric Theatre website for more information and to purchase tickets to this event. It is sure to sell out!
Pelican Island Audubon SocietyNorth Indian River County Library, 1001 Sebastian Blvd., Sebastian
Tuesday, February 10, 2020, 6 PM - Southern Appalachian Wild Beauty – Flora, Fauna and Scenery, Bill Haddad, photographer
For more information, visit the PIAS website at http://pelicanislandaudubon.org or call 772-567-3520.
Sacred Waters: Exploring the Protection of Florida’s Fluid Landscapes, with Vicky MachadoFebruary 11, 2020, 7pm
The Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach
The presentation explores efforts to restore Florida’s waterways. The speaker will investigate the motivations of environmentalists who love and advocate for these water bodies. By focusing on issues related to springs and the Everglades, we will dive into the conversations that arise when Floridians view water as essential to their quality of life.
The event is sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and is free to the public. For more information, visit The Emerson Center online.
Indian River Lagoon SymposiumFebruary 13-14, 2020
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, 5600 N. US Hwy 1, Ft. Pierce
The Indian River Lagoon Symposium (IRLS) is an effort to provide a forum for discussing Indian River Lagoon science and its application to management of the lagoon. The symposium is open to scientists, decision makers, students, education and outreach professionals, and the interested public. The intent is to facilitate better communication among these groups so that the gaps between research and its application can be narrowed.
Some events of the Symposium require registration. For more information visit www.indianriverlagoon.org/Symposium.html.
Friends of St. Sebastian River Yard SaleSaturday, February 15, 2020, 8am to noon
About Storage, 25 Airport Dr. West, Sebastian
The Friends will once again hold our annual fund-raising yard sale in February. This is one of our biggest fund-raisers of the year and helps fund our annual George Schum Award and Scholarship for a graduating Sebastian River High School senior, and other educational programming. You can contribute by donating your unused and unwanted "junque" and/or stopping by to buy! Items for sale will include:
Please gather items to donate - we will be accepting donations in the week prior to our event. If you have something that you just can't wait to donate or need to have stored prior to the event, please contact Buzz Herrmann at 772-589-9811 and we would be glad to accept/pick up that item early.
The sale will take place at the About Storage facility on Airport Drive West, across from Dale Wimbrow Park off Roseland Road. Thanks for your support!
Healing Waters Fund Raiser ConcertSaturday, February 15, 2020, 12 to 4:30pm
Kashi Ashram, 11155 Roseland Rd., Sebastian
Help us raise money to support the local water activism groups here in Indian River County. We want to support the people dedicated to the work of protecting our environment. All proceeds will be donated to help continue the work of these organizations.
We will have speakers, organic food, environmental musicians including Lobo Marino, and much more!
For more information and to reserve tickets, visit www.kashi.org/events/waterconcert.
Orlando Wetlands FestivalFebruary 15, 2020
Fort Christmas Historical Park, Christmas
The City of Orlando, Orange Audubon Society, Orange County Parks & Recreation Department and Atkins Global invite you to come out to the Orlando Wetlands Festival at Fort Christmas Historical Park. Celebrate the City’s 1,650 acre wetland oasis with guided birdwatching excursions, guided photo hikes, hay rides, bus tours, wildlife shows and fun activities just for the kids. Enjoy live music and food which will be available for purchase. Admission is free and door prizes will be given out. For more information, visit the Orlando Wetlands Festival website.
Florida Native Plant Society - Eugenia ChapterThird Thursday
Boathouse, FL Medical Entomology Lab, 200 9th St. SE (Oslo Rd), Vero Beach
February 20 - Native Plants for water quality, Margerie Shropshire, Conservationist and aithor of several native plant books
For information, please call Judy Avril at 772-567-1565 or visit Eugenia Chapter - FNPS.
National Wildlife DayFebruary 22 and September 4
National Wildlife Day (Feb. 22nd & September 4th) founded in 2005 by animal behaviorist and philanthropist Colleen Paige, serves to bring awareness of endangered animals nationally as well as globally, that need to be preserved and rescued from their demise each year, but also to acknowledge zoos and outstanding animal sanctuaries globally for everything they do to help preserve this planet's animals and educate the public about conservation - especially to children....our animal's future caretakers and conservationists.
Visit www.nationalwildlifeday.com to learn more.
