Family-friendly Earth Day events featured at nature center, park

Marci Shatzman
Sun Sentinel
April 20, 2011

With events for families at Sugar Sand Park in the city and Daggerwing Nature Center out west, it's obvious that Earth Day has come a long way since it was born in the protest mood of the '60s and early '70s.

A new generation of parents already on-board with conservation is taking their children to do nature walks and science demos at Sugar Sand and ladybug releases at Daggerwing. "We want all our visitors to walk away with information on how they can make green decisions at home and at work," said Kelli Dorschel, manager of the nature center in South County Regional Park in West Boca. "We want to educate people how to make environmentally responsible decisions."

Their "Earth Day Event" runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the first presentation at 10:30 a.m., when the South Florida Wildlife Center will release a recovered animal back into the wild.

The first of two ladybug releases is 11:15 a.m. "This is a highlight for the kids, and it was so popular, we added a second one at 2:30 p.m.," Dorschel said. "They get a little container with a bunch of ladybugs and release them in our butterfly garden to educate people that ladybugs are a natural predator of garden pests." The children can also take some home, she said.

At 11:30 p.m. Pretend Party Productions will have a butterfly storytelling, including a science portion on milkweed seeds to plant at home.

The Earth Day Parade is set for 12:30 p.m., using "go green" signs and banners the children create earlier in the center's craft room. At 1 p.m. Okeeheelee Nature Center is presenting a birds of prey program, with a great horned owl and other raptors.

At 2 p.m., Palm Beach County Beekeepers is doing a "beneficial bees" presentation. Guided boardwalk tours at set for 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Recycled crafts by Resource Depot are set for 10 a.m. and noon. "Last year, she had huge car wash brushes," Dorschel said.

The Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County is doing games and button making. The Audubon Society of the Everglades is making pine cone bird feeders. The Sierra Club Loxahatchee Group will have an animal habitat game.

Face painting, photo opps with a live animal for a $5 donation, rain barrel demonstrations and exhibitors giving out information on how to go green and save water are also expected. Most activities are outside, and the center will have food vendors on hand. Families are encouraged to bring their own coolers and eat at the picnic tables. No pets are allowed at the event.

The "Earth Day Celebration" at Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, runs from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes science stories in the Children's Science Explorium at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. for age 5 and older. They're on the superhero "Michael Recycle" and "Wangeri's Trees of Peace," a book about an environmentalist in Kenya.

"This is the first time we're incorporating an art exhibit," said Stacee Lanz, the park's special events coordinator. The works of colorful soda pop artist Jerry Trueman, and recycled 3-D collage artist MarJour, aka Margarita Jourgensen, are already on display in the community center.

Trueman will demonstrate how he creates his art at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. MarJour will help children at the ongoing, make-and-take crafts from recyclable canvas grocery bags and ceramic planters.

Most of the activities are inside, but liquid nitro science demonstrations at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. and guided nature walks on Sugar Sand's trails are outdoors.

There's also a stage show. "The Adventures of Eco-Man," at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Willow Theater at Sugar Sand Park is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the state's Division of Cultural Affairs and Florida Council on the Arts and Culture. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger in advance by calling the box office at 561-347-3948.

 

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