North Okaloosa County is getting greener every day — not just because spring has arrived and nature is adding to the scene, but because local people are promoting the "green revolution."
I am delighted to see how many local people and groups are turning green. Some years ago, the slogan "save the whales" was popular. Now the slogan could be "save the environment."
OkaloosaCounty has several endangered species whose survival is threatened by human activities such as pollution of air and water. This local concern quickly translates into broader themes like global warming, production of too much carbon dioxide, rising sea levels and increasing chemicals like mercury in our environment.
Examples of how local environmental-oriented activities are combating these problems include student groups’ visits to the city Environmental Center; Crestview High School's outdoor education classes; Shoal River Middle School's use of its large wooded and wetland tract; and Baker School's nature trail through the 25-acre wooded area adjacent to the school.
Jayne Swift, local project manager for the city wastewater-treatment consultant CH2MHill, is helping spearhead a Main Street Environmental Expo on May 4. The free event will help families learn how they can go green and save on household expenses.
The Crestview Garden Club has voluntarily taken over beautification of Garden Park at Main Street and S.R. 85, and the Crestview Public Library regularly brings children to the Environmental Center to learn about local trees and nature.
Scouts are also active in improving the Environmental Center. Under the leadership of Jason Somers, an Eagle Scout candidate, they recently tagged and renumbered 100 trees in the park for easy identification. For her Golds rank, Girl Scout Yvonne Masters created a butterfly garden in the park.
People are taking notice of local outdoor resources. We have had weddings in the Environmental Center, Arbor Day tree plantings, and recently, the Heath family used the center for a large family reunion picnic.
In the last 35 years, we have taken more than 12,000 students through the Environmental Center. With Earth Day and National Arbor Day happening in April, now is a good time to focus on nature. From schools to businesses to civic clubs and churches, everyone can do something to help our environment.
Join Crestview's green revolution!
Want to go?
The John McMahon Environmental Center on Butler Circle beneath the fire tower is open daily. Call 682-6132, ext. 123 to arrange tours.
Retired forester John McMahon directs tours of the city's McMahon Environmental Center, a Parks and Recreation Department park, museum and picnic/programs pavilion on Butler Circle.