Rosemary Beach celebrates Earth Day with the unveiling of invasive lionfish statue

ROSEMARY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A local community organization is celebrating Earth Day with neighborhood schools to raise awareness of two issues in our local waters.

Rosemary Beach, the Seaside Neighborhood School, and the Ohana Institute are collaborating to bring attention to the problems of single-use plastics and the effects of lionfish in the Gulf as a way to celebrate Earth Day.

The students used discarded single-use plastic materials and utensils to create the sculpture of the destructive lionfish located near the Rosemary Beach Post Office.

The lionfish is a particularly beautiful fish with venomous spines, however, they decimate populations of important reef fish and have no known natural predators in Florida waters.

Julie Martin, Ohana Institute Visual Arts instructor said, "They shouldn't be here in our area. It was brought here and so the fact that it's happening so quickly that they're having this big presence in our area we thought, well, the plastic is doing the same thing. So we put those two together and decided that would be a great impactful piece."

This is the first of a series of sculptures based on the theme INVASIVE which will continue to be displayed throughout the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition which formally opens May 24 and ends February 24, 2020.