Keep Osceola Beautiful Earth Day Celebration

Keep Osceola Beautiful Earth Day FestivalOn Saturday, April 21, 2007, Osceola County held the First Annual Keep Osceola Beautiful Earth Day Celebration at Chisholm Park.  Volunteers were on hand to help pick up litter along roadsides and in the lakes.  There were also tree plantings at various locations around Osceola County.  Once all of the volunteers finished tree planting and litter pick up, they returned to Chisholm Park for exhibits and, of course, lunch for a hard days work!

At Chisholm, many exhibitors set up displays to share Earth Day related information.  The main event under the tent was the Hydrilla and Hygrophila Kick-Off Event.  The kick-off event served to inform the public and local government officials about hydrilla and hygrophila and the goals of the Hydrilla & Hygrophila Demonstration Project.  Many of the project coordinators were on hand to talk with residents about hydrilla and the project.

Earth Day Celebration 2007

Eleanor Foreste with duckling.

Mark Heilman with SePRO Corporation talked about Mt fungus, how it works and how it is manufactured.  Mike Netherland and Sarah Berger were on hand to answer questions about the project and some of the existing products in use for hydrilla and hygrophila control...

Ed Harris, Mark and Sarah discussing MT.

(Ed Harris from FDEP, Mark and Sarah discuss Mt)

Beth De Groat from the University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants shared educational materials and other information about aquatic and invasive plants… 

Beth DeGroat with the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Tina Bond was also on hand to staff the educational portion of the exhibit.  She set up two baby pools, one with clean, fresh water and fish (don’t worry, they were the magnetic type) and one pool chock full of hydrilla.  The objective was to have the kids try to catch a fish in the pool with a lot of hydrilla and then try to catch a fish in the pool without hydrilla to show them the problems of having too much hydrilla in the lakes.  This was not how it turned out, however.  Probably 90% of the kids that participated wanted to fish in the pool with the hydrilla, maybe because they liked the challenge or because the pool with hydrilla was yucky and kids like that kind of stuff.  Either way, we tried to instill in the kids that even though it may be fun to try to catch fish in this little pool with hydrilla, it causes very big problems in the big lakes…

Hydrilla-infested pond.

Hydrilla-free pond.

Children fishing in the hydrilla pool.
Attempt # 1, unsuccessful…           

Children fishing in the hydrilla pond.
Attempt # 2, still unsuccessful… they’re diligent!

Children fishing in the hydrilla pond.

Successful fishing in the non-hydrilla pool

Alas, success in the non-hydrilla pool!!

Speaking of successes, the Hydrilla and Hygrophila Kick-Off was a great success. We had a great turnout and helped educate residents on the project and our goals… and they even got to catch some fish!