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  • Good stewards: Palm Beachers make their mark through conservation

    Good stewards: Palm Beachers make their mark through conservation

    Saturday’s 47th annual Earth Day celebration reminded residents of Palm Beach — and people across the world — that no matter our geographical, cultural and political differences, we all share the same fragile planet.

    On the island, where an outdoor-focused lifestyle is a given for many residents, the natural environment regularly makes headlines, especially when the issue involved is sand erosion, water quality, clean beaches and related challenges.

    And even with some 190 countries taking part in the Earth Day events coordinated by the Earth Day Network, much of the day-to-day work to ensure environmental sustainability remains focused on grassroots efforts.

    That’s certainly true in Palm Beach, where a number of residents’ conservation efforts have earned recognition this month:

    * Gray Foster, a 15-year-old ninth-grader at Palm Beach Day Academy, last week was honored with the Florida Wildlife Federation’s Youth Conservationist Award. It recognized his efforts to ban waste that poses a threat to wildlife, including plastic bags, balloons and plastic.

    * Garrison “Gary” Lickle was recognized by the same organization with the Francis S. Taylor Outdoorsman of the Year. Among his achievements: He has worked to promote and protect water quality, control invasive species and even helps stop African poachers.

    * Sue and Paul Efron, along with their landscape designer, Keith Williams of Nievera Williams Design, accepted the Preservation Foundation’s Lesly S. Smith Landscape Award on behalf of the couple’s drought-tolerant North End garden, which employs a variety of water-conservation methods, including innovative watering systems.

    * Campion Platt, Katie Carpenter and other residents — along with Audubon Florida officials — have won the Town Council’s support for their efforts to restore native plants in the Bingham Island bird sanctuary south of the Southern Boulevard bridge.

    All of these residents — and many others — have set an example of environmental responsibility that not only deserves recognition but thanks.