Going Out On A Limb Celebration

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Florida Fish and Wildlife show off an alligator.

It’s all about the Earth in April and St Augustine Beach knows how to spread the word. With Earth Day being celebrated on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 24th, St Augustine Beach did not want for a day to celebrate nature.

Along with the city’s “Going Out On A Limb Celebration”, Anastasia State Park, with all its beauty and wildlife had a special Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 18th. The City of St Augustine Beach held their Arbor Day celebration at City Hall on Friday, April 17 and many said it was the BEST Arbor Day celebration ever!

The SAB Tree Beautification Advisory Board awarded two Beautification Awards to honor those who make and keep our beach beautiful. The Florida Friendly Beautification Award went to Salt Life Food Shack in the commercial division and Paul and Jeanne Franza in the residential division. Congratulations is also in order for our poetry contest winners: third place, Bridget Herod, second place, Sofie Foit and first place winner Bridget Conner as well as our poster contest winners: third place, Rebecca Fuhrmann, second place, Naomi Bridgette Collins and first place winner Dominique Yates.

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SAB Event Coordinator Hala Laquidara making sure things run smoothly.

On Friday over 17 booths were set up throughout City Hall for the Arbor Day celebration. This is the ninth year SAB has held this special event. Close to a thousand visitors, both young and old enjoyed the exhibits, music, food and free tree give away. Hala Laquidara, St Augustine Beaches new event coordinator was on hand to make sure things flowed smoothly. When asked about the success of the project Laquidara said, “As long as you put the word out the people of St Augustine come out to share with the community.”

Over 17 businesses, agencies and nature lovers were on hand to share information and give the community a first hand look at what they had to offer. Beekeeper, Bo Strek was on hand along with thousands of bees giving everyone an inside look at a bee hive. Along with information about fishing, hunting and wildlife, Florida Fish and Wildlife Agency was on hand with a live alligator for the kids to see up close and touch. Home Depot had the kids busy making bird feeders and bird houses and Master Arborists, Chuck and Danny Lippi of Advanced Tree Care were on hand to share their knowledge and answer questions about the proper way to plant a tree.

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The Lippis on how to grow trees.

As the people picked up their tree they were directed to the Lippi’s booth to learn what they needed to do to make sure their trees had the best chance of survival. “Most people think you just plant the tree right out of the container,” said Danny Lippi as he showed the group the proper way to shave the root ball. “Scientific studies prove you have to shave the root ball. Shaving will assure the tree lives as long as it can.”

Many local volunteers came out to share their talents for the day. High school and middle school volunteers Courtney Rubright, James Laquidara, Julia Laquidara and Zack Raughton were on hand helping with the food distribution. “It has been a lot of fun.” said 17 year old volunteer Courtney Rubright. “Everyone is learning about things,”

Making sure nothing was missed, a special passport was given to each child with the opportunity to have it stamped at each activity station.

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Super Volunteers Theresa and Dariana Fitzgerald.

“Super volunteer” Theresa Fitzgerald knows the importance of sharing her positive attitude with the public. This cancer survivor was on hand with her daughter Dariana Fitzgerald to help pass out the free drinks. “You gotta share your smile!” exclaimed Theresa “It just makes the day better,” she said smiling as she handed a youngster a soda.

As the event ended and everyone left with a tree in their arms, it is no wonder that once again the City of St Augustine Beach has achieved the designation of Tree City USA. A special thanks goes out to all who made this accolade possible and for those who inspire us all to “Go Out On A Limb” and celebrate trees.


To read the 2015 St Augustine Beach Arbor Day Celebration poetry winner:  ME,THE TREE

To see more visit: ARBOR DAY PHOTO GALLERY