It’s that time of year again friends. Time to break out the potting soil and gardening gloves and get to weeding those flower beds. Maybe I will take up composting this year. My plants and shrubs could certainly use the additional nutrition that composting provides. I just have to remember to keep those coffee grounds and eggshells!
April signals the start of spring for most of us and the start of spring often brings to mind the emergence of new life and budding growth. As a resident of this big blue planet, I find it more and more important every year to learn how I can help to take care of this delicate planet we have been given. As I referenced this time last year, I know I take the time to consider each item before tossing it away and consider … “is it recyclable, reusable, is it hazardous and how long will it stay in the landfill?” While this mental checklist was daunting at first, it has become second nature to me now and is the least I can do to give back to the planet that gives us everything.
One of the best reminders of the importance of maintaining an earth-friendly mindset occurs every year on April 22nd for the last 49 years, Earth Day. Earth Day 2019 is focusing on protecting our species from extinction. One of the best ways of providing protection to nature’s wildlife is through nature preservation areas such as the Viera Wetlands.
The Viera Wetlands, also known as the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, is 200 acres of conservation area within the Viera area. The wetlands and the wildlife it protects have become a popular tourist destination for birders, photographers and eco-tourists from around the country. Each year, around Earth Day, Brevard County, in partnership with the Viera Community Institute, hosts the Viera Wetlands Nature Festival. This year is the 10th anniversary of the festival which will be held on Saturday, April 13th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, April 14th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Exhibits at this annual event feature local wildlife – birds, bats, and butterflies, native plants, nature photography, birds of prey and art. Scheduled activities include guided walking and van tours of the wetlands, tours of the adjacent wastewater treatment facility, and workshops in both wildlife photography and birding. This year there will be a special sunrise birding tour scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 a.m. with Chris Koeppel, an avid birder for over 40 years and employee of Brevard County’s Natural Resources Management Department. All tours are limited to 20 or fewer participants if you are interested you may register for tours at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090A4BAAA92CA4FA7-2019. Additional information about the wetlands and the tours being conducted is available at https://www.brevardfl.gov/NaturalResources/VieraWetlandsNatureFestival.
The Viera Wetlands Festival, including the guided nature tours, are free of charge but donations to the Wetlands are encouraged.
While April 22nd is National Earth Day, our planet Earth is something we should cherish and strive to preserve every day of the year, after all, this may be the only one we get.
So, until next time remember, “He that plants trees love others besides himself.” (Dr. Thomas Fuller)
Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.