By: Megan Kearney
In Coral Springs, the community slogan is “everything under the sun.” This relates well to environmental aspects of the city, as the sun is needed for the sustainable world to grow and thrive.
On April 18th “everything under the sun” relating to the environment will be showcased at EarthFest, an event in Coral Springs displaying a wide array of wildlife, nature, activities and even a giveaway of 600 plants to Coral Springs residents.
EarthFest is organized by the Neighborhood Environmental Committee, which consists of about 15 people who voluntarily examine environmental issues in the city. The committee chair, Dan Daley, also serves as a Coral Springs city commissioner.
“Environmental issues have always been important to the city of Coral Springs,” Daley said. “EarthFest is an important event because it is an opportunity to stop, take a second, and enjoy all that we have in our community, specifically with regard to nature.”
“The Sawgrass Nature Center is a hidden gem,” said Casey Lee, environmental coordinator and city forester for the city of Coral Springs. “I felt that holding the event there this year would be a great way for the center to get exposure.”
The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will feature exhibitors such as the Broward Beekeepers Association, Girl Scouts, the Public Works Department and many more. Each exhibitor will present a demonstration of something related to the environment. The Environmental Issues Club at Sawgrass Middle School, for example, will be making bags out of recycled t-shirts.
“EarthFest is about celebrating Earth Day and educating residents to preserve our earth,” Lee said. “You can never stop educating, no matter what the beliefs are.”
EarthFest is not the only way Coral Springs continues to grow environmentally, but it allows old and new residents to get involved in the community while learning about the great changes being made.
Jordan Manolakis has been a Coral Springs resident for 42 years. He has seen the city transform in more ways than one, as he moved here when the town was originally being developed.
“The great thing about Coral Springs is that even when it was first developed, people wanted to make it one of the first cities in the country that was completely environmentally friendly,” Manolakis said.
Manolakis believed that Coral Springs was cutting-edge in its attempt to be the first truly environmentally friendly city and still holds that belief to this day despite the many changes he has seen.
“I liked the town better when it was quieter and less populated, but they have done a great job of keeping it clean and friendly,” Manolakis said.
Robin Madison, a 25-year resident of Coral Springs, similarly remembers a time where the city was not as developed as it is today. However, she believes that EarthFest is a great way to shed light on things that residents might not have otherwise known about the ways the community preserves the environment despite new development.
“If they could build into the Everglades, they probably would,” Madison said. “But I think it’s great to see that events are being held to educate people on the nature of our city.”
Events like EarthFest did not occur years ago when the city was just breaking ground. Although things were different then, city officials are always working to make sure that people are educated on ways to utilize the environment and that development does not disrupt preservation.
“We see where Coral Springs and the world was 50 years ago. People have become accustomed to convenience,” Lee said. “The only way we can preserve past generations and look toward the future is to change what we are doing right now.”
About Megan Kearney: Megan is a second year journalism student at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Born and raised in Coral Springs, she knows the city like the back of her hand. You can follow her on Twitter @MeganKearneyUF.