Category Archives: Conservation

Palm Beach County International Coastal Cleanup 2021

On September 18, Adopt-A-Park Partners collected over 1,400lbs of trash at county-operated beaches and parks as part of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), a global awareness day that began in 1986 by Ocean Conservancy to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways. Our partners came out via foot, paddle and SCUBA to host seven cleanups, enlisting over 400 volunteers. The ICC is also an opportunity to educate the community about how plastics and waste impact their environments and how they can make a positive difference by reducing, reusing and recycling every day.  

A huge amount of gratitude goes out to all of our partners and those who participated and contributed to the success of the ICC. Special thanks to the following participating Adopt-A-Park Partners who made a difference during the ICC: Loxahatchee River Center, Visit Palm Beach/Palm Beach Eco-tourism Association, Beach Bucket Foundation, Pura Vida Divers, Nautical Ventures, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, Lake Osbourne Estates Homeowners Association and the Caloosa Cleanup Crew.

A monthly clean up host, The Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute was able to hosts their largest cleanup to date with 62 volunteers. They removed 160lbs of garbage—a new record for our partner. Loxahatchee River Center adopted Coral Cove Park this day and removed over 100lbs from the shoreline with the help of almost 90 volunteers of all ages. Meanwhile, Visit Palm Beach/Palm Beach Eco-tourism Association and the Beach Bucket Foundation held a collaborative effort at Ocean Reef Park, removing over 600lbs from the beach with almost 150 volunteers—an outstanding effort leaving our beaches pristine and trash free that weekend.

At Phil Foster Park, our long-term Adopt-A-Park partner, Pura Vida Divers, hosted a land and water cleanup under the Blue Heron Bridge. A team of divers from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office came out to support this event and helped remove litter that was created from a vessel that had previously polluting the waterways. Pura Vida hosted 49 volunteers and removed 155lbs of garbage. Nautical Ventures organized a paddle cleanup around Peanut Island with 28 volunteers and removed nearly 200lbs of garbage from the Island and surrounding waterways. In John Prince Park, Lake Osborne Estates Homeowners Association came together and cleaned around the trails and shoreline of Lake Osborne, removing 111lbs of litter.

Special thanks to Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. for championing this event each year, encouraging organizations to host or participate in organized cleanups and for providing supplies and t-shirts to participants.

You can help keep PBC Parks’ beaches and parks clean by becoming an Adopt-A-Park partner, a program that gives participants a sense of park ownership and an outlet to give back to the community by maintaining parks, beaches, and trails through picking up litter, maintaining flower beds, painting, and more. You can also join or organize a beach cleanup. Learn more about volunteering with PBC Parks here: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/General/Volunteer.aspx.

What to know about Beach Wrack

Clumps of seaweed — usually Sargassum — as well as grasses and other marine algae and organisms that wash ashore have a name. It’s called beach wrack, and although some say it may look or smell unpleasant, it does not create a health risk to beachgoers. In fact, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it’s “a pivotal part of the beach ecosystem.”

Beach wrack is beneficial to animals and marine habitats in a number of ways —

  • It provides vital food for young sea turtles.
  • It serves as fodder for crabs, beetles, and other small creatures, which in turn are food for shore birds.
  • It’s used by baby birds as camouflage and foraging material.
  • It forms the basis for sand dunes; as dunes start, sand blows along the beach and collects along the windward side of the wrack, forming sand dunes, which help to protect the coastline.

Seaweed is constantly present in the Atlantic Ocean and is washed ashore more frequently during sustained onshore winds with seasonal shifts in the Gulf Stream, particularly when the Gulf Stream nudges closer to the coast in the summer. Occasionally, weather conditions exist in which an unusual amount of beach wrack is washed ashore continuously over a period of time. Before you head to the beach, be sure to check PBC Parks’ Beach Conditions page for locations where concentrations may be heavy.

Audubon Florida’s educational presentation in this video provides a good overview of the importance of beach wrack:  https://youtu.be/9m8o5ZRcNSI

You can help keep PBC Parks’ beaches clean by becoming an Adopt-A-Park partner, a program that gives participants a sense of park ownership and an outlet to give back to the community by maintaining parks, beaches, and trails through picking up litter, maintaining flower beds, painting, and more. You can also join or organize a beach cleanup. Learn more about volunteering with PBC Parks here: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/General/Volunteer.aspx.

PBC Parks Hosts Cleanup and Celebration on World Ocean Day

More than 70 volunteers joined forces on World Ocean Day, Tuesday, June 8th, to remove over 500 pounds of trash from the Atlantic shoreline and Intracoastal Waterway along Coral Cove Park in Jupiter. The cleanup was a partnership between the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, Visit Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Ecotourism Association, Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management, and the Beach Bucket Foundation.

In addition to removing harmful items and trash from these locations, the event was an effort to educate participants on the importance of keeping key environments clean, and to inspire environmental stewardship among residents and visitors.