Pygmy Fringe Tree Wildflower FestivalMarch 2020
South Florida State College, Avon Park, Florida
SFSC Museum of Florida Art & Culture teams up with area organizations to celebrate native wildflowers of the Lake Wales Ridge. The Pygmy Fringe Tree Wildflower Festival at SFSC celebrates Lake Wales Ridge native wildflowers with guided walks on the Wayside Shrine Trail, native plant sale, student art exhibition, and music by Back Porch Revival.
For more information, visit http://mofac.org/programs/fringe-tree-wildflower-festival.
Environmental Learning Center's EcoFestMarch 1, 2020, 11am to 4pm
255 Live Oak Drive, Vero Beach
"An afternoon of outdoor fun and our BIGGEST event of the year! Join us for an environmental festival to celebrate how our planet is connected to our health."
For all the details, visit the ELC website.
Marine Resources CouncilLagoon House, 3275 Dixie Hwy NE (US 1), Palm Bay
Brown Bag Lunch LectureFirst Tuesday of the month at noon
March 3, 2020, TBA
For more information visit the MRC website at www.mrcirl.org.
World Wildlife DayMarch 3, 2020
On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. Countries around the world are encouraged to highlight species of wild animals and plants from their own countries.
For more information and events around the world, visit www.wildlifeday.org.
Pelican Island Wildlife FestivalMarch 7, 2020, 10am - 4pm
Riverview Park, Sebastian, Florida
The 28th Pelican Island Wildlife Festival, hosted by the Pelican Island Preservation Society and the City of Sebastian, celebrates the 115th anniversary of the establishment the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (the nation's first), by President Theodore Roosevelt. For information, visit the PIPS website.
World Water DayMarch 22, 2020
International World Water Day is held annually in March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
For more information, visit the World Water Day website.
Florida Wildflower & Garden FestivalMarch 28, 2020
In addition to wildflower & gardening education, the festival features vendors who provide information, wildflower and gardening-themed products, and arts and crafts related to general gardening, native plant gardening, gardening for birds, butterflies and wildlife, habitat creation, home improvement, environmental conservation, recycling and "Green" living.
For more information, visit the Florida Wildflower Festival website.
Earth HourMarch 28, 2020
On Saturday March 28th at 8:30pm, millions of people across the world are switching off lights for one hour - to celebrate their commitment to the planet. This year, you can do more. For more information, visit www.earthhour.org.
National Park WeekApril 2020
Each year in April America celebrates National Park Week –– a chance to hike, learn, share, and give back in the nation’s 391 national parks. Take this time to celebrate what we all have inherited as Americans – 84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures.
Whether it is your first trip, or the latest of many memorable park experiences, National Park Week is a chance for all Americans to get active while experiencing the amazing places that make up the national park system for FREE. Visit any of America’s national parks and enjoy free admission all week long!
Visit www.nps.gov/findapark/national-park-week.htm for more information.
Florida Wildflower SymposiumApril 2020
Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center, Gainesville, FL
The Florida Wildflower Symposium is the only educational gathering of its kind, focusing exclusively on Florida’s native wildflowers and the wildlife that depends on them.
The tenth annual symposium will offer field trips to local natural areas, hands-on workshops, and educational presentations by experts on planting and growing native wildflowers, creating habitat for pollinators, and much more. For more information, visit the Florida Wildflower Foundation website.
Viera Wetlands Nature FestivalApril 4-5, 2020
3658 Charlie Corbeil Way, Viera, FL
The event includes an art exhibit, tours, kids' activities, nature exhibitis, birding and photography workshops. For more information visit http://vieracommunityinstitute.com/viera-wetlands-nature-festival.
Gopher Tortoise DayApril 10, 2020
April 10th was officially adopted by the Gopher Tortoise Council as Gopher Tortoise Day! In Florida, gopher tortoises are found in parts of all 67 counties and are frequently encountered in neighborhoods, along roadways, and in many of Florida’s public parks and forests. The goal of Gopher Tortoise Day is to increase awareness and appreciation for these long lived, gentle reptiles. For more information, visit the Gopher Tortoise Day website.
National Bat Appreciation DayApril 17, 2020
National Bat Appreciation Day occurs annually on April 17th. National Bat Appreciation Day is an excellent time to learn about the role bats play in nature. One important reason to celebrate bats is that they are considered to be an “insectivorous” creature because they rid our world of many bothersome insects. Visit www.nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-bat-appreciation-day-april-17 to learn more fun bat facts!
