To say the Florida Keys are a haven for nature is an understatement.
Sea turtles, ancient and mysterious, glide under the waves. Reefs sway to secret rhythms in the emerald waters. Pelicans plummet into the surf in search of fish, and ospreys ride the sea breeze without so much as a ruffled feather.
In some places, tiny deer graze along the road, ears twitching at the slightest sound.
So it’s no wonder that the folks in the Keys want you to know how to respect and help preserve the environment, all while enjoying a meaningful, memorable vacation.
- Plant a coral (or adopt one of the cute little things, but don't touch them on the reef).
- Support the wildlife (volunteer food, funds or time to a local wild bird center).
- Take out the trash (especially if it’s floating in the water).
- Capture a lionfish (any time and any size; they're an invasive species).
- Leave a digital footprint (share pictures with fans, friends and followers).
- Hike it, bike it or hoof it (it’s low on eco-impact and high on fresh tropical air).
- Catch dinner (and release all the fish you know you can’t eat).
- Use a mooring buoy at dive sites. (Save your back and leave the anchor alone.)
- Conserve vs. consume (reduce, reuse and recycle even on vacation).
- Get off the beaten path (you can hike, bike, walk, kayak or paddleboard along Keys trails).
It’s advice we all need to heed. Because this earth is the only one we’ve got.
All photos by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA