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Alabamians honor Earth Day and environmental education

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Alabama joins the globe in celebrating the 54th annual Earth Day on April 22nd. The state has something for everybody, whether that’s the Appalachian Mountains, Cathedral Caverns or Gulf coast beaches. The state’s nine national parks offer a unique experience of variety and biological diversity.

The Alabama Coastal Foundation is an organization that aims to protect and improve the local environment. They implement educational programs in schools, hands-on events like beach cleanups and tree planting and organize activities like bike rides. Mark Berte is the Executive Director of the ACF. He said it’s essential to foster growth for the future of the environment.

“Just encouraging people to take a moment to think about their memories on the coast and then make sure that they think about ways that they can then translate that into action so they can protect it for future generations as well.”

Berte also encourages people to get outside today and go on a walk, get on the water or just enjoy the Earth. The ACF hosts multiple events throughout the state like a Share the Beach meeting at The Monkey Bar in Fairhope to learn about sea turtle conservation. They’re also hosting a weeklong day camp for Gulf Shores Middle School students this summer.

Berte said the ACF is important as a statewide organization to inspire both residents and visitors protect the coastal environment.

“We have people who live down here, but also many people who are tourists that we want to make sure to have a good and safe time while they enjoy all that we have to offer.” He continued, “The more we educate people about it and give them ways to protect it, the longer our generations will be able to also appreciate that”

Although the global holiday is only once a year, he said he wishes there will be a time when every day feels like Earth day. The ACF is celebrating over 30 years of promoting education and protection for the state.

For more information on the history of Earth day, visit here.

Grayce Kilkenny is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio Newsroom. She is a sophomore majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Digital, Professional and Public Writing. Outside of the newsroom, Grayce enjoys photography, running and fashion.
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