Be in the Know at H2O!

Sunny skies welcomed the ocean-loving beach community this summer as they gathered to celebrate “World Ocean Day”. The H2O Art Festival was a collaboration by Leadership Hollywood XLIII, The Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and Free Our Seas. Of course, there was no better place to hold the June event than at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort bandshell.

The first part of the morning was spent cleaning up the shores with the Surfrider Foundation Broward County Chapter. After the beach clean-up where 318 pounds of trash was collected, participants enjoyed live music, eco-friendly vendors and artists, and a multitude of environmental non-profit organizations. 

All like-minded exhibitors helped draw attention to the human interconnectedness with the ocean while inspiring and educating those to create change for a clean and healthy ocean. Local muralist Rei Ramirez transformed South Florida popular resort’s beach shack with a breathtaking image of an ocean filled with sea turtles while talented sand sculptor John May was oceanside chiseling sand into a stunning creation of his own. Free Our Seas had plenty of marine debris art sculptures on display to bring awareness of plastic pollution and how it affects marine life, oceans, and beaches. 

“I never considered myself a ‘bad’ person regarding environmental responsibility but because of  Free Our Seas, I became educated on the damage some of my daily choices make, I’m amazed at how many times a day I now ask myself, ‘is this ocean and earth conscious?’ I still have a long way to go, a tiger doesn’t change its stripes overnight, but every time I put something back or decline the frivolous use of something for the sole purpose of its convenience, I think about how my choices will affect the environment,” explained Katie Lizana of Leadership Hollywood XLIII.

One of the day’s highlights was when Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy presented a proclamation announcing that the first Saturday in June to forever be recognized an official city holiday called “H2O Hollywood 2 Ocean”.

“The festival brought awareness to the ordinance that has been in place since October 2018 banning all single-use plastics and polystyrene east of the Intracoastal on Hollywood Beach. Free Our Seas hopes to continue bringing awareness of the affects single-use plastic pollution has on our environment through the arts whether it be with our marine debris sculptures and/or events,” said Manon Wiese, Founder, and President of Free Our Seas.