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Taking a STAND for our WILDLIFE: Hands Across the Sand stretches out Saturday

August 1, 2012
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The third annual Fort Myers Beach Hands Across the Sand event, taking place along northern shore of the island, by Crescent Beach Family Park, will be sweeping the sand Saturday, Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. With the help of Lee County Parks and Recreation, the Town of Fort Myers Beach, and several tireless and devoted individuals taking a stand and standing up for nature, this event has mutated from quick 15-minute hand-holding ceremony against offshore drilling to an all-afternoon, community-wide event that celebrates our local nature and wildlife, and the local organizations that help keep it all so beautiful.

This Hands Across the Sand is sure to be the best one yet, after a permit was recently obtained from the Town of Fort Myers Beach, allowing coordinators to host a longer, all-out-community-oriented experience for those taking a stand against offshore drilling and promoting clean energy.

"We're so thankful that the community came together to make this happen," said Robin Curley, lead coordinator of the annual event, along with Lena Neroni and John G. Heim. "Thanks so much to the Town of Fort Myers Beach, Vicki Little of Lee Co. Parks & Rec and Ray Judah, for all coming together to help make this happen."

Article Photos

The third annual Hands Across the Sand event will be sweeping the Fort Myers Beach shoreline Saturday, Aug. 4. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., enjoy meeting non-profit nature groups, live music, fun for the kids and more, and from noon to 12:15, join hands to take a stand to promote clean energy. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.

The event will now begin at 11 a.m., allowing those participating to browse the many local environmental information booths and ecological organizations that will be on display at Crescent Beach Family Park, promoting their cause and inviting others to join in and volunteer.

Be sure to peruse the local non-profit club tents of the Friends of Matanzas, Turtle Time, Crew, the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society, Friends of the Manatee, ECOSWF, possibly CROW and many others, all the while, local musician Keith Clanton will entertain the crowd, beginning at 11 a.m., and powered by FAFCO?Solar.

"We will have all types of great giveaways during the event, as well as activities and fun for future generations, to help develop awareness of our fragile ecosystem and the need to preserve it," Robin said. "Marla the Mermaid and paddle-boarder Lauren Sheppard will emerge again, and we'll have a pirate and a face-painter, too!"

During the 15-minute hand-holding ceremony, which will being at noon that day, taking a stand to offshore drilling, Billy Lentz with Paradise Parasail will be photographing from high in the sky, soaring over the human chain along the shore between noon and 12:15, taking aerial photos of the annual event.

"At noon, we will join hands for 15 minutes, to show solidarity to protect our world from disasters like the BP Horizon oil spill," Robin said. "As we cannot sway many against oil, the focus of our message is 'YES TO CLEAN ENERGY!' We realize that it is not realistic that we stop using oil tomorrow but my point to naysayers whose focus is 'drill, baby, drill' is to be a part of the solution, not the problem."

This globally-conscious community effort has drawn thousands to our beach during past events, and sure to draw more this year.

"We will gather on the beach, draw our line in the sand, join hands with friends and family, and honor the official Hands Across the Sand's message, which is NO to offshore drilling and YES to clean energy," Robin said. "I grew up here. I love my beach and always will. We are so very fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty let's protect it and take a stand."

Those attending the environmental event are encouraged to make signs and billboards promoting clean energy. One sign from the event two years ago that's still discussed today boasted, "Don't Tap It If You Can't Cap It!" And, if you could donate a mini-horn or canopy during the event, Robin and her team of coordinators would be very thankful.

"In response to those who cannot see 'outside the barrel,' oil is a finite resource. Do we wait until it is gone to search for alternatives, or do we push NOW to develop what already exists, protect what is left of this earth in the meantime, and do our best, as individuals, to strive in that direction," Robin said. "Let us focus on clean energy, and how to protect ourselves from inevitable disasters in the meantime that's all we can expect from one another to try!"

For more information, or to RSVP to the third annual event, feel free to visit and search for "Ft. Myers Beach, Fl Hands Across the Sand 2012."

"Make a stand, make a difference. Join us Aug. 4!"



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