In celebration of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary today, VISIT FLORIDA is shining a light on how destinations across the state are making strides towards sustainability.

Sustainability Initiatives 
With new funding  by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in partnership with Florida State University, will complete the second phase of an Apalachicola Bay Oyster Reef Restoration. This project will implement up to 1,000 acres of oyster reef restoration in Apalachicola Bay and includes the development of oyster harvest management strategies for Apalachicola Bay and Suwanee Sound to ensure the sustainability of restored reefs.

The local community in Brevard County’s Save Our Indian River Lagoon Project focuses on a number of restoration projects, including the removal of derelict vessels from the waterway.

Tastes of Sustainability
Tallahassee has a thriving cultural sustainability scene, home to RedEye Coffee, providing organic brew that is both safe to birds and fairly traded by small farmers.

The Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery in the Bradenton Area doesn’t just use local grapes but recycles and composts nearly everything. Even their irrigation system is solar-powered.

In Amelia Island, The Sprouting Project at the Omni Amelia Island Resort features a state-of-the-art aquaponic greenhouse, an expansive organic garden, a large collection of beehives, and a barrel room. Its 16 colonies of bees are both educational and make tasty additions to the resort’s dishes.

Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, founded by eco-conscious surfers and fishermen, have developed biodegradable six-pack rings made from pressed, recycled grain. Fully disintegrating in about 120 days, the rings can be safely consumed by marine life and work to offset plastic pollution damage to the ocean ecosystem

Voluntourism
Future travelers to the Sunshine State can participate in eco-initiatives in various local communities.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, statewide, offers a variety of volunteer opportunities across Florida—including helping to restore bay scallops in St. Joseph and St. Andrews bays in Northwest Florida, shorebird monitoring near Jacksonville and St. Augustine, collecting important fisheries data in Central Florida’s Highlands County, and helping maintain butterfly gardens in the Everglades.

At the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, located in St. Petersburg, volunteers can work alongside local park and preserve managers on a variety of tasks including removing invasive plants, planting native plants and trash clean-ups. There is also an opportunity to become a citizen scientist by participating in an environmental monitoring program.

In the Florida Keys and Key West, it’s all about volunteering in the name of coral restoration. The second Friday of each month is Coral Restoration Day. Visitors can participate in working dives to coral nurseries, to learn about how the animals are raised and transported to restoration sites.

Back to Nature
With 2,000 miles of coastline, 175 state parks, 320 freshwater springs and more than 1,300 trails, Florida offers endless breathing room to enjoy and appreciate the state’s natural playground.

One of the greenest ways to get around is to paddle. From canoeing to kayaking, to stand-up paddleboarding, there are endless opportunities to reconnect with nature along the waterways. Florida Hikes! offers a comprehensive overview of paddling trails across the state.

Pensacola intends to become a Florida Paddling Trails Blueway Community, providing casual paddlers, day paddlers, and weekend paddlers with additional access to the outdoors.

For more information, visit VISITFLORIDA.com. To inspire future bookings, visit #AmazingDaysAhead.