(WSVN) - People of all ages came together to celebrate Earth Day across South Florida and show their appreciation for the planet.

From the Cleo Institute’s 5K race in Virginia Key to a turtle release in Islamorada, residents on Saturday participated in various activities that promoted sustainable living.

For participants, the refrain was the same.

“It’s great to celebrate Earth Day, but every day needs to be Earth Day,” said Bette Zirkelback, manager of The Turtle Hospital in Marathon.

At EarthFest, people picked up free plants and information on sustainability.

From the end of five months of rehabilitation in The Turtle Hospital for Larry and Moe, to EarthFest in Coral Springs, South Floridians celebrated in different ways.

“Sea turtles are a symbol for our marine ecosystem,” said Zinkelback. “Helping to save sea turtles makes people aware to protect our oceans, and there’s no better time to think of it [than] on Earth Day.”

Xavier Cortada, an artist in residence for Miami-Dade County, said his work showcases the importance of reducing fossil fuel use and choosing public transportation, especially on board the new Proterra electric Miami-Dade County buses.

“Five hundred and forth million years’ worth of evolution, I depicted, painted animals who existed through epoch of human history every. Those are now fossils,” he said, “and what I want you to do is to keep those fossils underground. Don’t drill up these animals. Use the power of the sun, use clean energy.”

He also encouraged residents to use solar energy or clean energy.

For United Way Miami, it was a double celebration at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park in Southwest Miami-Dade.

“One of the things that we also offer at United Way is volunteer opportunities,” said United Way Miami President and CEO Symeria Hudson. “Today, Earth Day, also coincided with our volunteer celebration. It also happens to be United Way’s 99th birthday.”

For Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, it was a time to welcome new volunteers to help introduce insects into open spaces to impact invasive species.

“This is a partnership, the only one in the nation, where Miami-Dade County parks, [the United States Department of Agriculture] and Terra High School have, with USDA, rearing a beetle, releasing the beetle into our natural areas to help us with our invasive species,” said Maria Nardi, the director of Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces.

These events prove one doesn’t have to be big to make a big impact when it comes to helping Mother Nature.

Earth Day celebrations on Miami Beach included yoga and cleaning up the beach. The celebration there will continue next week when they will celebrate the start of the sea turtle nesting season with Turtle Fest.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox