At Wekiva Island, we like to say that every day is Earth Day. That’s because we work hard every day to live out our mission of sustainability, which is one of our driving pillars.
But this Earth Day, we did it BIG!
Earth Day 2023 at Wekiva Island involved two full days of celebrating our planet and all we can do to help it. We were honored to be able to celebrate with so many of our patrons and fans, but if you missed it, we wanted to share some of it with you.
We kicked off the day with a visit from our friends at FOX 35. Their Care Force mobilizes to do some good in the Central Florida community, and we were proud to welcome them out to participate in Friday’s river clean up with Keep Seminole Beautiful.
Check out the amazing commercial they created to drum up support!
On top of hosting their team to make a difference, we also had reporter David Martin and anchor John Brown on site to share more about why we care so much about Earth Day and sustainability, how we help the river, and what events we had in store.
Here’s a peek at our owner, Bill Weinaug, and his interview.
Check out the interview with some of our dedicated volunteers here, and click below to see Mary Weinaug, Bill’s wife and the president of Keep Seminole Beautiful, sharing more with John Brown.
We repeated with another river clean up on Earth Day itself. Keep Seminole Beautiful conducts these clean ups twice a month, and we are happy to host one at Wekiva Island. While we certainly find far less litter in the river than when we started in 2009 (when we collected more than three TONS of waste!), that’s a good thing! It’s one small part of keeping the Wekiva River healthy.
As part of our Earth Day “pre-game”, we also had an Island scavenger hunt, an art exhibition, a kids activity where the young Islanders could learn more about birds, and a fantastic partnership with Bomb Blooms for a succulent design workshop.
But one highlight of Friday was our ability to further discuss various aspects of our mission with some of our friends in sustainability.
We were lucky enough to connect with Chris Castro, who is currently the Chief of Staff for the Office of State and Community Energy Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Bill and Mary became good friends with Chris during the time he co-founded Ideas for Us, while he was at UCF. We were able to chat with him about some old
times, what we are currently doing at Wekiva Island, Chris’ work with the City of Orlando, and most importantly what he’s up to in his current position in Washington D.C. He explained the various funding options coming down from the DOE to move clean energy forward and so much more. You can watch our entire conversation here.
To cap off the day, we met up with Charlie Pioli of O-Town Compost. O-Town Compost aims to help divert food scraps from the Orange County landfill while using those scraps to create nutrient-rich soil for local agriculture. Charlie shared more about that mission in our Eco Talk with him, which you can view here.
That talk was also important to us because it allowed us to introduce our new partnership with O-Town Compost—Wekiva Blooms. We will be composting scraps from our food truck, Without a Paddle Café, at the Island and hope to compost food scraps from you as well!
You can purchase a bucket at the Tooting Otter General Store, take it home with you to collect your food scraps, bring them to our community composting center on your next Island visit, and know you’re making a difference in the landfill and for our for local farmers and agriculture!
Finally, we kept the party rolling on Earth Day itself when our friend, Otis the Tooting Otter, swam up for his annual conversation with Bill. They caught up, but also talked about the health of the river and the importance of protecting our water. Check the chat out here.
We are so thankful for everyone who made this Earth Day at Wekiva Island a success. But, like we said, every day is Earth Day for us. Check out our sustainability efforts and learn more about how you make a difference every time you visit us here.
We hope to see you for an even bigger bash in 2024