The clouds parted and the sun came out Sunday morning in time for the Earth Day Festival to begin at Earth & Spirit Garden Gallery, which attracted a good crowd to the third annual event.
Diana Lampitt, owner of Earth & Spirit Garden Gallery, said she was just thrilled with how the event turned out.
"This is the dream of what Earth & Spirit is about," she said about everyone sharing the meaning of Earth Day.
Alice Melzer contributed some color to the Modella, a circular drawing for unity and peace.
This is the third Earth Day Festival Lampitt has put on for the community.
Individuals were treated to acoustic guitarist Claude Memoli playing for the crowd, along with St. James Creek Bluegrass Band and the Dulcimer Band, as well as poetry readings by the Pine Island Writers Club, and a presentation by keynote speaker Phil Buchanan. A silent auction was also held for the Calusa Land Trust.
"On Pine Island, we have accomplished a lot," Buchanan said. "The state of the earth as regards Pine Island is good - albeit fragile and constantly under threat."
The Pine Island Plan protects the community from over-development, he said, along with enhancing the quality of life for the residents.
"We have, of course, like the rest of the world, lost a lot of habitat and some of the critters common only a few years ago, such as the indigo snake, are nearing extinction," Buchanan said. "Nonetheless, compared to other parts of Florida, we have preserved a lot of environmentally-sensitive habitat and one cannot help but marvel at the beauty and abundance of the animals and plants on Pine Island."
The most serious environmental problem on Pine Island deals with the quality of water. Buchanan said a few decades ago the water was classified as pristine, which has changed dramatically over the years.
"Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass got a grade of A as recent as the late 1990s," he said. "Those days are over. Now all agencies give us a solid grade of D. Pine Island Sound and Matlacha Pass have joined the Caloosahatchee River in the listings of impaired waters."
In addition to Buchanan's speech, many vendors filled the gardens to be a part of the festival.
Ellen Leifeld with Artful Herbs was among the vendors who brought a variety of herbs for individuals to purchase. She said she started Artful Herbs a few years ago because she wanted to do something creative with all the herbs she accumulated.
Her herbs are planted in window boxes and plain pots with decorative markers to identify the herbs.
"It's cool," she said of the festival. "It's fun to see so many people interested in the same thing people that enjoy healthy eating and living."
Diane Maher with Pine Island Earth Friends was also present at the event. The non-profit organization is now in its second year.
"Pine Island Earth Friends is a group of island residents who share a common passion of respect for the earth and all the creatures who depend on her," she said. "We have a hunger to learn and communicate local opportunities to make a difference."
Maher said they are trying to share information and gather questions, so they can better anticipate what people want to know.
"It is an ongoing process," she said of gathering information. "Information will continue to come."
The Pine Island Earth Friends, Maher said, is finding ways to help people with what they really like to do.
The organization will be working all summer long, so anyone interested in joining the group can call Maher at 230-246-3930.
Many individuals came out to the garden to enjoy what the event had to offer.
Debbie Simpson thought the festival was cool. She said she thought turnout was good.
Earth & Spirit Garden Gallery stands out to Simpson because of its atmosphere. The location is attractive because she believes if you were mad or upset and you visited Earth & Spirit Garden Gallery, you could get those emotions out of your mind.
"There should be more places like this everywhere," Simpson said.
Alice Melzer also attended the event on Sunday by contributing to the Modella, which is a circular drawing for unity and peace.
"I wanted to contribute to the fun of the afternoon and joy of Earth Day."