National Prescription Drug Take-Back DayApril 25, 2020
On April 27th the public will have the opportunity to dispose of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Properly disposing of unwanted medications helps keep them out of our water, and ultimately our waterways. Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.
Last October, Americans turned in 456 tons (over 912,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall since 2010 the DEA and its partners have taken in over 9 million pounds of pills.
For more information, and to locate a take-back location near you, visit the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day website.
National Invasive Species Awareness WeekMay 16 - 23, 2020
Participate in events across the nation to raise awareness and identify solutions to invasive species issues at local, state, tribal, regional, international and national scales. Locate an invasive species event in your state or county. For more information, visit the NISAW website.
National Trails DayJune 2020
American Hiking Society's National Trails Day® (NTD) is a celebration of America's magnificent Trail System, occurring annually on the first Saturday in June. NTD features a series of outdoor activities, designed to promote and celebrate the importance of trails in the United States. Individuals, clubs and organizations from around the country host National Trails Day® events to share their love of trails with friends, family, and their communities. NTD introduces thousands of Americans to a wide array of trail activities: hiking, biking, paddling, horseback riding, trail running, and bird watching and more. For public and private land managers alike, National Trails Day® is a great time to showcase beautiful landscapes and special or threatened locales as thousands of people will be outside looking to participate in NTD events.
For more information, visit www.nationaltrailsday.org.
National Rivers Month
June 1st marks the start of National Rivers Month, a thirty day tribute and celebration of America’s most treasured rivers. Take a moment this month to think about your favorite waterway and how it connects to habitat, drinking water, recreation, energy, and life. What can you do to ensure that these waterways remain clean and viable for generations to come?
The American Association for the Advancement of Science has some online educational resources available for kids of all ages, to teach them more about rivers and our important water resources. Visit their website at http://sciencenetlinks.com/daily-content/06/09/.
In addition, American Rivers and the Arbor Day Foundation have information about celebrating and protecting rivers at https://www.americanrivers.org/2017/06/need-healthy-rivers and http://arbordayblog.org/national-forests/happy-national-rivers-water-month.
Treasure Coast Lionfish SafariJune 2020
Ft. Pierce, Florida
The Treasure Coast Lionfish Safari is our area’s tournament aimed at reducing the number of invasive lionfish in our coastal waters. This event will succeed in gathering research information for local scientists, reduce the numbers of this invasive species, and encourage sportsmen to take an active hand in protecting the unique and diverse ecosystem we have right at our doorstep. For more information visit the Treasure Coast Lionfish Safari website.
World Oceans DayJune 8, annualy
On World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents. There are several events around Florida celebrating the day and the closest will be at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach. The SMS event will be held from 10 AM to 3 PM. Please visit their website at www.marinelife.org for information about all the activities for this event.
For more information about World Oceans Day, please visit www.worldoceansday.org.
National Estuaries WeekSeptember 2020
National Estuaries Week is the annual celebration of the vibrant and essential coastal areas where rivers meet the sea. Culminating with the National Estuaries Day celebration held on the last Saturday of September each year, it's a terrific opportunity to learn more about estuaries and the perfect excuse to spend a day on your local bay. You can take advantage of volunteer opportunities and hands-on restoration in your nearby bay or estuary, participate in a guided walk or boat tour, or simply explore your estuary with family and friends. Every year, Restore America's Estuaries and its 11 national member organizations across the country organize special National Estuaries Day events--beach clean-ups, hikes, canoe and kayak trips, cruises, workshops, and more!
For more information about National Estuaries Week and other events around the country, please visit them at www.estuaries.org/national-estuaries-week.
International Coastal CleanupSeptember 19, 2020
Ocean trash is a serious pollution problem that affects the health of people, wildlife and local economies. Join the world’s largest volunteer effort for our ocean and waterways by participating in the International Coastal Cleanup.
The Ocean Conservancy sposnors this even world-wide and Keep Indian River Beautiful (KIRB) will be coordinating volunteers and cleanup locations in Indian River County. For more information about this event, visit the Ocean Conservancy. For information about KIRB or to volunteer for the cleanup, visit them at www.keepindianriverbeautiful.org or call 772-226-7738.
In Brevard County, Keep Brevard Beautiful (KBB) will be hosting ICC cleanup events there. For more information about KBB or to volunteer in Brevard County, visit them at http://keepbrevardbeautiful.org or call 321-631-0501.
