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City of Tampa to hold 14th annual Ecofest at MOSI for Earth Day

TAMPA, Fla. — April 22 is Earth Day, where people show support for environmental protection.

This weekend, the City of Tampa will hold its 14th annual Ecofest at MOSI, hosted by Learning Gate Community School. It's a way to teach kids how to take care of our planet at an early age.

Inside the doors of the Whitney Andrews Lang Center for Learning at MOSI, small hands are digging deep and getting dirty.

  • Published April 24, 2024, 11:50 AM UTC

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“I like gardening, I like nature because we get to go out on our big campus, and I like to run around and get dirty,” said fourth-grade student Gaspare Vaccaro.

The campus at Learning Gate Community School is focused on educating kids about the environment through its garden, migratory bird banding and conservation efforts.

“Two times a week, they go, and they learn how to grow their own vegetables. They can be measuring the growth charts,” said Michele Northrup, the school’s development director and Ecofest organizer.

Students Aleena Abuawad, Vaccaro and Lannah Kessler got a preview of Ecofest.

They learned how to make self-watering planters out of old water bottles and about the City of Tampa’s stormwater system—seeing what happens when trash and debris on the road make their way into our local waterways.

“We’ll cover things like phantom electricity, meaning if things are still plugged in, and you’re not using it, you’re still using electricity, things like that,” Northrup said. “Or recycling bags, using bags. We have the bag man, where it shows people within their regular year use about 1,000 bags.”

“People try to pollute trash and plastic to the ocean and floor, and that’s not really good for the environment because animals can eat it and start dying,” third-grader Abuawad said.

“It’s important to me because it’s our home, and we should keep it safe so that way in the future, it’s not polluted,” Kessler said.

More than 100 vendors will be at MOSI on Saturday, including sustainability experts from around the Tampa Bay area and artists selling locally-made items.


“You don’t realize if somebody is handcrafting and creating things locally that that’s such a small footprint and small footprint sustainability-wise compared to ordering that gets shipped and takes 14 days to get here,” Northrup said.

“When it gets shipped through the sea, the boats sometimes leak gas, which hurts the animals in the sea,” Kessler said.

Ecofest is Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

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