Students will take the helm at the town’s annual Earth Day celebration Friday at the Mandel Recreation Center.
“Restore Our Earth” is the theme of this year’s event, which promises a half-day of art, science and music. The event is free and open to the public.
Activities will be from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the recreation center at 340 Seaview Ave. It will include student speakers from the Palm Beach Day Academy and Palm Beach Public School, a nature-themed student art gallery and music performed by the Palm Beach Public Orchestra Strings.
From 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., in the Smith Family Fieldhouse, visitors can enjoy the student art gallery and a native plant giveaway.
Students from the fifth and eighth grades will discuss the positive impacts of owning native plants and other strategies to help restore the planet.
There also will be a native planting ceremony at the recreation center flagpole by the students from Palm Beach Public and the Day Academy.
The goal is to encourage the community to rethink its dependence on pesticides and chemicals in the environment and to focus on the benefits of native plants and other ‘Earth friendly’ practices, Assistant Town Manager Carolyn Stone said.
“Our Earth Day program is designed to inspire us to think about more than just our own sustenance, but how our actions impact the natural environment,” Stone said. “The main goal is to bring awareness to best practices that each individual can take to help care for our planet – at home. We need to do all we can to protect our island paradise.”
Early in the program, Mayor Danielle Moore will make brief remarks highlighting simple steps residents can take to embrace nature and make Palm Beach more beautiful and environmentally friendly.
“The exciting thing about this Earth Day celebration is that the students are leading,” said Beth Dowdle, conservation chair for the Garden Club of Palm Beach and a member of the Palm Beach Civic Association’s Environmental Beautification Committee. “They have been studying how native plants and gardening without chemicals can help save the planet. The garden club members will be there to support and celebrate with the students.”
The native plants being given out Friday are Partridge pea plants that attract four different types of butterflies, Dowdle said.
“Native plants have value beyond aesthetics,” she said. “They play an essential role in supporting our pollinators and birds … It’s not enough to simply decorate with plants anymore. We are racing to save the planet.”
The civic association’s Palm Beach TV crew will be there to cover Friday’s event for an upcoming report.
“I encourage everyone to come out to the recreation center to attend this year’s Earth Day activities and to enjoy a day filled with both fun and education,” said Linda Beaty, co-chair of the civic association’s Environmental Beautification Committee.
First held in 1970, Earth Day is observed each year on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It is coordinated globally by EarthDay.org and involves millions of people in nearly 200 countries.