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Thousands Turn Out For Nature And Fun

Kim Kelling/WFSU

Kids got to handle turtles and gators at EcoCitizen Day, a part of the 2019 Tallahassee/Leon County Nature Challenge.

Home base was the Market Space next to the FAMU Way playground. From there, participants headed to three locations to spot and identify species: Lake Elberta, the Munson Sandhills, and San Luis Park.

Environment writer Sue Cerulean says it's important for kids to interact more with nature.

"Lots of our young are sheltered from that. I wouldn't call it sheltered, really -- they're kept disconnected because of the way we live now," Cerulean said.

The goal of the nature challenge is to photograph and identify as many plant and animal species as possible. It runs through April 29, with over 100 cities around the world competing to observe the most species using iNaturalist.

Credit Margie Menzel/WFSU
Environmental writers Sue Cerulean and Bruce Means at EcoCitizen Day.

It's followed by American Spring LIVE, a multi-day broadcast airing on WFSU-TV on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 pm.

As part of the WFSU EcoCitizen Project, the WFSU Ecology Blog will have content on gardening for wildlife in Florida, and we're providing free pollinator flower seeds.

Credit Margie Menzel/WFSU
Representatives of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gave visitors hands on experience with alligators at EcoCitizen Day.

By selecting the right plants, you'll see more birds, butterflies, bees, and more. They're fun to have in your yard, and you can observe them using iNaturalist.

Chain of Parks Festival

Tens of thousands turned out for the 19th Chain of Parks Festival in downtown Tallahassee over the weekend.

The main attraction was more than 150 artists, whose works were showcased in tents along Park Avenue.

There also was a children's park for kids to make art, plenty of music, and glorious weather.

Credit Margie Menzel/WFSU
Painter Anne Hempel explains her work at the Chain of Parks Festival.

"Everybody comes out...that loves art and people and dogs,” said Quincie Hamby, a jewelry-maker who has shown her creations at the festival for years. "It's just wonderful how many people you see."

"It's just gotten better and better, and I'm so inspired by the other artists here," said Anne Hempel, a painter who specializes in acrylic on wood. She says the festival also helps local artists support themselves.

Organizers say the festival generates millions for Tallahassee's economy.