The island chain has no shortage of events for the annual Earth Day celebration, from the kid-friendly "turtle hurdles" to beach clean-ups and a meditation walk at Higgs Beach.
Although Monday is the actual Earth Day, the weekend is packed with special outings. Here's a sampling of what the Keys have to offer this weekend:
Bahia Honda State Park, Mile Marker 36.8, hosts its 18th annual Earth Day Celebration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering live music from The Doerfels, a sand sculpture contest, puppet shows, face painting, kids' games and environmental exhibitions by The Turtle Hospital of Marathon and the Florida Keys Astronomy Club, among others.
Call 305-872-9807 for details.
• Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center at the Truman Waterfront is hosting a free "Discovery Saturday" program for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The Discovery program is held on the third Saturday of every month, but it doubles as an Earth Day event this weekend.
With an April theme of "Turtle Talk," games and crafts will revolve around the various species of turtles, some of which are endangered.
Kids can make their own sea turtle puppet while learning about the creatures.
Call 305-809-4750 for details.
• The Eco-Discovery Center, 33 East Quay Road, also will host an Earth Day Movie Festival, showing six ocean-themed short films that explore ocean climate, energy and biodiversity from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Produced by the World Ocean Observatory and Compass Light Films, each film begins at the top of the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission to the center is free.
The film schedule is as follows:
10 a.m. "Ocean Day: The Copenhagen Climate Talks"
11 a.m. "Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification"
12 p.m. "Exploring Bloody Wall"
1 p.m. "Census of Marine Life: Approach & Findings"
2 p.m. "Ocean Energy Innovators"
3 p.m. "Dark Horizon"
• Sunset Watersports plans a spring cleaning of Smathers Beach and the Bridle Path, from 10 a.m. to noon. The company will treat volunteers to a free barbecue, with City Commissioner Billy Wardlow as the event's special "grill master," a press release states.
Volunteers may also use Sunset's kayaks, paddleboards and windsurfers for free.
• Lazy Dog Outfitters, at Hurricane Hole Marina on Stock Island, will sponsor an "Ocean Hour Cleanup" from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Paddleboards are available to rent, and people are asked to bring a container to collect litter.
The cleanup is part of Lazy Dog's welcome to waterman Justin Riney, of Texas, who is behind Expedition Florida 500, a journey along the state's coastlines and inland waterways by paddleboard to commemorate the Sunshine State's 500-year anniversary.
A group paddle will start at 10 a.m., from Lazy Dog to Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Spaces are limited; call 305-295-9898 to RSVP.
•The Rev. Carol Morin and the Rev. Randy Becker will host a sunset meditation and labyrinth walk at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, at Higgs Beach beside West Martello Tower near the White Street Pier
Meditation begins promptly at 5:30 p.m. and the plan is for people to walk the labyrinth while the sun sets.
People are asked to bring items for an altar that will honor "the body of the Mother with prayer and intentions of healing," organizers said in a news release.
• On Sunday, the One Island Family center, 801 Georgia St., will hold an 11 a.m. interfaith service of care with the theme "Spiritual Ecology."
The center will show the film, "For the Next Seven Generations," followed by a ritual for "the healing of our waters," organizers said.
People are asked to bring any water they may have collected to mix with water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, which will be prayed and meditated upon and later returned back to local waters.
Admission to the Sunday events is free, but donations will be accepted.
•One Island Family, 801 Georgia St., will hold a special Earth Day spiritual celebration of the sun, moon, earth, sky and water at 7 p.m.
The public is invited and organizers ask everyone to bring a "symbolic representation" of something they do to support ecological living.
•Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St., will mark Monday with a special screening of the documentary "Bidder 70," which recounts activist Tim DeChristopher's 2008 scheme to derail a giant Utah land sale of 22,000 acres, including two national parks.
DeChristopher was indicted and convicted on federal charges after he posed as a bidder, successfully landing $1.7 million worth of land during a federal oil and gas lease auction.
Tickets are $10 for Tropic members, $15 for non-members. A wine and cheese reception starts at 8:30 p.m., with the screening following at 9 p.m.
The Tropic is taking part in a nationwide screening of the film, the day after DeChristopher is set to leave prison after two years.
•The Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key, Mile Marker 59, will sponsor a cleanup of nearby Tom's Harbor Bridge from 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Thursday. The cleaning will start in the parking area of the west end of the bridge on the oceanside.
Volunteers are urged to bring sunscreen and bug spray, and wear protective hats, clothes and shoes. Some may want to bring a cutting tool, organizers say.
Call 305-289-1121, ext. 231 for details.