“More than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans and the ocean is the center of most living things,” said Eric Call, Director of Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. “It’s important that we create opportunities to educate the public on the importance of keeping our oceans clean and vibrant now and into the future.”

Participants were invited to clean up the Atlantic shoreline and waterway by walking, kayaking, or paddle boarding. All cleanup supplies were provided, and all ages were welcome at the family-friendly event. More information for anyone interested in participating in cleanup events at Palm Beach County-operated parks and beaches is available at www.pbcparks.com.

PBC Parks Participates in 2021 Great American Cleanup

On April 17 and April 24, 2021, volunteers ventured out to various PBC Parks and removed pounds of litter and recyclables in celebration of Earth Day and the Great American Cleanup initiative. The goal of the Annual Great American Cleanup is to influence individuals to participate in environmental stewardship actions for their local environment while spreading awareness around their local community. With help from Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc., PBC Parks’ Adopt-A-Park partners hosted 13 cleanups from Jupiter Beach Park down to South Inlet Park to participate in the nationwide event.

Depending on which cleanup event they attended, volunteers participated in cleanups by walking on land, paddling on water, or diving underwater to collect litter and debris from PBC parks while simultaneously bringing awareness to pollution and recycling as well as inspiring others to make a difference in the community and environment. Litter and debris most commonly found was glass and aluminum cans/bottles, cigarette butts and an increase in discarded face masks.

Not all was negative reporting though. In fact, one of our Adopt-A-Park partners, Lake Osborne Estates, commented on the excellent job our parks operation staff are doing at keeping our parks clean and attractive for all to enjoy.

Carlos Serrano said, “The clean up went well, and the Parks Department should be commended for the great job it has been doing maintaining the area of John Prince Park along Lake Osborne Drive (we covered from Lantana Road to 12th Avenue South). The grass and landscaping has been well maintained, and we noticed a huge decrease in the amount of bottles, cans, and plastic containers collected this time around.  Also noted some newly planted trees along the path in the vicinity of McMillen Island. Please share the neighborhood’s appreciation to Parks for providing such a fantastic recreational resource to our community!”

Daggerwing Nature Center and Okeeheelee Nature Center participated in the Earth Day and Great American Cleanup celebrations as well. Daggerwing Nature Center started off their Earth Day event hosting a cleanup and Okeeheelee Nature Center partnered with our Adopt-A-Park partner, the National Honor Society at Inlet Grove High School.

Autumn Kioti Horne, Assistant Naturalist at Daggerwing Nature Center said, “I was inspired by the dedication of the volunteers who came out on a hot, sticky Florida morning to help clean up our beautiful wetland habitat.  Most of them were totally new to our nature center, but were avid nature protectors and even knew their way around micro plastics!  Do you know how difficult it is it pick up each tiny piece of a shredded plastic bag? They do, and they diligently braved the heat to get every last piece they could. Thank you Earth Warriors!”

Long time Adopt-A-Park partner, Boca Save Our Beaches, hosted a beach cleanup at South Inlet Park. Boca Save Our Beaches hosts various eco-events throughout the year. They also contribute to weekly water quality testing at South Inlet Park with Boca High environmental club supporting the Blue Water Task Force’s nationwide mission for clean water quality in recreational areas.

Thanks to our valued partners, Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. and the Beach Bucket Foundation for their continued support in helping to maintain the beauty of PBC Parks and providing supplies and volunteers to celebrate and take care of our natural environments. Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. coordinates the Great American Cleanup project in Palm Beach County with the help of the Solid Waste Authority. The Beach Bucket Foundation has installed self-guided cleanup stations at various public beach accesses throughout Palm Beach County and hosted a water cleanup around Peanut Island.  

The Great American Cleanup brought 409 youth age to senior citizen volunteers to PBC Parks where 1,500 pounds of trash was collected and reported. These volunteers’ efforts exemplify the community’s dedication and desire to keep their favorite recreation and nature sanctuaries clean and pristine for years to come!

Special thanks to the following Adopt-A-Park partners who donated 1,241 hours of service:

-The Beach Bucket Foundation
-Boca Save Our Beaches
-Caloosa Cleanup Crew
-Lake Osborne Estates
-Loggerhead MarineLife Center
-Pratt & Whitney
-Pura Vida Divers
-National Honor Society at Inlet Grove High School
-Sea Turtle Adventures
-South Florida Spearfishing Club

Photographers get Unique Opportunity to Photograph Birds of Prey

  • Owl
  • Hawk
  • Owl
  • Hawk
  • Kestrel
  • crowd

Raptor Day for Photographers was held at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC) on January 18, 2020. Sponsored by Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center, this annual event provided 50 photographers with an opportunity to take close-up portraits of birds of prey. This year, ONC partnered with the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center (TCWC) to ensure a diversity of species for the participants to photograph. The birds displayed included two species of hawk, three species of owl, a kestrel, and a crested caracara. The birds are placed on outdoor perches so the photographers can capture images of the animals in natural light and in front of wooded backgrounds.