National Public Lands DaySaturday, September 26, 2020
National Public Lands Day (NPLD), sponsored by Toyota Motor North America, is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Through NPLD, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health.
To encourage people to join in and visit their public lands, NPLD is a fee-free day for all federal public lands and many state parks. Whether you volunteer on NPLD, enjoy some boating, hiking, fishing, or camping, or simply learn more about your public lands and the plants and wildlife that live there, we invite you to take this day to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate the lands that give us so much.
For more information, visit the National Public Lands Day website.
The Big Sit!October 2020
The Big Sit! is an annual, international, noncompetitive birding event hosted by Bird Watcher’s Digest and founded by the New Haven (Connecticut) Bird Club. Every team that observes the year’s “Golden Bird” has a chance to win $500. Every year, bird watchers from around the globe unite on this special day by participating in this free event, open to any person and club in any country!
The Big Sit! is like a Big Day or a bird-a-thon in that the object is to tally as many bird species as can be seen or heard within 24 hours. The difference lies in the area limitation from which you may observe.
To learn more and to register, visit the The Big Sit! website.
Florida Wildlife FestivalOctober 2020
Come and experience the “Real” Florida at the original “wildlife focused” festival.
The purpose of the Florida Wildlife Festival is to increase awareness and promote the safe coexistence of humans and wildlife by fostering community appreciation of the Florida black bear and other native wildlife species, as well as Florida’s unique ecosystems that serve as wildlife habitat.
For more information, visit the festival website at http://floridawildlifefestival.org.
October is Native Plant Month in Florida
The Florida Native Plant Society celebrates native plants with a month-long celebration in October each year. Events across the state help to remind everyone of the importance of planting, and converting your yards, to native plants for wildlife diversity, lower maintenance, and need for fertilizers and pesticides! Since native plants are adapted to our climate, there is something that will always be in blossom at various times throughout the year. To learn more about this annual event, and more resources for native plants, visit the FNPS at https://fnps.org/news/plantmonth.
Florida Bat FestivalOctober 2020
This unique event will provide a rare opportunity for the general public and wildlife lovers to visit a working research center and to see the bats face-to-face. This is the only day of the year when the center is open to the public.
The festival will be held on the grounds of the Lubee Bat Conservancy, a 110-acre ranch, located at 1309 NW 192nd Avenue in Gainesville, FL. This free festival offers exciting opportunities for the whole family. Whether you are viewing live fruit bats, sitting in on an education presentation, or visiting a vendor’s booth, the festival offers relaxation and recreation.
Each year this event features free activities, including bat-themed crafts and games for kids, educational exhibits, presentations by bat experts, and the unique opportunity to see live fruit bats with 5 ft wingspans on exhibit in our Bat Zone. Local vendors will be spread across the beautiful grounds of the conservancy selling food and beverages, providing local environmental education information, and selling batty merchandise.
For more information as it becomes available, visit the bat festival Facebook page.
Indian River Lagoon Science FestivalOctober 2020
Veterans Memorial Park, 600 N. Indian River Dr., Ft. Pierce
The free family-friendly festival is a celebration of science and aims to show that science is not only meanignful and relevant, but also fun! Exhibitors will have hands-on activities and demonstrations exploring different areas of science, such as agriculture, health science, entomology, ecology, marine science, stage performance, the procession of the species, and more! To learn more, visit the IRL Science Festival website.
Florida Panther FestivalNovember 2020
Naples Zoo, Naples, Florida
Make plans to attend this family-friendly event to celebrate the local wildlife of Collier County, including the endangered Florida panther. Along with all regular zoo activities including see a living Florida panther, guests will enjoy outdoor exhibits by area conservation partners, fun activities for kids, and practical talks about living with wildlife presented by experts.
For more information, visit the Florida Panther Festival website.
The Native Plant ShowNovember 2020
Mounts Botanical Garden, 559 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL
Are you a native plant enthusiast? Are you interested in learning more about adding natives to your landscape? Plan to attend The Native Plant Show, Nov. 7–8, 2019, at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach. Shop for native plants, learn more about them, find professionals who can help and return home ready to plant.
Florida Wildflower Foundation Program Manager Stacey Matrazzo will lead a class on Florida's native edible plants. This show-and-tell presentation will include opportunities to taste, touch and see many of the plants in a landscape setting.
