The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s annual Earth Day Festival, an eco- and family-friendly event for all ages, takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at the Conservancy Nature Center, 1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples. The festival features live animal shows, special programs, live music, local vendors and exhibits. The environmentally friendly event offers activities for all ages including electric boat tours along the Gordon River, educational programs for kids and adults, expert lectures, arts and crafts, face painting, hands-on habitat experiences, live music, locally made crafts and tasty festival food. Along with new events, programs and shows, many special presentations are back by popular demand. At noon, Conservancy veterinarian Dr. P.J. Deitschel will be back to ‘wow’ guests with a “Meet the Vet” presentation, teaching guests about a day in the life of a veterinarian at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. The Naples Zoo will present its popular animal show featuring live animals at 1:15 PM Conservancy biologist and python expert Ian Bartoszek will share his “Pythons in Paradise” presentation, discussing the effect of this invasive species on the Southwest Florida environment, at 2:30 in the Jeannie Meg Smith Theater in Eaton Conservation Hall. For a full schedule of events, visit www.conservancy.org/EarthDay. In addition to special events, guests can experience the many interactive exhibits, features and amenities offered at the Conservancy Nature Center. Spot native species, including endangered gopher tortoises, meandering through the Christopher B. Smith upland preserve. Inside the Dalton Discovery Center, guests can experience several “natural” Southwest Florida ecosystems featuring interactive exhibits, a near-shore touch tank exploration and more. In the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, Nature Center guests can observe baby animals in the nursery and learn about animal care. The Shorebird Pool, home to wading birds in their last stages of recovery, is also viewable to the public.
As a part of Earth Day festivities, admission fees are reduced. Conservancy members are admitted for free. Admission for non-members is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12; younger children are admitted for free. The first 50 guests will receive a free Conservancy t-shirt. For more information, visitwww.conservancy. org/EarthDay or call 239-262-0304.