Everyday is Earth Day at E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center, says Lauren Bray, environmental educator.



"Our core mission is to educate students and visitors on the importance of biodiversity, to promote sustainability and to encourage conservation, preservation and restoration of ecosystems," she said. "Earth Day is an opportunity to have many local, environmental organizations, businesses and community members come together for one common goal: to have fun and help make a positive change for the future of out environment."



While Earth Day is April 22, the Biophilia Center is celebrating early this Saturday with a day full of fun and learning for the family with events such as environmental demos, live animal encounters, guided hikes, bounce houses, face painting, biodegradable gardening, local artists and more.



"This year’s Earth Day Festival is an event for all ages," sand Bray. "Most activities are geared to engage the young at heart, but every age can enjoy interacting with live animals, learning about our environment, and understanding how to make a difference at a local level in your community."



The Biophilia Center is an environmental education facility serving 4th and 7th grade students, teachers and professional audiences during the school year. The center makes education fun by providing hand-on activities for visiting students with games, activities and exhibits centered on eco-friendly themes like recycling, animals of the Longleaf Pine ecosystem, Florida marine life and birds of prey to name a few.



"We are proud to be a community resource where people of all ages can learn and experience nature up close and personal," said Bray.



To sustain the center's programs, Biophilia opens its doors to the public on the first Saturday of the month as well as special events — such as Earth Day Festival — throughout the year.



"We are a non-profit 501(c3) environmental education center," said Bray. "Any support gained through our 1st Saturday of the month public programming goes to continuing our mission and helps to provide students with a deeper appreciation for the natural world and teaches them how to better protect it for future generations."



Leaving the Biophilia Center on Saturday, or any day for that matter, educators such as Bray hope to instill a sense of responsibility to nature in visitors.



"We hope to foster a better appreciation and relationship between humans and the natural world while serving as a reminder of the importance of keeping our planet healthy and clean," she said.



WANT TO GO? E.O Wilson Biophilia Center Earth Day Festival is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 5 rain or shine. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for children, children under 2 are free. The center is located at 4956 State Highway 20 E., in Freeport. For more information on the Biophilia Center and to see future events, visit www.eowilsoncenter.org.