No matter your location, hike it forward by participating in Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s (LMC) second annual Hike2O! This year, backpackers from around the globe can spread education, raise awareness and funds for water conservation by registering for our virtual hike. The highly-anticipated outing will begin on Friday, March 5 to March 7, 2021, and will be led by LMC staff biologists and trail guides from the Loxahatchee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association (FTA).
Undoubtedly, the ocean and interconnected waterways are the common denominators to all living species. But unbeknownst to many are the basic necessities that these waterways possess. While covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, it supplies half of the breathing air, freshwater, and overall food supply down the line. However, frequent threats to water quality such as harmful algae blooms, hypoxia, or low oxygen levels have prompted more educational programs for environmental literacy, such as Hike2O.
“Last year, we were able to offer conservation education to nearly 900,000 individuals through fundraising events like this one,” said LMC Director of Education, Hannah Campbell. “There is power in connecting people to our coastal systems in that more will understand its impact on our economy, marine education, and overall human health.”
True to its original design, Hike2O will also be hosting an in-person component. In-person participants will meet at the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp (EYCC) where hiking enthusiasts can board a complimentary shuttle to the trailheads. Two separate groups will, trek 30 miles of the Ocean to Lake hiking trail, and meet back at the camp to symbolize the interconnectedness of Florida’s natural waterways. Each mile will have natural sightseeing from cypress swamps to wet prairies buzzing with wildlife. Following the hike, guests can enjoy a finger-licking good cookout and a fun awards ceremony.
The outdoors are still open! Interested hikers can register for this year’s international event. Virtual hikes are unlimited, the in-person hike is capped to 30 participants. Registration is $25 for virtual hikers of all ages, $125 for full-event hikers ages 18 and older. All proceeds will directly support education outreach to non-coastal schools and promote environmental stewardship of fresh and saltwater systems.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center. Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation, and educational institution that promotes the conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits, and aquariums, and also operates the Juno Beach Pier, which hosts world-class angling and sightseeing. Situated on one of the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beaches, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 350,000 guests free-of-charge each year. The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation. The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. When complete, the facility will offer one of the world’s most advanced and unique experiences for guests and scientific partners. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call (561) 627-8280.