All of the raptors live at educational facilities under human care because they have an injury that prevents them from returning to the wild. Although many of the birds have visible imperfections, the talented photographers were able to bring out their best features and highlight their natural beauty.

ONC staff and volunteers were present throughout the event to provide information about the birds and answer questions. Participants were also given a brochure that included facts about the raptors and explained a little about each bird’s history.

Feedback from the participants was tremendously positive. Irwin Goldzweig wrote to share some of his beautiful photos and say, “Thanks to you, Heather, and your staff and volunteers. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed Raptor Day. It was professionally organized and implemented which made it totally enjoyable for us as visitors. The staff and volunteers were wonderful, informative, and very helpful. We look forward to the next one.”

Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center sold out the event within two weeks, raising over $1,200. All proceeds benefit the programs, exhibits and animals at Okeeheelee Nature Center.

Farm to table experience coming to Osprey Point

A farm to table experience is coming to The Nest Eatery at Osprey Point Golf Course in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park! Palm Beach County and Osprey Point Golf Course have dedicated a portion of land at the golf course to create an organic garden which all will be used at the restaurant. Going a step further, they are creating a composting initiative that all food waste will be composted and used to fertilize the garden for future vegetables.

COUNTY HOSTS WEEKEND BEACH CLEANUP FOLLOWING HURRICANE DORIAN

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, PBC Parks teamed up with the County’s Environmental Resources Department (ERM), along with other community organizations, to host a weekend beach cleanup event on the morning of Saturday, September 7. The cleanups were prompted by the impacts of Hurricane Dorian, which caused large volumes of plastic, trash and debris to wash ashore.

Groups of at least a dozen hard-working volunteers at each site — DuBois Park, Ocean Reef Park, Ocean Inlet Park, Ocean Cay Park and R.G. Kreusler Beach Park — spent part of their Saturday morning removing all sorts of trash from along the shore and around the park. After two hours of work, they volunteers from all the sites managed to collect hundreds of pounds of trash.

Volunteers will have another opportunity to help keep our beaches clean during the International Coastal Cleanup event on Saturday, September 21 at select beach parks. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help keep Palm Beach County’s shorelines clean and green, for the health and enjoyment of beach visitors and the animals who call them home!

Students learn about “Old Time Florida” at Riverbend Education Day

About 120 students, along with parents and teachers, ventured to Riverbend Park on November 3rd to discover “Old Time Florida” as part of Riverbend’s Education Day, part one of the two-day Pioneer Farmstead Event.

“The idea here is for the schools to come out here and experience a little bit about what they learn in the classroom through the history program – 4th graders are targeted because there’s a big history drive on the fourth grade,” said Naturalist John Welch.

The students learned about sugar cane processing and boiling, growing citrus, cattle and other animals, general pioneer life and more. Welch says the event helps teach kids about the work pioneers did to prosper on the land, “to make them a little more appreciative of how we came to be here, what the challenge was that these people faced, what they did for us and also themselves.”

Riverbend Park is located at 9060 Indiantown Road in Jupiter and is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

Please visit www.pbcparks.com​ for more leisure opportunities available through the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.

Destination Recreation 7: Glades Area Parks

Welcome to the seventh episode of Destination Recreation! We take you through different Palm Beach County parks and facilities in each episode – giving you a unique peek at what you can experience at our more than 80 locations throughout the County.

On this episode, we travel to a unique part of Palm Beach County to check out eight of our Glades-area parks, located in the Western part of the county. We travel through popular parks like South Bay RV Park, John Stretch Memorial Park and Glades Pioneer Park and take a look at the countless recreational opportunities in the area.

Don’t miss an episode – follow pbcParks on WordPress or subscribe to our YouTube channel to see each episode of Destination Recreation, which is released monthly.

We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.

Changes Welcomed at Riverbend Park

County officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 4 to celebrate the opening of Riverbend Park’s recent improvements. The ceremony was part of the free annual Pioneer Farmstead Day event  held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“Located along the Loxahatchee River, Florida’s first nationally designated Wild and Scenic River, Riverbend Park is an oasis of beauty connecting residents and visitors with our natural and historic treasures,” said District 1 Commissioner Hal R. Valeche.

Park improvements include the construction of a 4,500 square foot building that accommodate public restrooms and staff offices, reconfiguration of the entrance to include paved parking spaces and construction of a plaza/overlook for the adjacent Loxahatchee Battlefield Park. New underground utilities have also been installed to connect the planned improvements to the Town of Jupiter’s water and sewer system.

“Promoting the stewardship of natural, archaeological and cultural sites is a core service of the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department,” said Director Eric Call. “Park visitors are invited to explore the extensive system of self-guided trails and to experience the park’s diverse natural resources through hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking.”

Riverbend Park is located at 9060 Indiantown Road in Jupiter and is operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

Please visit www.pbcparks.com​ for more leisure opportunities available through the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.