View of St. Pete beach during sunrise

Sustainable Hometown Adventures

Looking for something to do this summer? Why not explore Pinellas County and see all of the local charm it has to offer. There are a variety of things you can do from going to the beach to museums to eating at local restaurants. All of this not only allows you to try new things, but it benefits the local economy as well. It is estimated that each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns two times more money into the local economy. That can translate into a stronger sense of community and place. Many of these places are also promoting sustainable behaviors and provide educational opportunities for you to learn more about what sustainability really means. Here are a few things to try this summer:

Small canal through mangroves used for kayaking.

Weedon Island Preserve is one of four preserves here in Pinellas County.

Parks/Preserves

Going to parks is a fun activity that not only promotes sustainability, but wellness too. Our parks add to our natural beauty as well as provide a variety of health benefits to our residents. Biking or walking to a local park is an excellent way to relax and get some exercise. Pinellas has lots of parks and odds are there is one right near where you live. Check out this map to find one nearby. If you are looking for something more “wild” than a park, visit one of the four nature preserves here in Pinellas. The preserves, such as Brooker Creek (Tarpon Springs) and Weedon Island (St. Pete), offer scenic trails and education centers that teach about the county’s natural history. They strive to educate guests on sustainability and environmental stewardship. Remember, take only photographs and leave nothing but footprints.

Elderly man sitting on a bench in a park near some trees.

Parks can provide a variety of health benefits.

Museums

Looking to escape the heat during the day? Pinellas has some wonderful museums to enjoy that share our history as well as our art. There are fine art centers throughout the county. St. Petersburg has many including the Dali Museum and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The arts are crucial to social sustainability because it allows people to express themselves, creates a sense of place, and can engage guests to think about a variety of themes, including the environment.

Restaurants

Although it may seem that Pinellas is dominated by chains, there are countless local restaurants that are found nowhere else. Many of these restaurants are environmentally friendly and help to promote sustainability through their business practices. For example, some restaurants on the beach stopped giving straws and to-go cups to help keep the local beaches and waterways clean. It is a great opportunity to try some new foods, like a vegetarian or vegan meal if you have never had one before. If you go to a restaurant that is not focusing on sustainability, you could bring your own reusable container to show you are committed to being sustainable.

These are just a few examples of the countless things to do here in Pinellas. And why stop there? The Tampa Bay area has a lot of places to explore and there is something for everyone. Now is the time for adventures, so go out and explore!

Additional Resources

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_buying_local

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Marketing-and-Development/Consumer-Resources/Buy-Fresh-From-Florida/Crops-in-Season

Contributed by Trevor Ackerman, Sustainability Program Assistant