Aidan Bush, Staff Writer – Saturday, April 21, the University of Florida [UF]’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences [IFAS] held the first annual Earth Day festival at the UF/IFAS Extension from 9 A.M. to 12 P.M. Lecanto High School [LHS] journalism students went to the event and presented for the Culture of Clean initiative.
Culture of Clean is an anti-littering awareness campaign the Board of County Commissioners [BOCC] created and LHS is working with to promote local youth activism. At the event, LHS journalism students explained the importance of this project to festival attendees, as well as asked for support of the program through signing up for the Culture of Clean email group.
Senior Jackie Beery was eager to help Culture of Clean spread its message at the event as she felt the initiative will have a large impact on the county.
“I wanted to be a part of something that would make a real difference in the community; Culture of Clean really felt like that to me,” said Beery.
Sophomore McKenna Johnson hopes to continue to help the cause of anti-littering both individually and through the campaign.
“On a personal level, I plan to recycle more in my household and be more aware of the trash in my area; [I will] continue to assist in any way [I can] with the Culture of Clean movement and everything it stands for,” Johnson said.
There was an assortment of things to do at the Earth Day festival including a scavenger hunt and a tree-planting ceremony, as well as other environmental awareness activities. There were many wildlife viewing opportunities as well, with butterflies, insects, worms, and birds.
Leo Bush, a local beekeeper, hosted a table dedicated to the growing of honeybees and production of honey. He also hoped guests would become more conscious of environmental issues through the festival.
“I’m here to spread awareness of the importance of bee pollination. Events like this are important to bring awareness, but also to remind everyone of the local business in support,” Bush said.
The Earth Day festival was a great way to highlight the ways local people can help positively influence their environment.
Crysta Reaves, 4-H extension worker, thought the festival was especially helpful as it would further spread its message through educating kids.
“I think it’s important especially to reach out to the youth, because they bring those things home and educate the rest of the family,” Reaves said.
The first annual Earth Day festival was a huge success and everyone involved hopes to continue to bring about this positive change.