In JAX, Earth Day isn’t just celebrated once a year on April 22. On the contrary, residents can explore some of the best outdoor living in Florida and help make the environment a healthier, happier and more sustainable place every day. Keep reading to find out how to make every day Earth Day throughout the region’s beautiful parks and waterways.
With more than 80,000 acres of parks and 87 miles of coastal beaches, the opportunities to immerse yourself in the nature of JAX are endless. When you go beyond the sand and surf, you’ll find that JAX has the most extensive park system in the country with our 400+ national, state and city parks (Jacksonville as a city has the largest urban park system in itself!).
Pack a picnic and enjoy the blooming azaleas in a rustic, tropical gardens of Palatka’s Ravine Gardens State Park or grab a bike and ride along the Palatka to St. Augustine Trail. Participate in disc golf or surf ‘The Poles’ in Hanna Park or check out the wildlife in Betz-Tiger Point Preserve. Catch some waves at the River to Sea Preserve before taking your furry friend for a walk down the trail at GTM Research Reserve. For a weekend full of fun, set off on the Three-Day Explorer’s Guide to experience the ultimate coastal eco adventure in Jacksonville’s Northside.
Four of the seven JAX counties border the Atlantic Ocean, while more central locales offer endless waterways, urban and national parks, wetlands and greenways. The breathtaking ecological diversity of the First Coast also means that JAX residents take great pride in maintaining the pristine quality of their waterways through conservation groups.
Want to get involved in protecting the community’s natural and wildlife assets? Join thousands of locals who volunteer to keep our coastlines and waters beautiful:
Making new friends and bettering the community you live in at the same time? Sounds like a win-win to us!
Across JAX, residents are working together to make it a green region – you can be a part of that too! Beaches Go Green, a volunteer-supported organization that works with event teams to encourage use of reusable materials, reduction of single-use items and recycling, hosts beach clean ups throughout the year.
Keep Jacksonville Beautiful (KJB) is the region’s local, grassroots affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. With chapters throughout the region in Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns, residents come together to clean up their neighborhoods through litter prevention, increased recycling, education and projects that support beautification efforts.
One of the best ways to make a difference is to educate yourself so you can educate others around you. North Florida Green Chamber’s website has a directory of green businesses that assist JAX residents with renewable energy, composting, home improvement, community gardening and more.
For eco-educational opportunities, consider learning about the ongoing research programs at University of Florida’s Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, like their “restore our shores” initiative or the rehabilitation and release program at their Sea Turtle Hospital. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, set sail with a University of Florida Master Naturalist Guide for a kayak tour of the GTM Research Reserve.
No matter where you are in the region, there are tons of ways to help make the world a better place. When you live in Northeast Florida, it’s natural to become one of the caretakers of our community – a squad of stewards set on protecting and preserving our well-being and our way of life.