For more information, please visit The Native Plant Show website.
America Recycles DayNovember 15, 2020
Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on November 15 to celebrate America Recycles Day. More than a celebration, America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States. One day to educate and motivate. One day to get our neighbors, friends and community leaders excited about what can be accomplished when we all work together. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year.
For more information and to get involved, please visit the America Recycles Day website.
For more information about recycling in Indian River County please visit the Indian River County Solid Waste Department website or call them at 772-770-5112, or visit the Keep Indian River Beautiful website or call KIRB at 772-226-7738. In Brevard County, visit the Brevard County Solid Waste Management website or call them at 321-633-2042, or visit the Keep Brevard Beautiful website or call them at 321-631-0501.
Annual Scrub-Jay FestivalJanuary 2021
Only one bird species, the Florida scrub-jay, makes its home exclusively in the Sunshine State. This songbird, with its bright blue headdress, wings and tail and bold, curious behavior depends on scrub habitat for survival. The Florida Scrub-Jay Festival celebrates the only bird species unique to Florida as well as the scrub-jay’s unique and interesting habitat. The Florida scrub-jay currently is federally listed as a threatened species. Scrub-jays are bold, curious, charismatic and true Florida natives.
The free festival includes guided hikes and eco-buggy tours, a Scrub-Jay Q&A with experts, a keynote presentation, prescribed fire demonstrations, kids’ activities, exhibits and entertainment. For more information about the festival, visit the FL Scrub-Jay Festival facebook page. For more information about the Florida scrub-jay, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.
Click here to view online photos of scrub-jays taken by the FWC.
Everglades Birding FestivalJanuary 2021
Journey through south Florida searching for beautiful and rare birds in ancient moss-covered cypress swamps, everglades prairies that join the sky and brilliant marshes that sparkle with flashes of roseate wings.
The festival includes keynote speakers, workshops, and field tours. Registration is required as space is limited and activities fill up quickly, so be sure and register early. For more information, visit the Everglades Birding Festival website.
Arbor Day in FloridaJanuary 2021
Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska.
For many years, Arbor Day was celebrated on April 22, J. Sterling Morton’s birthday. Today, National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.
Florida has celebrated Arbor Day since 1886 and has one of the first Arbor Day celebrations in the nation, on the third Friday in January. Due to Florida's warmer climate, it is convenient, and even advantageous to plant trees at this early date in the season. Over 200 communities in Florida celebrate Arbor Day, either as a stand-alone event or in conjunction with some other occasion. Sebastian celebrates National Arbor Day though closer to the April 22nd date, in conjunction with its annual Earth Day celebration.
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife FestivalJanuary 2021
Eastern Florida State College, Titusville
22nd year in Titusville and the Space Coast. More than 200 activities, led by leading authorities. Considered by many to be the #1 wildlife festival in America.
For more information, please visit their website at www.spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org.
Harmony Dark Sky FestivalJanuary 2021
Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales, Florida
Discover Bok Tower Gardens by the light of the Milky Way at the HARMONY Dark Sky Festival & Star Party in February. The evening event includes learning about the night sky with leading astronomers, nocturnal animal encounters, night hikes, and a special astronomy-inspired carillon concert.
Learn about the night sky with astronomers, meet animals who survive in the dark, and enjoy a special astronomy-inspired carillon concert. Darkness not only adds to the aesthetic qualities of the wildness, but is important to the health of wildlife. As most of the world is faced with the effects of artificial light pollution, the Dark Sky Festival aims to educate citizens about the importance and magic of natural darkness. Learn how you can make the darkness enjoyable and safe for all Earth’s inhabitants.
For more information, visit the Bok Tower Gardens website.
World Wetlands DayFebruary 2, 2021
2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
Each year since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
On 27 January 1998, the then Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Mr. Delmar Blasco, signed the first partnership agreement between a global environmental convention and the private sector with Mr. Franck Riboud, CEO of the Danone Group, Yves Buchsenschutz, Director General of the Evian Water Company, France, part of the Danone Group, and Mrs. Dominique Voynet, French Minister for the Environment. The Danone–Evian Fund for Water was born. Its mission is to raise awareness among decision-makers and the public at large of the importance of water resources through a portfolio of projects and educational products.
For more information and downloadable resource materials, visit www.worldwetlandsday.org.
