This Earth Day, Wekiva Island is bringing together sustainability advocates, expert environmentalists, and thought leaders within the Orlando community to discuss the future of our planet. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn about the current state of our environment and what we can do to protect it.

All panels will be joined by Wekiva Island Owner Bill Weinaug and moderated by JoEl LaBorde. 

Hosted at Wekiva Island’s Gallery CERO on Friday, April 19th from 6:00 to 7:45 pm. Free admission; RSVP required below.

Orlando's Path to Resilience & Innovation​

Explore sustainability, conservation advocacy, and innovation as our panelists discuss their expertise in protecting the local Wekiva Springshed and advancing smart city initiatives across Orlando. Discover insights into preserving our city’s natural beauty and resources, and learn about the innovative practices shaping our sustainable future. Join us for an engaging discussion that ignites action and champions a greener, more resilient Orlando.

Mike Hess

Director of Sustainability, Resilience and the Future-Ready City Initiative, City of Orlando

Mike is a mechanical engineer and a LEED Fellow. He is the director of the sustainability, resilience, and future-ready city initiatives for the City of Orlando. This includes helping the City with autonomous vehicles, Advanced Air Mobility planning, entrepreneur engagement, resilience hubs, digital twins, local food, and 100% clean energy goals, among others. He previously worked as VP of Smart and Sustainable Buildings for Panasonic.

Gabrielle Milch

Supervisor 4, Seminole Soil and Water Conservation & St John’s Riverkeeper Middle Basin Manager

Gabbie has worked in the central Florida on water resource protection and outreach since 1989. She has worked for local governments and had her own consulting firm.

She attended Rollins College and has a BA in Environmental Studies and done masters work in Agricultural Education and Outreach MS at the University of Florida while working as the Urban Horticulture Agent for Seminole County. She is currently on the Seminole county acquisition and restoration advisory committee for Seminole county appointed by Andrea Herr Commissioner for Seminole county for the Seminole Forever program.

Website

Chuck O'Neal

President, Speak Up Wekiva, Inc.

Chuck O’Neal graduated in 1977 from Duke University with two majors – Mathematics and Public Policy. He has a lifelong attachment to Florida’s natural resources and beauty. Chuck ran for the Florida Senate in 2016, having previously served as Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and as First Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. For his work on conservation issues Chuck has received various advocacy awards as well as the (WFTV) Cox Conserves Hero Award in 2015. In 2020 he was chosen as a finalist for Central Floridian of the Year by the Orlando Sentinel’s Editorial Board.

In May of 2020, Chuck became Chairman of the political committee which campaigned for passage of the Rights to Clean Water charter amendment among Orange County’s population of 1.4 million citizens. On November 3rd, 2020, the charter amendment passed with over 89% of the vote. This made Orange County, Florida, the largest municipality in the United States to pass a Rights of Nature initiative. It also demonstrated that in a time of increased antipathy between the political parties, there is one thing upon which we can agree – our waterways needs the highest level of protection, a rights-based form of protection.

Website

Pioneering Sustainable Solutions Locally

Discover how these local heroes are making waves in Orlando’s sustainability scene, from diverting waste and transforming landscapes to fostering eco-conscious communities and championing sustainable businesses. Learn how you too can get involved in creating a greener, more vibrant future for Orlando and beyond.

Kellie Antonowicz

Director of Education, IDEAS For Us/Fleet Farming

Kellie Antonowicz is the Director of Education for the Orlando-based environmental nonprofit IDEAS For Us. She has a deep love and passion for all flora and fauna, but especially native species found in Florida. While earning her Bachelor’s of Environmental Science and Policy at Florida State University, Kellie worked at the Tallahassee Museum nonprofit, learning how to care for native wildlife and how to restore the natural habitats found all around Florida. These experiences led her to her current position, where she is able to share her environmental passions with the Orlando community, engaging students from aged 3 to 100! She has led and planned over 300 events during her 2 year tenure as Education Director, ranging from gardening workshops, green job trainings, nature walks and more.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Alyssa Bolanos

Owner + Founder, Oh Eco

Alyssa is a mother, eco advocate and entrepreneur. Her mission of accessible sustainability led her to open Oh Eco, Orlando’s first brick + mortar eco shop and refillery. Her work has won her such awards like Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 and Sustainable Superstar of the Year. When she’s not working on environmental justice, she is exploring nature with her family.

Website | Instagram | Instagram

Charlie Pioli

Founder/CEO, O-Town Compost

Charlie Pioli, started his career in solid waste & recycling consulting, where he witnessed the egregious waste our country produces on a regular basis. Spurred to action, he started O-Town Compost, because he thought it’d be fun, and to give his neighbors a sustainable option to recycle their food scraps.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

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    Wekiva Winter Wonderland Santa's Workshop

    Winter Wonderland Has Arrived!

    Winter Wonderland is back again, and we’re excited to celebrate the festive season all December long. In addition to our well-loved activities like daily “snow” flurries, the Christmas tree forest and our 24-ft tall tree, and visits from your favorite Christmas characters, Santa is inviting all the good boys and girls for the first time ever to his Workshop, right here at Wekiva Island.

    Easter Hours

    We're open - Easter
    We will be open normal hours, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Sunday, March 31.

    Join us for our annual Earth Day celebration this Friday, April 19th all day long! Click to discover all the activities we have in store. 🌎