April 22 marks the worldwide commemoration of Earth Day but throughout the year, visitors to the Florida Keys, can do their part to protect the Earth. Many don’t realize that the Florida Keys are surrounded by a national marine sanctuary and paralleled by the United States’ only living coral barrier reef, with other significant conservation efforts in place. We’ve highlighted the many ways that you can do your part during a visit to the Florida Keys and Parrot Key Resort!
Got Your Bags? Florida Keys Pledge
Keys visitors can “take a pledge” in the Got Your Bags? Florida Keys campaign, which encourages the voluntary reduction of single-use plastic bags and the adoption of reusable bags to decrease marine debris and litter in the Keys. The grass-roots initiative was launched in cooperation with the Keys’ Green Living & Energy Education organization, a local nonprofit dedicated to education and promoting sustainable living in the Keys.
Residents and visitors who sign a pledge at First State Bank at MM 30.5 in Big Pine Key — the program’s first designated pledge station — are to receive a complimentary reusable shopping bag donated by the bank and Save-A-Turtle. The latter’s mission is to preserve and protect rare and endangered marine turtles. Big Pine Key is 40 minutes north of Parrot Key Resort. For more information, visit www.keysglee.com/gyb.
Florida Keys Voluntourism Opportunities
Visitors who want to do something good for the environment beyond Earth Day and add an enriching element to their next Florida Keys vacation, can connect and get involved with voluntourism opportunities through a new website at www.keysvoluntourism.com. The site provides direct links to a variety of Florida Keys charities, nonprofit organizations and foundations — all dedicated to protecting and improving the quality of human and animal life in the island chain — that are seeking volunteers.
Keys travelers can give back to the destination and its unique ecosystems with such activities as helping build an underwater coral nursery or planting corals on actual reefs, collecting reef fish populations data, assisting with yard work or minor repairs at an outdoor tropical garden facility, feeding injured wild birds or mending their cages, cleaning or maintaining nature paths or trails, or even helping with fundraising events.
More Information About Green Travel
Florida Keys green travel information: www.fla-keys.com/greentravel