Gopher Tortoise Coalition
The Gopher Tortoise Coalition is a group of concerned citizens that was recently formed with the change in the status of the gopher tortoise in Florida, by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC took the action to upgrade the status of the gopher tortoise to "threatened" and just recently has changed the requirements for relocating tortoises out of the way of development.
The gopher tortoise suffers from an "upper respiratory tract" disease and the FWC has always required that tortoises being relocated off-site from areas being developed, to be tested for the disease before they can be relocated. In lieu of that, developers were allowed to apply for an "incidental take permit", which allowed them to pay a mitigation fee and entomb any gopher tortoises on-site as a result of the development work. This has historically been the easiest and most expeditious process for developers. With the recent change of policy by the FWC, tortoises can now be relocated off-site without the testing and many developers seem eager to do that. One logistical problem is having the time and man-power, to actually do the work of relocation. That's where you, the public and the Gopher Tortoise Coalition come in. If you are interested in helping out, please call Ilka Daniel, Director of Outreach Services with the Humane Society at 772-388-3331, ext. 28 or 772-473-6889.
Operation Medicine Cabinet - A Prescription for Safe Kids and a Clean Environment
Operation Medicine Cabinet is a professional, comprehensive, public safety and environmental awareness program designed to prevent the misuse and abuse of unwanted over-the-counter and prescription medications, and keep them out of communities' water supplies.
Operation Medicine Cabinet keeps unwanted medications out of the wrong hands. Medicines left unattended or disposed of carelessly are a danger, whether it's accidental ingestion by people or pets, illegal use or theft, or identity theft from discarded containers with patient information.
Operation Medicine Cabinet protects the environment and prevents pollution by helping communities properly dispose of unused medications. Studies show that flushing medications down the toilet or sink drain contaminates water supplies and endangers aquatic life in our rivers and streams; wastewater facilities aren't designed to remove pharmaceutical chemicals.
For information on collection of unwanted medications in Indian River County, please contact the Indian River County Sheriff's Department at 772-569-6700 or visit their website. They will accept old/unwanted medications year-round at the Sheriff's Office, located at 4055 41st Ave., Vero Beach.
For collection information in Brevard County, please contact the Brevard County Sheriff's Department at 321-264-5201. Unwanted medications can be dropped off at the their South Precinct Office located at 1515 Sarno Road, Melbourne.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has additional information on the proper disposal of unused and unwanted medications. While flushing medications down the toilet is the least desirable method of disposal, there are certain medications that this is still the recommended method. The FDA maintains a list of these medications. For more information on disposal of unused medications, environmental concerns and guidelines for disposal, please visit the FDA website.
The American Rivers organization has published a page on their website entitled "Pharmaceuticals in the Water Supply." "In 2008, the Associated Press found an array of pharmaceuticals, from pain killers to antibiotics to mood stabilizers, in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan water suppliers. Further, 34 of the 62 water suppliers contacted by the AP couldn’t provide results as they had never tested for pharmaceutical compounds." Their website discusses the problems and imapcts to your health and the environment.
You will also find more information on medication safety, environmental impacts and safe disposal on the National Community Pharmacists Assocaiton Dispose My Meds, the Teleosis Institute's Green Pharmacy Program and the Product Stewardship Institute's The Drug Take Back Network websites. Please visit these websites for more information on the safety, and prevention of environmental hazards, in disposing of unused medications. Our local waterways will be better for it!
Winn-Dixie recently announced that its pharmacies will offer specially designed medication disposal envelopes to help its customers safely dispose of unused, outdated or unwanted medications.
The specially designed TakeAway Environmental Return System envelopes, made by Sharps Compliance, offer a convenient, safe and environmentally responsible method to dispose of unused, expired or unwanted noncontrolled prescription or over-the-counter medications, the grocer stated.
"Winn-Dixie is making it easy for our customers to dispose of unwanted medications, preventing potential misuse of these medications and also preventing contamination of our lakes and rivers, many of which serve as community water supplies," stated John Fegan, Winn-Dixie VP pharmacy.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration holds a "National Drug Take-Back Day" each year in September. You will find more information about this event and drug disposal information on their website at http://deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.
Vintage & Green Market, Downtown Vero BeachSecond Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm
Heritage Center, 14th Ave., Vero Beach
For more information, please visit the Main Street Vero Beach website or call 772-563-0620.