Our Earth Day Celebration

Our Earth Day Celebration

Our Earth Day Celebration

By Diane M. Loeffler

April 22 was Earth Day. Once again, the local Audubon Club celebrated the day at the West Campus Nature Trails with tours of our own little piece of “the real Florida.” Free fruit, snacks, water, a tent, and a port-a-potty were provided by the Community Association.

Attendees signed up for 45-minute long tours from 9 to noon. The 12 groups were kept at 15 people each so everyone could have their questions answered. Each tour provided general information about the park area. Each tour had a special focus. Melanie Higgins’ Tree Huggers Tours talked about the environment. Ray Webb’s tours talked more about birds. During those tours he stopped to identify bird calls and to use his telescope. John Lampkin identified insects and the plants they fed on and pollinated. He often took photos of small insects and then enlarged them so everyone could see.

Melanie Higgins led four tours. In addition to general information about the park, she spoke about the habitat’s environment.

Raffle tickets could be purchased for chances to win beautiful potted plants. Nature photography and other items were available. Some were free, some could be purchased.

A sign indicated where an avian pole is to be installed. Osprey love to nest high in old, dead trees or on top of power poles. The new pole will be in the field in front of the wooded area. TECO is providing the pole and the Audubon Society has been raising money to cover the cost of installation. In order to avoid any confusion during nesting season, the pole will be installed in June or later this year.

A special thanks to the Community Association, the Audubon Society and the Sponsors: Sweet Bay Nursery, Keep It Green and Sunny Days Nursery.

One of four birding tour groups.

The West Campus Nature Trails are located to the west of Del Webb West, south of Vincennes Drive and north of Seton Hall Drive. Tour guide Melanie Higgins says, “It is a shame more people don’t know about the Sun City Center Nature Trails and use it.”

Be sure to mark your calendars for April 22, 2023 for the next Earth Day celebration. In the meantime, you can take part in John Lampkin’s tours at 9 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. You can also just stop by on your own anytime. Just put on closed toe shoes (trails can be bumpy), wear a hat, apply bug spray, and bring your camera. Enjoy the beauty of nature right here.

IN THE TOP PHOTO: Grandchildren of a Sun City Center resident listen intently as John Lampkin shows them insects and the plants they feed on and fertilize.

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