The Village of Palmetto Bay celebrated not just Earth Day, but Earth Week as well during the month of April, conducting several special events.
“Earth Week started on two wheels here in Palmetto Bay with the Bike-B-Que and Bike Rodeo on Apr. 13,” said Kelly Craig, village public information officer. “Coral Reef Park was loaded with plenty of folks who joined Mr. Eric Tullberg in a nature bike ride through the village Saturday. Then, it was the bike rodeo, a canal cleanup and a fabulous barbecue lunch.”
Environmentalists of the Year joined with event-goers and grabbed shovels, planting a shade tree in honor of the occasion. There was a free shade tree giveaway from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Apr. 20, at Ludovici Park.
There was an Earth Week art contest conducted at area schools and Southwood Middle School student Amelia Ovalle won this year’s contest with the theme, “Protect our Species.”
“On Thursday, Amelia was presented with a proclamation from mayor and council, given by Vice Mayor John DuBois and Councilmembers [Patrick] Fiore and [Marsha] Matson,” Craig said. “Amelia’s mother, Norma Ovalle, and grandmother, Norma Gonzales, joined her as an allspice tree was planted in her honor in front of the school. Tree Board member Henry Clifford joined the group and gave a brief history of the allspice, and ensured the tree was firmly implanted to last a long time. An ice cream party for Amelia’s entire class followed.”
Then there was the popular annual Earth Week ladybug release, to teach youngsters about the importance of environmental conservation. Mayor Karyn Cunningham, Councilmember Fiore and members of the Parks Department visited many village schools throughout the week, distributing ladybugs to show preschoolers an alternative to chemical pesticides. The visits included Alexander Montessori School’s Ludlum and Palmetto Bay campuses, Sunrise School of Miami, and Westminster Christian School
The Earth Week Outdoor Movie Night was cancelled due to weather conditions.
Mayor Cunningham was pleased with the range of events.
“The conservation of our resources is so important in Palmetto Bay that we dedicate an entire week to celebrating and educating,’ Mayor Cunningham said. “In addition to our canal cleanups, bike and barbecue, and tree planting, we released more than 30,000 ladybugs and gave away more than 350 trees to the community.
“Each year we place emphasis on the importance of sustainability through education of young and old alike. This year was made even more special as we recognized not one but three Environmentalists of the Year, all working here in our community at Deering Estate. Congrats to Jennifer Tisthammer, Chris Bumpas and Vanessa Trujillo.”